I Hate Spiders and Files

An evil brown box, about a foot tall, sits in my office. Seeing it sours my mood so I tuck it in a corner so my eyes won't happen upon it in the normal course of work in my office.

On rare occasions I have to find and pick up the box to sort through its contents. A sneezing fit always follows -sneezing so intense that I may have to step out of my office for a few minutes.

Once, while sorting through my "box of disdain," I saw a big, brown spider squeeze out from an inside corner and begin pulling itself toward my hand. I dropped the box and yanked my hand away in the nick of time.

"Ya OK, honey?" my wife hollered from downstairs.

"Yep, box just slipped, that's all." I replied, shielding my shameful fear of spiders. I hated the box more.

One day I learned that I was the victim of identity theft. My new crisis forced me to develop enough tolerance for a healthy working relationship with this box that harbored nostril-tickling dust and scary, lurking creatures. See, the box also contained all my old bills and other personal paperwork that I hated to file even more than I hated the box.

In the following weeks, I sneezed through many a session with that box until I had retrieved all the documents necessary to repossess my identity. I didn't want to make photocopies each time a new creditor needed verification of my true identity to forgive a bill, so I scanned each of my identity-proving documents into my computer for easy printout and mailing. That's when I had my epiphany.

I purchased a scanner with a fancy document feeder so I could scan stacks of documents rather than a single sheet at a time. The scanner was approximately $300 (simpler scanners can be had for less than $100). I've since been converting all my important unfiled documents to computer files. Slowly but surely, my dependence on the brown box of disdain is eroding, giving me the clear upper hand in our relationship.

After my documents are scanned it is easy to drag each scanned file to an appropriately named folder on my computer. I then shred the paper document -keeping only legally necessary originals.

If you keep paid bill stubs and other documents you may someday need for tax or identity-theft-recovery purposes, you might consider using a scanner to convert them to computer files. New scanners come with software that makes scanning and organizing your scans a snap.

Although this process requires a little work up front, I find that organizing scanned documents is much easier than filing hardcopies. I get no paper cuts, I almost never sneeze in my office anymore and, best of all, I have no fear of being attacked by rabid, hand-eating spiders.

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