Name: Nicole Engel-Nitz
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Your Home Office Organization or Tech Tip: Digital filing can be a key weapon in the battle against the daily influx of paper—but you still have to spend some time filing. While we need to retain some papers in hard copy form, scanning as much as possible and getting electronic bills really helps cut down on the amount of physical space required for files.
Our all-in-one printer/scanner/fax machine has made a crucial difference for us in transitioning to electronic filing; we selected this model largely because it has a dedicated "digital filing" button (yes, it really does say that). With a push of the button we can select from 10 folders and then scan bills or other paperwork into the selected folder. Unfortunately, this does not absolve us from having to "file," but the payoff is that we get to indulge in a slightly gleeful sense of satisfaction in feeding the credit card and heating bills to the shredder after scanning them in.
All of the paperwork that comes through the house ends up in my office, located in a space in which every wall has either a door or a window. We needed a storage system that would allow us to place the shared printer where it would be easily accessible, and also provide sufficient room for physical files. I discovered that the printer fit just exactly into the TV space in Ikea's Expedit media center, and that the Expedit desk section could be connected to the media center.
Best of all, the entire unit would fit precisely into the only suitable desk/shelf space in the room. Linen-covered file boxes from the Container Store hide papers and a roll-out keyboard tray keeps the desk clear; the battery backup, powerstrips, USB hub, and other electronic detritus live tucked away in the farthest corner of the shelf underneath the desk.
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