I used to think, that scanning your photos to get rid of them physically, was stupid. Now I did so myself.
But, first things first, why did I dislike this matter?
As a fan of the KonMari approach of keeping only what you love, I did not get the point in scanning photos. Since you scan the pictures, they seem to be import for you, so important that you would invest a lot of time, arranging, scanning and organizing them of your computer. The photos do not disappear when you scan them, they just exist in another way. Moreover, I was of the opinion that the opportunity to scan photos and store them digitally is like an invitation to take an unbearably big amount of photos; since they take up almost no space on your computer, you can basically have an infinite amount of photos and would never be able to minimize. Finally, I also thought that digital photos just were not really nice to look at, because they are not physically palpable, being only some pixels on the screen. For me, digital stuff somehow seemed more likely to disappear.
Now, I changed my mind.
Recently, I was in a big tidying phase again. I pulled out the 4 folders in my room, containing school material, drawn pictures, certifications and other more or less important stuff. The folders were definitely organized; I could immediately find anything in there. However, it still felt like a lot to me, that I had 4 folders full of papers. Maybe, I was inspired by a recent video of Ted Carr, where he shows his 18 items. (yes, 18 items.)
Although I had rejected the practice of scanning till then, I thought to myself that I may try out scanning stuff just for a small amount of papers, namely a small stack of pictures.
Well, what should I say? In the end, I scanned almost 90% of my stuff in there and are now down to 1 folder, which ingredients still seem a little to comprehensive to me. Within a few day, the scanning obsession came over me and almost every paper passed my test of it being digitally storable. So, I spent some nice hours watching my mothers printer scan one paper after the other and the slowly decreasing of the "still to scan papers"- stack.
My scannings included:
-important papers from school
-all papers from school from the last year from the 4 subjects, I will write my final exam in
-all classtests from last school year from this 4 subjects
what remained: papers from last year from one subject in which the teacher occasionally asks us to bring papers from previous lessons
-all my paintings, scribbles and drawings except for a few
what remained: a yet to finish comic, papers from 2 finished comic papers, a paper where I drew all characters of my favorite book (not finished, because I have not read the 3rd book yet)
-all my memory papers except for a few
-all of my inspiration pictures (pictures taken from a fantasy book, magazine snippets,..) except for 2
what remained: 2 inspirational papers, my actual memory paper, one photo, some calligraphy and purikura pictures from Japan, one gift card, 2 postcards
-my bank statements and information except for 2 papers
what remained: a letter, I wrote for my future me, a receipt to change Japanese yen back into euros, 2 papers containing important bank access information, all my certifications, my passport and vaccination certificate
- 1 warranty, 2 instructional papers
- self- made sewing tutorials
- personal note papers, notes from books, personal planning papers
- information papers about senior class, studying, living alone (rent, insurance)
what remained: the instruction papers for my sewing machine, my "projects occupying my head"- list, a map of berlin, 2 coupons
As you can see, the scanned papers really are the majority. The remaining folder is not even half- full.
What I have to admit, however, is that I did not recycle all papers. There are some, that I stacked in a not- in- use cupboard in my room, what now is my "can I live without it?" place. In there, I have my bank information as well as old classtests and some school papers. Although I hope to not have to be in need of this opportunity, I am still not sure enough to actually throw away this papers.
After scanning, the next thing, I have to tackle, is sorting and organizing the data on my computer (yes, this is some extra effort). What I strike for is a simple and easy to use organization system.
As for now, I am really satisfied with my results and every time when my eye catches the remaining folder, I feel happiness and relief. So, I have definitely changed my opinion about scanning papers.
So, why did I change my opinion?
An important thing to clarify is, that digital stuff has to be decluttered as well. As I wrote in my post about digital clutter, minimizing also includes this area. So, as a minimalist, I also regard digital abundance as clutter that needs to be decreased. Although it does not take up physical space, seeing all this clutter on a electronic device still makes you feel tired and tense.
As for tidying, however, I found that it is actually easier to tidy a digital space. Things are gone within 2 mouse clicks and cannot be returned later. In contrast to this, physical items do still remain after being tossed away, just in another space. As for my experience, this sometimes leads to me taking back items, I wanted to put away. Storing and organizing is also way easier and faster on an electronic device than in physical space. Datas are equally big (on a desktop), what makes organization unbelievably easy. I am still not really sure what to think about how photos look differently on the screen. For sure, it is another experience to look at them when you hold them in your hands but for me, this is not that big of a difference that would overtop the positive sides.
So, I hope, you enjoyed reading from my experience, got inspired and have a nice day,