I used to keep binders full of paper memories, but they started taking up a lot of room on my shelf, and I couldn’t find things even if I wanted to. After buying a printer that included a scanner, I decided to change tactics and start keeping things digitally. I already discussed using a scanner (rather than a phone camera) in this article. I still recommend a scanner for digitizing your paper items.
What to Digitize
Since digital form doesn’t take up physical space, you can save as much stuff as you want. I don’t keep things like movie ticket stubs or brochures from places I’ve been. Instead, I’ve chosen to keep the following:
- notes and letters (especially birthday and Christmas cards with personal messages)
- kids’ artwork (the best 5-6 pieces from a year)
- miscellaneous papers of importance
I keep these papers near my desk, Once I’ve accumulated 10-12, I scan them into my computer.
Uploading and Organizing
I upload our now-digital documents into Google Drive. From there, I sort them by person, then category (art, certificates, notes and letters, misc.). Inside those categories, I save the documents by year and number. It sounds like overkill, but it takes very little time. I spend about 30 minutes per month and never have mountains of papers piling up or the guilt from just throwing them away. Once in Google Drive, these documents can be out of sight and mind instead of collecting dust on my bookshelf. It’s very easy to find them, and when my kids are grown, all I need to do is share those files with them!
Digitizing paper memories is an easy and fulfilling process. I can go back at any point, to any year, and reread precious letters that would otherwise be lost, mildewed, or unreadable with time. The best way to keep these memories is to turn them into a format that lasts forever.
You can find more posts about memories here (and more will come shortly!)