Spring Cleaning: A digital junkie declutters, thanks to technology

I wrote last year about a theory I had, namely that digitization was enabling a more minimalist lifestyle for people who wouldn’t otherwise be minimalist. I could still have my books, music and movies, but they wouldn’t take up space anymore.

Well, I’m doing my annual March break spring cleaning this week, and I’ve found that a recent addition to my tech arsenal has enabled me to take it one step further.

The tool? An iPhone 5 with a scanner-quality built-in camera, and the free Evernote app

Evernote is my brilliant new discovery, and to my delight, I just found a ‘doc scanner’ mode that renders a remarkably clear picture, even for text. I’d previously found the iPhone’s built-in camera sufficient for capturing photographs, but for anything with text, it just wasn’t clear enough. I’m not sure what Evernote is doing that improves it so much, but I’m very happy with what I’m seeing.

So, what has this magical tool allowed me to throw in the ‘get rid of’ box?

1. A flatbed scanner. This was taking up space on the desk of the Beloved because there was nowhere else to put it, so he was very happy to see this go.

2. A binder full of workout routines I have saved over the years from various fitness magazines. Thanks to Evernote, not only can I scan them for use when traveling, but I can also sort and tag them, too.

3. On a related note, I also have a large folder of rotation calendars that came with various workout DVDs. I suppose those can go, too.

4. A box full of memorabilia from my childhood, such as artwork, bat mitzvah invitations and so on. I’ve scanned these to add to a digital scrapbook I’m making of all sorts of childhood goodies I recently found.

5. Another box full of photo albums. I’ll keep them until I see how good the book turns out to me, but if it turns out as I expect, I will pitch the source material. I’m still on the fence about my high school yearbooks. I think I may be sorry if I pitch those. But if I add that to the scrapbook too, that’s another box gone.

So, yay for technology! It feels good to clear out some clutter and free some space for other things. Happy spring break!

2 Comments on Spring Cleaning: A digital junkie declutters, thanks to technology

  1. it all sounds great. My only comment is that for the sake of historians (yes, the elements from your life can be of interest to historians, primary sources and such), preserving the paper and physical photos might be important because paper has lasted as a readable medium hundreds of years, digital a few decades, and like the Bernouli storage drive, who can be sure this early in to the digital world what digital formats will be readable in 20 years? Part of my own cleaning up is taking a 40 MB hard drive I used on a MacPlus 20+ years ago to professionals who can have the quaaint hardware to retrieve the data from it. The data on that SCSI storage drive is still intact, but I’ll have to pay to get it transferred to a new digital format that my computer can use. I’m just saying, don’t get rid of all the paper quite yet!

  2. Deran, I plan to get a paper copy of the photo/scrapbook. What I am doing is scanning it all into iPhoto and then making the book and ordering a physical copy. I am going to wait until that arrives so I can make sure it looks okay, and if it does, I’ll pitch the originals. A box full of bulky albums, reduced to one keepsake book! I do think it will be of interest to, at minimum, family members and future offspring, so I don’t want it all on the cloud. I do want a physical copy of stuff this important—I have some old photos of my grandma as a young girl which scanned beautifully, and I want it preserved. I just want to reduce the bulky albums and have a more organized, finely edited single keepsake book.

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