Getting Receipts and Mail Off My Desk

Posted by jcnnghm Mon, 15 Feb 2010 08:35:00 GMT

Change Jar

Change Jar

NeatReceipts Scanner

Receipt Scanner

Receipt Scan

Scanned Receipt



Years ago I had a serious problem with change piling up all over the place. I'd come home and empty my pockets and the change would stay wherever that happened to be. Eventually, I got tired of change being everywhere, so I bought a jar and started throwing change in there. The problem has been solved ever since.

I was walking through Office Depot a few weeks ago and saw the NeatDesk Scanner. I wasn't sure how well it actually worked, if it worked at all, so I went online and read some reviews. They were mixed, as is often the case with tech products, especially when those not-so-technically-inclined have difficulty figuring out how to use a product.

I decided to take a shot and buy the scanner, and I'm happy I did. I had about a years worth of receipts, mail, and business cards piled up on my desk, inches thick. I knew I was going to need somewhere to put all that stuff after I scanned it, so I also ordered a heavy duty cross-cut shredder, the Fellowes PS-79Ci Shredder. The shredder comes with some lubricant, but I also ordered a supply of Shredder Lubricant Sheets so I can keep the machine in good working order without much effort.

I was able to get everything scanned into the NeatWorks software and categorized in about a day. The scanner works very quickly, and can scan both sides of a page in either color or black and white. The really great part about the NeatDesk package is the software. The software automatically performs text recognition on scanned receipts, and is usually very accurate. This makes your scanned receipts searchable, and it also makes it very easily to categorize receipts and make notes for tax purposes. If you don't want to categorize a document right away, you can scan it and categorize it later. It will stay in your NeatWorks inbox waiting for you to place it in the appropriate folders. I usually scan stuff in as soon as it hits my desk, and categorize everything once a week or so, primarily because starting the categorization application is kind of slow.

The Fellowes Shredder is also quite good. It was able to rapidly destroy boxes of documents that I wanted to get rid of, and everything that was on my desk very quickly. It is on casters, so I keep it under my desk and roll it out only when I need it. There are two downsides to this unit. First, it has a very bright blue LCD that drives me nuts. I keep it off most of the time because of this, so it's not a big deal. It also has a poorly designed waste receptacle that tends to rip bags. Neither of these are deal-breakers as they can both be easily worked around, but they are both annoying. The lubricant sheets seemed to work well, and are very easy to use.

All said, I spent about $575 on this endeavor, and I couldn't be happier. My desk is clear of stuff today, and it's been clear for the last month. Presumably, it will continue to stay clear in the future. I know that clutter slows me down, so this upgrade should be well worth the money. If you're self employed and looking for a fast, easy way to stay organized, this is definitely a viable solution that I would recommend.


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