I hate clutter. I’ve been combatting it for the last year, and I’ve finally got it under control. Initially, I was using a Neatworks Document Scanner, then I signed up for a service called Shoeboxed in December.
The Shoeboxed service automatically scans and categorizes paper receipts, business cards, and documents that are sent to them through the mail. Pictures of receipts can also be uploaded directly from the Shoeboxed iPhone App, though I found that process somewhat cumbersome, and have only used it a couple of times.
I opted for the Classic plan, which includes 12”x9” prepaid, addressed envelopes, just like Netflix. The plan is a little pricey, at $30/month, but with the coupon code SAVE10 it can be had for $20/month, which I feel has been well worth it. With the classic service, Shoeboxed ships 2 envelopes initially, allowing you to always have one on hand. I contacted the Shoeboxed customer service right after I signed up, and they immediately shipped out two extra envelopes, so I’d have a set for both home and work. Customer service was fast and friendly, though I haven’t had any reason to contact them since that call.
The real benefit to a service like Shoeboxed is the transcription. I found that with the Neatworks scanner, I would scan and tag documents, but the receipts and business cards would still pile up on my desk. Receipts are hard to scan, they tend to crinkle in the document feeder, and require time and attention to catalog as well. The Shoeboxed service has generated hundreds of high quality scans, and perfect transcriptions. Everything is human cataloged, and it shows. Sometimes, but not always, they’ll even transcribe the handwritten notes I’ve left. This makes it quite convenient to record who you’ve been meeting with.
I estimate that the service saves me two to three hours of scanning and cataloging a month, which is well worth the twenty dollars. There is also the end-of-the-year benefit of having categorized, searchable receipts that are very easy to access.
Overall, the convenience is the greatest feature. I’ve got the envelope attached to my refrigerator with these Neodymium magnets, so whenever I walk through the door, I empty all the receipts from my pockets into the envelope, never to be seen again. Whenever new envelopes arrive, every couple of weeks, I replace the envelopes that I’m using, and so the cycle goes. Overall, given that I already had an excellent scanner, I was skeptical that I would see value in the service when I signed up. I was pleasantly surprised.
Try it, there’s a free trial. It’s one of those things you’ll kind of fall in love with, just like Netflix.