As you go through the downsizing process, you will inevitably find lots of items that you just can not part with, but that you also do not have the space to keep. This is where digitization comes in. Many of these items can be scanned or digitized in to an electronic version allowing you to free up physical space but still hold on to the necessary items. You don’t need a full blown scanner to be able to digitize, there are free apps out there that you can use. Let’s take a closer look at some of the items we digitized while downsizing as well as some of the tools to help…
Important Documents & Papers
We may not want to keep them, but they are necessary for all of us. Now that we have our own businesses, we have a semi-constant stream of receipts that need to be filed for tax purposes. We certainly do not have room for them in our 240 sq. ft. RV, so we decided to scan them instead. Receipts are just one example, but scanning applies to other important documents as well. While the first time you make the switch, you will probably have a fairly large pile of papers to scan; once you make it through that initial phase, maintaining the process is much easier. A scan only takes a few seconds of your time, and it will make keeping and organizing all of those documents a breeze. Make it a habit, and you will be glad to rid your life of that extra clutter.
Scanning Apps For Android Phone Users…
Scanning Apps for iOS Phone Users…
Photos are a great item to scan, since making an electronic version not only allows us to keep those items for ourselves, but also gives us an easy file to share with others. Instead of only one family member having that cool photo that harkens back four generations, now every family member can have the digital version of the photo. We actually ran out of time for this part of the downsizing process, so we ended up storing some photo albums in a plastic bin in my parent’s garage when we first set out in our RV. We do want to digitize the rest at some point, and only keep one physical photo album. Photos may seem like a difficult item to part with even after you have an electronic copy, but try to keep in mind that as an RVer, your photo collection rate is only going to increase.
To scan photos, try PhotoScan by Google Photos (works with Android & iOS).
Movies & CDs
Unlike family photos that you can share as you like, movies and CDs have copyright laws that will keep you from sharing them. However, you can still digitize them. We were so grateful to declutter those two areas and still keep our collection with us. After digitizing them, we then sold our physical copies for some extra travel cash.
We used Handbrake for our movies and iTunes for our CDs.
Those were the three main areas that digitizing really helped us to meet our downsizing goals. This is definitely a lifestyle change that we plan to continue, RVers or not. We like the organization aspect, and the fact that we will never have to physically move those items again!
You may have noticed that I do not include books on this list. You may enjoy your ebooks, but I am still not convinced! I love paper books, and I am constantly making efforts to minimize my screen time; so you won’t pry those books out of my hands!
What are your favorite ways to digitize?
Let’s wrap up the Downsizing 101 series with what to do with all the stuff!