Cuz He’s the Scan Man

November 18, 2015

Jim has undertaken a major project. After watching the file cabinets in his office multiply like rabbits, and the floor space disappear like Putah Creek under duckweed, he decided to purchase a high speed scanner and convert all of his paper files to digital.

The effort started about a month ago and has proceeded steadily, day in and day out, ever since. He has imposed a robotic method to the crazy madness of his office, filling every spare minute with the task.

It is a much needed undertaking. Jim is now up to four legal-sized, four-drawer file cabinets in his teeny tiny office and mobility has ground to a halt. Seriously, you cannot stand in place and do a 360 without knocking something over.

(I also have four cabinets in my office–well, four and a half–but my office is twice the size of his, and I am pathologically clutter-averse, so floor space is ample.)

If he allows it, I will back-fill a photo of the current state of Frame Surveying and Mapping headquarters. It is truly spectacular. (Not to be outdone by his garage, but let us not go there. Yet.) But I think even Jim is a little shy about revealing this aspect of his personality. Someone might be tempted to turn him into a reality show or something.

But hey, the guy’s got more important things to do than create order. That is the purview of his neurotic (and never judgmental (much)) wife. He can turn out projects like nobody’s business while sitting head-high in desk clutter. He is utterly unflapped by what seems like breathtaking chaos to me. But the thing is, nobody (well, hardly anybody) is more productive than Jim, especially when his sights are trained on a prioritized list. I’ve always admired his amazing GSD (get shit done) skills.

Like, for example, this project.  Cabinet by cabinet, drawer by drawer, folder by folder, he has gathered the multitude of pages contained in client and project files, removed countless staples and paper clips (really, countless) patted and patted them into perfect 8 1/2 x 11 alignment and set them in stacks upon the scanner, whereupon, sheet by sheet, the files are converted to digital PDFs, to be stored for eternity on his hard drives.

And probably never looked at again.

But ya never know.

At least now, he can have the files he needs just in case, but will no longer be suffocated by them.

And what of those millions of formerly important pieces of paper? Well, if the piece of paper in question was one-sided, it went, after scanning, into the scratch paper file. He’s been assembling those in sets of approximately 500 sheets, swaddling them in wrappers made of formerly important maps and stacking them on the chair outside his office, like this:


This is a but a fraction of the scratch paper haul. Jim estimates he has about 40 of these makeshift “reams.” Anybody need any scratch paper?

The vast majority of the sheets, however, were two-sided and have thus been recycled. The scanner’s ticker puts the total number of scanned sheets at 30,000+.  Crazy, huh?

And, as of this writing, Jim has gone through all sixteen drawers. Next he will condense what remains (some files had unscannables contained therein) into likely one cabinet–with a ton of room to spare–and repurpose/relocate/sell/giveaway the others. Yay!

Then, THEN, he can clean up his office… move stuff around on his new-found floor space, reclaim some space on his severely impacted desk… who knows, maybe even recycle or toss a whole buncha other stuff, too.

~ ~ ~ ~

One of the neat things about going sheet by sheet through 10-20-30-40-year old files, was coming across some treasures. Lots of treasures. Here’s one from yesterday:


This was the analysis we did in 1996–when in the throes of house hunting–of two hot prospects… the house we’re currently in v. the house we thought about buying over on 11th.

Check out those prices!