Paper’s good, but digital lasts longer
You don’t have to be tech savvy to use this step; I think you have the talent; you may no longer be using it. Now is your chance to show the kids you still have it. I was speaking with a friend on Skype the other day, and he told me he and his wife had just moved into a condo. They were now trying to determine what to do with a lot of their stuff that doesn’t fit their new home. One thing they were doing was to digitize their paperwork. I was impressed! This couple is not young or even middle-aged, and while their use of Skype is no surprise, digitizing their paperwork was. I hadn’t even thought of it, and I’m sure others haven’t either. That is why I am including it in this book. Here are some of their choices that had me thinking: wills, insurance documents, driver’s licenses, health cards, birth certificates, etc. I know we need to keep them in a safe place, but I had not considered digitizing them. We always give our girls copies of our passports and travel documents when we travel, but never digital copies. Something to add to the to-do list.
I am sure over the years there has been an accumulation of old technology superseded by newer generations. Speaking of technology – where’s the VCR? VCRs have gone the way of 8 track players. Movie cameras with actual tapes have been replaced by your phone or smaller pocket devices minus the tapes.
Email, don’t use a messenger
Sharing the decisions is easier in an email. Don’t opt in for simple technology such as messaging for this stuff. Why email rather than messenger or text messages? Email are easier to see as you type. Emails have a subject line, so they don’t get lost or discarded accidently. Now, I am not a technology guru, and I could be wrong, but I have yet to discover how to recover a text message, so my feeling is that email is safest for this information, because even if you delete it accidentally, you can recover it from your trash or deleted file.
Emails can be as long or as short as you want, they take more thought than a 140-character tweet or a text message, and they are more important.
Another way that technology can help in this cleaning process is with all the lists. These lists can be long, especially if written on paper. (Don’t forget to get the companion online journal you can use for this, and the other suggested lists.) When created and kept in not only your computer but the cloud, they are made accessible to whom you think needs them. This also makes them much easier to share with others who may need the information. The important issue is you tell those people how to access it as they are best-kept password protected.
One of the largest collections most of us have will be photos, and most often, photos we took over the years. These are usually the most important pictures. Pictures are by far the most treasured items we leave behind. One of the other great aspects of digitizing pictures is the ability to label them. Many of you will have an old photo you received on the death of a family member, and I would guess you have looked at it and wondered who the people in the photo are. We know our family and even extended family, but when the photos date back three generations, the identities become less evident. Even those with notes on the back with the names, over time, get harder to read. So, if only for keeping the name of our family members alive, I suggest digitizing them. Now having said that, I also know we don’t take pictures the way we used to. Cameras with the actual film are mostly only used by professional photographers who want a specific style or treatment of their subject.
Today, most of us take our photos with our phone and they end up as digitized images. So even as cameras became smaller, phones became smarter and easier to use. They also made the load a little lighter because we no longer needed to carry both. Nor do we have to worry about keeping a cell phone and a camera charged.
So, as we all move on in age and life, this topic speaks to what we can do with the old and how to manage the new.