How we helped David Wilson Homes digitally rehome their clutter

How Scan Film or Store helped David Wilson Homes digitally rehome their clutterOne thing we’re particularly proud of here at Scan Film or Store is the relationships we build with our clients. Many of them stay with us for years, and we get to know them pretty well. Which is nice.

David Wilson Homes is one such client. They first came to us in 2012, to help them reassess the way they stored their archives. They’d been housing them in an off-site unit that was some distance from their offices, which means accessibility was an issue.

After asking lots of not-especially-interesting questions about their specific requirements, we were able to recommend our scanning service, giving them digital records they could not only access whenever they wanted, but saving them money on physical storage.

From sample scanning to staff training

The first thing we did was take a sample away and cost up their options. Then we had a meeting to discuss things like indexing, and the pros and cons of more vs less detailed indexing. We always to replicate our client’s existing filing system, you see, so they can find their electronic copies very easily indeed. Admittedly, it probably wasn’t the most exhilarating meeting they’d ever sat through, but they were very happy to have the choices laid out clearly and simply so they could make a sensible decision.

Once the decisions had been made, we got started with the scanning. There were around 90,000 documents in that first batch, but thankfully our trusty machines don’t tire or get paper cuts, so it all worked out very nicely indeed.

And then all that was left to do was to train up the David Wilson Homes staff so they’d feel really confident using their new online filing system – which was designed to match their physical archives to save too much confusion. And we’re pleased to report that the team were so pleased with the new system that they’ve been sending us batches of invoices and other files ever since.

Lovely words about our scanning skills

How Scan Film or Store helped David Wilson Homes digitally rehome their clutterOf course, it’s easy enough to say why we think our clients are happy with our service – but far better to ask them to say it for us. Here’s what Maria Tyley, Divisional Accountant at David Wilson Homes, thought about the whole experience (and yes, we’re still blushing):

“It’s so much easier since we got our new system set up. Whereas before we’d go, ‘Oh I need that invoice!’ and then we’d have to go and get it from the storage, now within minutes I can load the hard drive up and we’ve got the information.

“The Scan Film or Store team are experts on what they do and the quality of what I get back is very good. If we need to print copies off for audit, they’re clear enough for that. Their speed and their return of information is excellent too. We’ve just sent them another 25,000 invoices to do within the last week and I know that within a few weeks it will all be done. And they’re very competitive in the market.

“I have to say they are amazing people. Mark keeps in contact with me but not in a pushy way – he genuinely cares. And if I need anything, I can email him and within hours he’s back to me with the information I need. The whole team is very good at keeping their clients happy. They’re just nice people to have working alongside you, and they really know their business.”

Well, you can imagine how happy it made us to hear that. After all, it’s our clients that make our business. Without them we’d just be sitting around staring longingly at our high tech scanning equipment and drinking far too much tea.

We’d love to help you like we’ve helped Maria and the rest of the team at David Wilson Homes. So if you have any storage or scanning needs – or data destruction, microfiche conversion or CD duplication, for that matter – drop us a line to see how we can help.

12 genuinely fascinating facts about paper

Paper. It’s pretty simple, as technology goes. Sure, you can get it in different sizes and colours and textures, with lines or without, sturdy or flimsy enough to see through. But essentially, it’s bits of flat stuff that you can write or draw on. Not especially complex.

And yet it’s so important. Even in these digital days, as we try and reduce the number of trees we need to cut down, we still use 12.5 million tonnes of paper and cardboard every year. Without it, we wouldn’t have magazines and till receipts and books and toilet paper (perish the thought!).

So how much do you actually know about this stuff that you probably use every day? We’re willing to put good money on the fact that you’ll learn at least one thing from this blog post. Which, at the very least, will stand you in good stead next time you’re at a pub quiz.

Historical paper facts

1) Paper is thought to have been invented around 100AD by the Chinese, although it was supposedly kept secret for a number of years. The Chinese are also credited with the first paper currency and the first toilet paper.

2) The English word paper is derived from papyrus, a material which predates paper and was originally used in Egypt thousands of years BC.

3) The first newspaper was printed in Venice in 1556. The monthly publication was available to buy for one Venetian coin called a gazetta, hence the word gazette can now be used to refer to a newspaper.

Record breaking paper facts*

*As authenticated by Guinness World Records!

4) The furthest a paper aeroplane has flown is 69.14m. The plane was made using just one sheet of A4 paper, and was designed by John M Collins and launched by Jo Ayoob in North Highland, California in 2012.

5) The largest building made entirely from paper was 6.4m tall, with a base that measured 15.2m by 17.9m. It was constructed in the form of a traditional Thai house and manufactured using nothing but corrugated paper by Kwag Hua Industries, who unveiled it in Bangkok in October 2003.

6) The biggest roll of toilet paper ever made was 2.97m in diameter and stood 2.59m high. It was made in August 2011 by Charmin in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, and was later sent to a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum.

Current paper facts

7) It is possible to do a degree in Paper Science. If you’re interested in analysing the factors that influence pore size distribution or modelling shrinkage during manufacture, this is definitely the course for you. Probably don’t try and explain your choice down the pub though.

8) The average person in the UK gets through 38kg of newspapers a year. Most of which is probably due to excessive consumption of fish and chips (we may have made this last bit up).

9) The amount of paper used in the UK each year takes the equivalent of a woodland the size of Wales to make. Which is a great reason for working towards a paperless office.

Office paper facts

10) The average office worker uses around 10,000 sheets of photocopy paper every year, according to Xerox. That’s the equivalent of four boxes, which works out to about £50. Multiply that across your entire company and you can see where the cost saving potential lies!

11) A standard three drawer filing cabinet, which takes up around 4 square foot of office space, can hold around 9,000 sheets of paper. According to a report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the costs associated with buying the cabinet and maintaining the space add up to about £1,500 a year.

12) There is way more to measuring quantities of paper than you’d imagine. For example, 25 sheets of paper = one quire. 20 quires = one ream. Two reams = one bundle. And five bundles = one bale. Try asking your stationery supplier how much a quire of A4 costs next time they ring – that should stump them!

So, there we go. Consider yourself well and truly informed about paper.

If you’d like any help tackling your own paper related issues, whether you could use some extra storage, want to explore the idea of going digital, or need to securely destroy sensitive documents, do get in touch.

Scan Film or Store wins Cyber Essentials Scheme certification!

Scan Film or Store wins Cyber Essentials Scheme certification!Well, this is a very good day. After months of work logging our firewall defences and detailing how we manage passwords, we’ve finally been awarded certification under the Cyber Essentials Scheme. Which, in case you were wondering, is really rather an honour and not something that every Tom, Dick and Harry can claim to have done.

The Cyber Essentials Scheme is, in their own words, a programme that “aims to help organisations implement basic levels of protection against cyber attack, demonstrating to their customers that they take cyber security seriously.” Which we do, of course.

To achieve certification, we had to complete a thorough (really, really thorough) self-assessment, evaluating ourself against five security controls, and then submit all that information to be verified by a qualified external assessor.

Scan Film or Store wins Cyber Essentials Scheme certificationGranted, it was not the most thrilling of jobs. There was a lot of paperwork to organise, and systems to catalogue, and other things that you probably aren’t all that interested in hearing about. But it was an incredibly useful process, and even helped us make improvements to our already very good security processes.

Now we can officially say that we’ve taken absolutely every precaution possible to make our company as digitally impenetrable as a conspiracy theorist’s basement tech hub.

How our Cyber Essentials Scheme certification affects you

So what does all of this actually have to do with you? Well, nothing if you aren’t a client. What do you care about whether we get hacked?

If you are a client, however, or you might be one in the future, then knowing that we’re certified under the Cyber Essentials Schemes should be rather a weight off your shoulders. Because what it means is that if we process or store any of your data digitally – which we would if, for example, we were scanning all of your paper records to create a digital archive – it won’t be hacked, leaked or otherwise allowed to get into the wrong hands.

So basically, we’re mega safe to do business with. Which is what you want, really.

Anyway, we won’t bang on about it too much (unless you bump into one of us and mention it, in which case we reserve the right to bore you just a bit more). But suffice to say that if you have any document storage, scanning or destruction needs, and your data is particularly sensitive, you should definitely give us a call.

Why microfilm isn’t just for spies

Why microfilm isn't just for spiesRemember that old James Bond film, The Spy Who Loves Me? In it, Roger Moore’s Bond is tasked with recovering stolen plans for a highly advanced submarine tracking system – plans that are contained within a roll of microfilm.

Incredibly, it’s been 40 years since that film came out (yes, we feel old too). But despite the technological advances of the last four decades, microfilm is as relevant today is ever. Likewise microfiche – which brings to mind images of Jessica Fletcher hunting through the Cabot Cove records in search of a clue – is still being used in organisations up and down the country.

(In case you’re wondering, the main difference between the two is that microfiche is formatted as a flat card of negatives rather than a roll. In both cases, a backlit reader is used to view the images – although these days you can also view microfiche and microfilm digitally using special software.)

Why microfilm and microfiche still matters

The main benefit of microfiche and microfilm is that they can turn very large documents into very small images. Which makes them particularly useful for companies with lots of large format documents such as architects, engineers and hospitals. They’re also a great way of accessing rare or fragile documents that shouldn’t be handled without proper care.

And that’s just the start. Converting your documents to microfiche or microfilm has loads of business benefits, allowing you to:

  • Create secure backups of important documents (guaranteed for 500 years!)
  • Free up storage space and move towards a paperless office
  • Share documents easily, quickly and cost effectively
  • Access critical data without having to hunt through endless archive boxes
  • Reduce retrieval costs if your physical documents are stored off site

All of which can save you lots of hassle and potentially money too. Which, let’s face it, is what we’re all aiming for, right?

Specialists in microfilm and microfiche conversion

At Scan Film or Store, we’ve been working with microfilm and microfiche for longer than we care to admit.

That’s why we can offer such a wide range of services around microfiche, microfilm and related media, including:

  • Digitising microfilm and microfiche (oh, and aperture cards too, if you’ve got some of those)
  • Converting photographic images into a range of popular electronic formats such as .pdf, .pdf/a, .jpg and .tif
  • Producing printed hard copies of microfilm, microfiche and aperture cards (we can even supply Diazo microfiche copies of microfilm, if you can get your head around that one)
  • Integrating digitised film with your existing or new document management systems
  • Destroying, cataloguing, indexing, archiving and/or storing the originals, depending on your needs

Not only do we have the technical skills required to do all this, we’re also fully secure – our staff are all DBS checked with full security clearance to BS7858 standards. So you don’t need to worry about your data falling into the hands of a reclusive megalomaniac like Karl Stromberg.

If you have any microfiche or microfilm jobs you need taken care of, give us a ring and one of the team will be happy to help.

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How to choose a document storage company

How to choose a document scanning company by Scan Film or StoreIt’s surprising how long making a decision can take. Even something simple like what to order at the local Chinese or whether you ought to wear the red or the blue tie for that client meeting tomorrow.

So it’s not surprising really that business owners can get themselves all knotted up over something like which document storage company to go with. After all, if we do say so ourselves, it’s a pretty important role. There’s valuable data at stake; you don’t want to be handing it over to any bloke with a warehouse.

That’s why we’ve given you a few things to think about when choosing a document storage company, to help you avoid the cowboys and make a decision you’ll be happy with.

Your document storage company should be able to help you create a brief

Beyond knowing that you want someone to please, please make all the paperwork go away, do you actually know exactly what it is that you need? If the answer is no, you’re not alone. Why should you understand the ins and outs of document storage? You’re an expert at what you do. That’s why a good document storage company should be able to ask you the right questions to help you work out a thorough brief. Like how often you’ll need to access your document, whether they’ll need storing long or short term, or whether you actually need paper records at all. It could be that you’d be better off with a scanning and secure data destruction package, to create easily-accessible, mega space saving digital records instead.

Your document storage company should have top notch security

This may sound a bit obvious, but the document storage company you choose should be able to guarantee the safety of your valuable documents. And not just by storing them in a facility that’s alarmed, protected and monitored. They also need to be thinking about the environmental conditions (we’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – paper doesn’t like the damp, mould does), not to mention rodents (who have a surprising penchant for paper archives). Oh, and they need a good barcoding system, like we have, so your files don’t simply disappear amongst the many thousands of others they’re storing.

Your document storage company should be certified to industry standards

It’s not enough for your document storage company to say they’re good at what they do. They really ought to be able to prove it. Here are some of the reassurances we can offer:

  • ISO 9001:2008 certification, which we’ve held since 2011 and which we’ll shortly be upgrading to the new ISO 9001:2015 standard – we’re one of the first in the industry to achieve it!
  • DPA registration, which means we are compliant with the Data Protection Act 1998 (our registration number is Z6020186, if you want to check).
  • BS7858 compliance, which means we’re all security vetted and have had our DBS checks too.
  • BS10008 compliance, which means we can ensure the integrity of any files from point of collection to point of return, much like CSIs transporting evidence<link to Protecting your documents like a CSI post>.
  • A fully documented business continuity plan, which means we can keep working and protecting your documents in the case of a catastrophic event.
  • A comprehensive Health & Safety policy, including regularly updated risk assessments, COSHH assessments, PAT tests and electrical testing across all our premises.

There’s also the Official Secrets Act <link to You’ll never make us talk post>, which we may or may not have signed (we can’t tell you, or we’d have to kill you).

Your document storage company should offer you a bespoke service

No two companies are the same. Well ok, there are similarities. But still – whether you’re a school or a hospital or a firm of architects or an Aerospace Engineering business, your document storage needs are going to be just that little bit different to the next school or hospital or firm of architects or Aerospace Engineering business. A standard ‘one size fits all’ approach isn’t going to be as efficient as a bespoke solution, neither is it going to help you make the most of your budget. That’s why we meet with all our clients and even do a sample job when there’s scanning involved, so you can work out exactly what you need and pay only for that.

So for goodness sake, don’t stick a pin in the Yellow Pages or go for the cheapest option on the market. There’s nothing financially prudent about sticking vital business data in the care of anyone you don’t utterly trust.

Want to give us the once over and see whether we meet your standards? Give us a ring and one of the team will be happy to help.

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5 facts about data security that will keep you up at night

5 facts about data security that will keep you up at nightData security is something every organisation of any size needs to think about. Whether you’ve got a few client files locked in a store cupboard or a multi-premises operation linked via sophisticated technology, everyone is at risk.

And the scariest thing is that because the majority of us aren’t data security experts, we very often don’t even understand the problem, let alone the solution. These five rather startling facts are a great indicator of how big the problem is.

1) Your photocopier is spying on you

Your photocopier keeps records of everything you’ve ever printed or copied (yes, even those unfortunate anatomical pictures from the office Christmas party). If the hard drive isn’t properly wiped or destroyed once you’ve finished with it, you could find your sensitive data falling into the wrong hands.

2) There are way more viruses than you think

During just one three month period last year, 18 million new malware samples were captured by cyber security experts Panda Labs. Which works out at around 80,000 every working day. And that’s just the ones they found.

3) Your staff may not be a as tech savvy as they think (and fibbers!)

One recent study by a German university sent mock phishing emails to a group of people who had previously professed to be aware of these kinds of scams. 45% of them clicked on the link in the fake email. And only 20% admitted that they’d done it. Let’s face it, the others were probably a bit embarrassed.

4) Data breaches are crazy expensive

Ponemon and IBM do a study each year, looking at the cost of data breaches across several countries including the UK. Last year’s report showed that the costs associated with a data breach have gone up by 29%, from an average of £2.37 to £2.53 million. Which is probably not the kind of money you have lying around in case of emergency.

5) Data loss can kill you

Ok, we may be slightly exaggerating that one, but it could kill your business (and if you’ve got a dodgy ticker then actually, there is a bit of a risk there too). In fact, more than 60% of companies never recover from a major loss of data. Not only is there the actual monetary cost to consider, but major data loss can also severely damage your reputation, so that future work is threatened.

Anyway, before we have you reaching for the gin bottle, there is some good news. Because forewarned is forearmed, and if you anticipate the possible data issues you might face then you can at least take steps to try and prevent them.

For example, make sure your paper records are stored securely, that your digital records are suitably protected, that your staff are well trained and trustworthy, and that any waste is securely destroyed.

Scan Film or Store can help with quite a few of these issues, so if you’re worried about your data security then give us a ring today.

Head teachers, are you drowning in paperwork?

Head teachers are you drowning in paperwork?Remember the days when teachers set their pupils’ teeth on edge writing with actual chalk on dusty old blackboards? When the kids wrote out their lines in simple manila covered exercise books, correcting their mistakes with Tipp-Ex?

Ah, those were the days, eh? Or maybe not. There’s something to be said for modern school tech like interactive whiteboards and digital marking software.

One of the things that doesn’t seem to have changed is the amount of paperwork hanging around though. In fact, it may well be getting worse.

Some pupil records need to be kept for years, even once they’ve graduated. And that’s before you start on curricula, teaching notes, reports, employee records and the rest.

So what’s the answer? Well, you could stop letting new pupils in and just wait it out until your current records are old enough that you can get rid of them. But that’s probably not all that practical.

Or your could build a new wing to house the endless box files that are currently threatening to breach health and safety regulations. Though that might be stretching the budget somewhat.

Digital archives for schools

The best answer, as you may already have heard on the grapevine, is to go digital.

No, don’t run off! It’s really not as scary as it sounds. At Scan Film or Store we’ve got a few little tricks we use to make the whole process incredibly easy:

  • First, we’ll come and visit you so that we really get to know what it is that you need. We don’t do off-the-shelf solutions; they just don’t work properly.
  • Next, we’ll take a sample of your paperwork and provide you with an example of what we can do for you. At no charge.
  • If you’re happy, we’ll collect your paperwork so you don’t have to lift a finger, and get it all scanned on our really rather snazzy machines.
  • The data will then be indexed as closely as possible to your original system, so it’s really easy to access.
  • We can even provide staff training on how to use the new digital archive, in case there are a few technophobes you need to convince.
  • Oh, and then we can either store the originals in our climate controlled, 24-7 monitored storage units (with fast retrieval services available if you need them), or if they’re surplus we can destroy them securely and in compliance with data protection legislation.

So there you have it. Not quite so alarming, is it?

If you’re thinking of going digital, this is a great time to do it. With the children off gallivanting on the beach / cruising the shopping malls / sleeping in until mid-afternoon, the school should be nice and quiet. Perfect for a little light paperwork.

Just imagine going back in September and being able to get hold of little Johnny’s report from year 2 Geography at the touch of a button. Now wouldn’t that be nice?

For help getting your school’s paperwork under control, contact the genuinely friendly Scan Film or Store team today for a chat.

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5 characteristics of a good filing system

A good filing system is a thing of beauty. It works, smoothly and efficiently, allowing you to access the data you need, whenever you need it. A bad filing system, however, is likely to end up with you running around like a headless chicken because your line manager wants to see that sales report you wrote six months ago and you can’t remember whether you filed it under Sales, Reports, or some other heading that seemed sensible at the time.

But what exactly marks out a good filing system from a bad one? These characteristics are a useful starting point…

1) It should be so simple a well trained monkey can use it

Which, ironically, isn’t simple to achieve. And yet this should be your ultimate goal. Because complicated filing systems end up with people stuffing files in bottom drawers and eventually losing them. Even the most complex collection of data can be streamlined into a slick system if you put enough thinking and planning time in at the beginning. Don’t skip this stage!

2) It should be as flexible as a double-jointed yoga teacher

There’s only one constant, they say, and that’s change. Rigid things struggle with change. Flexible things find it easier. That goes for everything from people to filing systems. But as this blog post is about filing systems, just focus on that and make sure that your system will be able to adapt to whatever the future brings. This probably means you’ll need to monitor, review and possibly tweak your filing system as you go along.

3) It should be accessible to everyone who needs it, when they need it

This doesn’t just mean not leaning a flipchart board against the filing cabinet. Think about who is going to use this system. Are they all based in the same office? If not, how are you going to get files to them? And it’s not just a case of physical access. People need to understand the filing system so they can get hold of what they need quickly and easily – and, just as important, put it back in the right place – and not have to wait for Sandra the admin girl to get back off her holidays.

4) It should be as physically compact as possible

Unless you’ve got access to endless amounts of free storage space, a large physical filing system is going to end up costing you an awful lot in rent. Minimising the amount of printed paper data you need to store by aiming for a paperless office system is by far the best option. Then get clever with how your files are stored and stacked, remembering the accessibility issue we talked about a minute ago.

5) It should be safe from every imaginable threat, including alien invasion

So your documents are perfectly organised, indexed and stored – but what happens if there’s a fire? Or a flood? Or, indeed, an alien invasion? Paper files are particularly vulnerable to being destroyed because they’re pretty flimsy, when you think about it. Also the very fact that they exist in the physical world means they can get lost or put in the wrong place and then it becomes a major mission to find them.

One solution to all of the issues above is to go digital. Digital filing systems still need planning and thought at the set-up stage, and you do have to think about security issues, but you could save yourself a heck of a lot of space, share files quickly and create back ups in case things go wrong.

If you genuinely need your paper records though, professional off-site storage offers a climate controlled, alarmed and monitored space that will vastly improve the safety of your documents. At Scan Film or Store we can also get copies of documents to you on a same day basis, thanks to our  really-rather-clever barcoding system, and we’ll always put them back in the right place. Or you can use our scan-on-demand service and potential have your file within two hours. Impressive, right?

So if your filing system is less than efficient and you’d like some help getting on top it, give us a ring and we’ll be happy to talk you through the solutions that will work best for you within your budget.

Preserving history, one scan at a time

Document scanning is an interesting old business. No, we know, it doesn’t look like it from the outside. And we’re happy to admit that the majority of what we do isn’t exactly the stuff movies are made of.

But there are moments when we get to be involved in a little slice of something a bit special. We recently got our hands on a particularly interesting folder of documents – letters written in the late 1930s by an Austrian Jew called Karl.

With war looming, Karl had sent his only daughter Eva to England on the Kindertransport. She was just 13 years old. He didn’t know, as he wrote faithfully to her of life in Vienna, that they would never see each other again. One day Karl’s letters simply stopped, and Eva would later confirm that he had died in a concentration camp.

Binding and Roman numerals

The letters were in pretty good condition when they were brought to us by Karl’s great-granddaughter. But the sad truth is that paper doesn’t last forever, and she wanted to be sure that neither time nor something more dramatic like fire, flood or rampaging toddlers would destroy these precious family documents.

Scanning them was a slightly more complex procedure than you might imagine. First they had to be taken out of the folder they’d been bound in, then we had to straighten out any bent pages. We used our swanky Book Eye Pro 4 because of the delicate nature of the documents, and had to play around with the contrast and brightness to optimise the images and get the best results. Oh, and indexing them wasn’t helped by the language barrier and the use of Roman numerals in the dates!

But we do love a challenge, and we were as pleased with the results as the client was. “My grandmother would be so thrilled if she knew that we’d managed to preserve her father’s letters so that they will never be forgotten,” she said.

Home videos, retro style

While we’re sharing ‘interesting jobs we’ve done recently’ stories, you might also be interested in another client who brought us an old cinereel film. She had no idea what condition it was in and only a rough idea of what the footage was of – the label simply bore the nickname she’d had as a child

It turned out to be home videos of her from newborn to 18 months – the same age as her own twin daughters are now. Watching the digital version that we created for her was, she said, an emotional journey down memory lane.

“I never really thought the twins looked like me, but some of the expressions on my face in that film are the spitting image of them!” She said. “I can’t put a price on being able to step back into the past and relive a time I have only the vaguest memories of.”

These days we have hundreds if not thousands of emails stored on our computers and filming our kids is as easy as whipping out our mobile phones. So perhaps the adults of the future won’t appreciate the nostalgic joy of rediscovering the past in the same way as we do now.

But for a lot of our clients, history could well be lost without people like us to restore and preserve it for them and for their children and grandchildren to come. Which is really pretty amazing, when you think about it.

Do you have old slides, photographs or documents you’d like to preserve, or analogue media you want to transfer to more accessible digital formats? Get in touch today and find out how we can help.

Quiz: are you a hoarder?

In our line of work, we come across a lot of hoarders. They acquire stuff – all sorts of stuff – and find it incredibly difficult to get rid of. Especially paperwork, for some reason. They wouldn’t call themselves hoarders, of course. But they are.

That’s why we thought we’d put together this little quiz to help you identify whether you have hoarding tendencies or not. After all, they say that recognising a problem is the first step towards recovery…

1. There’s a sale on lever arch files at Staples. Do you:

a) Not buy any – you’ve got enough for now.
b) Get a couple to keep as spares in the stock room.
c) Buy the lot – it’s a great bargain and you never know when they’ll come in handy.

2. How long do you keep your paperwork?

a) Only as long as we legally have to, then it gets destroyed.
b) A few years, probably – I’d need to check.
c) Proud to say we have it all! Whatever you need, I can find it… if you give me enough notice.

3. Your team gives you a hideous “executive desktop gift” for your birthday – what do you do?

a) Pass it on to someone else immediately.
b) Display it on my desk for a few weeks then subtly get rid of it.
c) Treasure it forever – it’s the thought that counts, right?

4. Where do you store your archives?

a) Online – we went paperless<link to post on paperless office> months ago.
b) We’ve got a neat stack of archive boxes in the storeroom.
c) Let’s see, there’s the filing cabinets in the office, and then the storeroom, and the loft space, and there might be a couple of boxes under the stairs…

5. Your boss asks you to tidy your desk – how do you feel?

a) Are you sure they mean my desk? There’s nothing on it.
b) Um, yeah I’ve been busy recently, I really do need to straighten it up a bit.
c) But I have a system!! Honestly, I need all of it, if I could just show you…

6. How easy is it for you to find a file you need?

a) Simple – it’s all catalogued digitally so anyone can find anything they need in moments.
b) Pretty easy – the last office administrator we had set up a good system. It’s been a bit trickier since she left but we’re getting there.
c) Um, well we can usually find most things – certainly the stuff we use every day… eventually.

7. What does your bottom desk drawer contain right now?

a) The bottom one is empty – I only use the top one for stationery.
b) Job files that are waiting to be archived.
c) A couple of files, a few unopened letters, three pens with lids, an out of date Cup-a-Soup, several paperclips, a box of tomato ketchup sachets, two dozen fluffy elastic bands… oh and look, the paperback I started last year!

8. How do you dispose of data you no longer need?

a) We recycle, shred, incinerate or degauss<link to secure destruction services page>, depending on what it is.
b) We’ve got a couple of locked skips out back that get taken away once a month or so.
c) No longer need? I’m not sure what you’re talking about; I need all of it.

The results

Mostly As

Congratulation, you are the Master of Minimalism! You understand the value of your physical space and know exactly how best to manage, store and safely dispose of your data.

Mostly Bs

You’re doing an admirable job of trying to keep the clutter at bay, but you’re lacking the systems to help you do it. Although you’re not quite a hoarder, you’re definitely in need of some help.

Mostly Cs

Oh dear. No two ways about it. You gather stuff like a magpie and have little capacity for getting rid of it, even if it’s no longer useful. It’s time to admit it – you’re definitely a hoarder.

So, how did you do? If you landed up in the B or C category, don’t worry – we can help. Give us a call today and we’ll have a chat about how we can reduce your clutter, free up space, safely dispose of unwanted data and store or digitise the rest.

And if you’re an A – well, you might want to come and work for us! You’d be right at home here.

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