I have a confession to make – I’m a hoarder. I still have the sticker book I was given in junior school, countless printed photos from the days before iPhones and Instagram, and a collection of letters and diaries that span most of my lifetime.
As a journalist, I also have an awful lot of magazines. Well, I did. Shelves of them. Granted they were neatly categorised – some for research, some for fun, most because they contained a piece of work I’d done at some point in the last decade – but they were taking up increasing amounts of room. And gathering dust (confession number two: I’m not much of a housekeeper). Something had to be done.
One option was for my husband and I to move from our two bedroom flat into a three bedroom house. Except that decision, when we made it earlier this year, was precipitated by the discovery that we were expecting twins. Yes, a new house would give us more room, but it would instantly be filled with cots and nappies and various other small person paraphernalia. There wouldn’t be much left over for all those magazines.
My husband was adamant. The move would be a chance to reduce our (read: my) clutter. We would have a clear out as we packed, and another as we unpacked. I knew he’d be ruthless, and I feared for my magazines.
Luckily, I knew someone who could help. I spoke to Mark at Scan Film or Store about how easy it might be to get my articles scanned so I could keep a record of my portfolio without the bulk. “Oh, very easy,” he assured me. I think he might have said a few technical things after that, but I’d heard all I needed to hear. Easy is what you want when you’re preparing for a house move and two babies, as well as running your own business.
And it was easy, from start to finish. Mark even provided me with boxes, and collected them once they were full. The magazines were carefully disassembled, and the articles I’d marked were scanned using the kind of technical wizardry that is well beyond my understanding.
Next thing I knew, I was holding a single disc containing 635MB of high-res PDF files, all perfectly square and in focus, labelled up with the magazine name and issue. I was thrilled – as was my husband when he saw the empty shelves in the study.
Having this digital portfolio has also given me the raw materials to update my website with visual examples of my work (when I get a chance) or email new editors with clippings if they ask for them. Ideal for those pieces that never got published online.
I’m not sure there’s a cure for being a hoarder, but there’s certainly a way to stop it taking over your life – or wrecking your marriage. I can’t recommend Scan Film or Store highly enough, for everything from technical expertise to excellent customer service.
If they could do such a great job with my relatively small stash of magazines, imagine what they could do with a whole office storage room or even a warehouse full of paperwork?