Thursday, February 24, 2011
Preserving Important Documents...
I've heard the question asked many times..."If your home was on fire...your family was all safe outside...and you could only take out 3 things before the house burned down...what would they be"? It seems that most people that respond to this sincerely (after joking about big screen TV's)...generally mention things that would be difficult or impossible to replace...like photographs...sentimental items like stuffed animals...home movies...important documents...and so on. I am left to wonder...if someone were really to try to collect those things to get the door REALLY fast....how long it would take to collect all those things? Photographs are likely hung in frames...or on a computer...or in a plethora of photo albums. Home videos might be scattered through the home on old VHS tapes...on tiny tapes...or on computers. Important documents like birth and marriage certificates...property info...and others may also be in disarray. Without the luxury of time...one might have a really difficult time collecting all of the items on their list. I also wonder if they would physically be able to carry those items?
While there are a myriad of valuables where only the original will suffice (like a stuffed animal)...a great many of those irreplaceable items can be shrunk down and stored digitally. Even a tiny keychain sized 16gb flash drive like the one pictured above can hold upwards of 14k photographs!! 16gb might be enough to hold every important document you own! You might just stay on the curb and watch your home burn if everything you felt you needed was on a flash drive in your pocket. The Patriot xporter flash drive is nice too because it is fast...has great reviews...and may withstand weathering like going through a washing machine.
I am by no means a computer tech. Of course there are all kinds of opinions from tech to tech as to which brands are best...and which document back-up methods are best. Some people like to back files up on DVD's. Some like to back files up onto portable external hard drives. (Which may be necessary for people with lots of home videos and other large files) Some people are now even paying for back-up services that use off-site hard drives.
Now as far as how to do it. If you are computer illiterate...you may either have to learn how and pick up some equipment (like a scanner)...or pay someone else to do your work for you. Here is a site that discusses some of the "how". When it comes to archiving old home video and audio...there are services out there that will take your old reel to reel and make it into a format you can enjoy without all kinds of defunct equipment and make it ready to be put onto run out the door. A good friend of mine does that work and could help you tremendously...his name is Judd.
Whatever methods you choose...it is wise to get them all collected now and stored digitally...so that when and if the day comes that you have to leave your home in a hurry...you have it ready to go!