Mail Pixily your monthly papers to scan

If your office is overflowing with papers that you would like to have in digital format, Pixily may be the solution you’ve been seeking. From the website:

How does the mail-in service work? When you sign-up with Pixily, you receive pre-paid envelopes in the mail along with instructions on what kind of documents you can send. You then collect the paper documents in the envelope and mail them to us at least one a month. Once we receive the documents, we scan them into your account and notify you of their availability in your account. You can search, view, share and download these documents.

What happens to my paper documents after Pixily processes them? All paper documents are mailed back to you after they have been processed. We will be introducing a secure recycle service soon and you will be given the option to choose between the two options.

Pixily also allows you to upload digital documents and store them in your account. Plans range from around $15 a month (1 mailing envelope per month) to $60 a month (4 mailing envelopes per month).

Do you have an account already with Pixily? If you do, tell us about your personal experience in the comments. Those of us at Unclutterer think that it sounds like a good option for people who struggle with keeping regular with scanning paper documents.

41 Comments for “Mail Pixily your monthly papers to scan”

  1. posted by Christina on

    Perfect. I wrote about Pixily and other ways that technology is decluttering our life on my blog. declutterlife.blogspot.com.

    I don’t really want to scan all my docs myself.

  2. posted by L on

    How much does a rapid-feed scanner cost? The annoying thing about my flat-bed scanner is how long it would take to do all these papers. But if you’re paying $15/mo to have your papers scanned, it seems like buying the rapid-feed scanner would break even pretty quickly.

  3. posted by Will on

    This sounds like a real waste of time and money. How many sheets of paper does one really need to keep in perpetuity every month? For a family of four, my guess is that number is usually less than 10. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to just put a “To Be Scanned” folder next to your scanner and once a month — maybe at the same time you pay your bills — scan 10, or less, sheets of paper? The alternative is taking that same folder and putting the contents in an envelope and then hoping that nothing gets lost in the mail, at vendor’s location, or in cyberspace. All so you end up with the same electronic files at the end of the day. I’d be worried about identity theft as well. If something has personally identifying information on it, I want to shred it myself — not trust a company on the other side of the country to do it.

  4. posted by Anand Rajaram, Chief Product Officer, Pixily on

    @L: Pixily is much more than just a scanning service. For example, all documents are made searchable and made available for secure anytime anywhere access, even when you are not at home or work.

    @Will: Pixily has been designed from the ground up for state-of-the-art security. Your documents, information and data are extremely secure. Pixily secure-clears all employees, prohibits recording instruments in the processing center, and tracks every mail through the entire system. Pixily’s online systems are audited everyday by third-parties (McAfee Secure and Truste) to ensure your information is secure and meets the highest privacy standards. Our complete FAQ on security and privacy is available at http://www.pixily.com/help/category.php?catID=7

  5. posted by Meghan on

    I’m not sure I understand what kind of documents people need to scan? This is not a practice that is familiar to me.

  6. posted by Anand Rajaram, Chief Product Officer, Pixily on

    @Meghan We ran a beta program for nearly 5 months (Feb – Jul 2008) and users sent us invoices, bank statements, receipts, business cards, magazine/newspaper clippings, and even their kids artwork, to name a few types.

  7. posted by Andrew Irving on

    I’ve been using the Fujitsu ScanSnap at home for about 6 months now. I keep the scanner (which is very compact) on my desk, with a pile of “to be scanned” documents. Every weekend, or sometimes right after I open my daily mail, I put my documents into the ScanSnap, and press one button, and it scans front and back in seconds. It comes with software that allows you to make the documents searchable too. The only drawback is that it doesn’t scan any wider than 8.5 inches, but that covers most documents. It is a little pricey at $419 on Amazon, but one of the best investments I have ever made. I now have a “virtual” file cabinet, and hardly keep any paper documents. The key is having a daily backup system however, which I do through my Mac Time Capsule.

  8. posted by Rivka on

    The question is how “secure” is the human being who receives your documents and then scans them? Who are these ultra honest and trustworthy people?

    Why would I want this person seeing all of my personal documents?

  9. posted by Cynthia on

    I am in love with my Fujitsu ScanSnap S300. I scan everything — receipts, invoices, take-out menus, photographs, faxes … I went from four filing cabinets down to one drawer.

    The software it came with converts them to searchable PDF, but I’m fine keeping them in folders. If I could afford to buy one for everyone I know, I would, it’s that useful.

    It’s also small enough to stay on my desk, so I can scan the stuff as it comes in, and put it right in the shredder after; no need to pile things up for later. I have a daily backup system on my computer, that came with my Maxtor External hard-drive. My accountant accepts a burned CD of all the PDFs.

    I paid $260 for mine at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obi.....tterer-20/ — that’s just a few months of the weekly mail-in service, which seems like a waste of postage and piles of things waiting to be sent.

  10. posted by Damian on

    Seconded on the SnapScan. It’s super fast and dead simple to use. You slip the paper into the machine, and seconds later, it’s on your screen in PDF format. I can’t see why you’d want to pay up to $60/month (!) just to dump a bunch of sensitive documents into the mail, and then wait for the files to come back to you.

  11. posted by Bosse on

    I’d stay well away from services like this. Only the last few days I have heard about two or three companies where backup hasn’t worked and when their servers gone down all the customers data have been lost.

    You don’t want a company to lose your important documents.

    A service like MobileMe or any online storage is an excellent second backup where you put a second backup somewhere else than in your own house. This will save you tons of grief if your house burns down

    It’s so easy to scan documents yourself and a scanner costs next to nothing these days. I think we bought one at work for 50$ earlier this year.

    Remember, if it is important – back it up. If it isn’t, throw it away.

  12. posted by Harris on

    Guess I am really out of date. I have a file cabinet and a shredder.
    It has worked well for a long time though….

  13. posted by becoming minimalist on

    our office purchased a copier that scans paper files into pdf’s and sends them to your email box. technically, it sounds like the same thing.

    and i love it – i have reduced all of my paper files to one drawer and shredded boxes of paper clutter since the change. when i moved into this office, i had 6-7 boxes of paper files. when i leave, i intend on having only 1 thumb drive to take with me.

  14. posted by Rue on

    Before even reading the comments, the first thing I thought was – how secure can this really be? You can do security checks all day long, but the fact is if someone really wants information, they can and will get it. I do agree that it’s a great idea!

    But I can also see how someone would say, if you can afford $15/month then you might as well just buy a scanner. So I guess it’s worth it for those people who want to scan years worth of docs without doing the work themselves…then move on to scanning docs themselves. With so many companies now allowing you to access statements online – I don’t see how this would be useful for future docs. Just the ones you have lying around now.

    I am one of the people who hasn’t gone to scanning documents yet…maybe I’ll try it tonight. :)

  15. posted by brandy on

    Does scanning documents really take that much longer than putting them in the mail?

  16. posted by Sarah on

    We also love the Fujitsu ScanSnap. It is so worth the investment. Best. Scanner. Ever.

    But, while we’re away from home for extended time periods, we do have a house/cat sitter who functions much like this service. She:

    1. Sends us a daily list of what came in the mail
    2. Scans whichever ones we instruct her to open and scan
    3. Labels the files according to our file system, then emails them to us.
    4. Shreds what can be shred and physically files what must be kept.

    If you know you can trust the person on the other end, it’s an awesome system. There are similar services (in US only – and we’re in Canada) to whom you can actually *forward* your mail so they always receive it first, scan it, organize it and make it available to you electronically. That’s what gave us the idea that we could use our house sitter in this capacity, even when she’s not at our house! (OK, she doesn’t know THAT part yet….) :)

    Of course, that system is really only helpful if you’re away more often than you’re home. I’m sure the average person doesn’t want their mail directed elsewhere. But, the thought of a “virtual PO box” going to someone you trust/employ is very tempting when we’re on the road so much.

  17. posted by Giddified on

    This sounds fabulous (particularly that the docs are searchable), but I wonder about a couple of things. First, is everything scanned into one big PDF/TIFF or are document breaks determined? If so, by whom? Having everything scanned into a 100 page PDF is not very useful. Document breaks are essential.

    Second, how are the file names determined? Does the client have to provide that information or is it a service provided? Does it cost more? I bring this up because a PDF entitled “000001” isn’t as useful as “Visa Statement 01.01.08 – 01.31.08″ or something like that.

    Getting rid of paper clutter is only useful if the utility of the images outweighs the inconvenience of the paper.

  18. posted by nicole on

    well – i can maybe see the benefit in having someone else scan all your crap, maintain it digitally, etc. but – here in chicago, the real danger lies in getting your secure mail to the company and back. you’d have to spend extra for insurance, delivery confirmation, etc. we have the worst post office in the country and i certainly would not trust my secure documents to go through their hands more than once!

  19. posted by sunsail on

    While I’m sure it is more practical and cheaper to buy a scanner, personally, I honestly do not have the real estate for it. My computer room is maybe 80sq ft tops, and it has TWO computers in it (my bf’s and mine).

    Another benefit of this service for me would be the fact that I can access my files at work, on vacation, in my home country, anywhere. How many times have I called the cable company on my lunch break and have had to call back because I did not have the account number or other pertinent information?

    Regarding security, I think it’s relative. How secure is your house/apartment from break ins? Your purse/wallet from being stolen? Your online banking information? Your employer’s HR files? Your medical records with your health provider? Your thumb drive from getting lost/damaged? Really? Are you SURE?

  20. posted by spark on

    While this may not be a solution to paper management in a home, it’s a great solution for paper management in a home business or small business.

    If I were operating a small business, home based or not, I’m going to have a great deal of paper documents. It is far cheaper for me to hire this service at $15 per month do manage my paperwork than it is for me to hire even a part-time employee at minimum wage to do the same thing.

    And while this $15 per month set aside for my own scanning and processing machine would quickly allow me to purchase one, it will not pay for the hours I spend doing this task myself.

    I think this has the potential to be a great service to the right person or business.

  21. posted by louisa on

    I own my own business and do have sooooo many things I am required to keep, for years (receipts, band statements, etc.). I’m running out of file cabinet space, and am loathe to buy yet another Rubbermaid-type bin to store things in. I don’t think I’d use the online service, but all this talk of that Fuji scanner is starting to sound appealing. I’d love to hear from other business owners about this!

  22. posted by louisa on

    Um, I meant BANK statements, not BAND statements!

  23. posted by Michael@ Awareness * Connection on

    This is interesting. The HP all in one I have gives me scans that are enlarged, and it is unintuitive enough that I don’t want to mess with it or call tech support. This may be my magic bullet.

  24. posted by Stephanie on

    This kind of thing would be of no use to me personally (at least not in my current life), just because I have so few personal papers that actually come to me via paper-format. I get most of my bank statements and credit card bills via e-mail now.

    I can, however, see where this would be great for businesses (big or small).

  25. posted by Jim on

    I kind of see this is a related service:

    http://www.earthclassmail.com

    I’ve been using them for over a year and am very pleased. If I need some papers scanned which I can’t do myself, I just mail them to my ECM PO Box and it’s done.

  26. posted by Josh on

    Props to Mr. Anand Rajaram. Smart guy to see his service being covered and make smart relevant comments. Sounds like a great idea if you have a lot of papers and don’t want to clutter up your office with one more fax/printer/scanner machine.

  27. posted by Kristen@TheFrugalGirl on

    The security thing makes me really nervous too…I just don’t know that I trust the employees that much.

  28. posted by Deb on

    What can a person do to make files they scanned into PDF’s themselves? I have an Epson Perfection 4990 Photo, which I am using for scanning mostly my 35mm slides. I would really like to use it to scan all of the teaching materials I have because they are taking up MANY linear feet of shelving, files and closet space.

    I need it to be searchable, that’s what is holding me hostage to those 30 loose leaf binders and bazillion activity books.

    The time is an issue but I’d rather take the time on a scanner I paid a lot for already.

  29. posted by battra92 on

    @deb Ooh, that’s my scanner too. I can’t seem to get good Kodachrome scans out of it lately, which is a shame since I love my old Kodachromes so much.

    Creating searchable PDFs aren’t that difficult with the right OCR software but it can be a pain with a flatbed.

  30. posted by Deb on

    Thanks battra92, I see the scanner model has been discontinued. Perhaps something better has been introduced. I hope my scanner is still working ok, I have many many more slides to go. I love my Kodachromes as well!

    What software DOES make PDF files? Is it already on Word or in XP somewhere?

  31. posted by Angel on

    So the only actual decluttering takes place if you shred them (or pay someone to shred them) AFTER the doc have been mailed back to you. Otherwise you have the digital copy and the hard copies.

  32. posted by gypsypacker on

    I devote an hour or two every two weeks to scanning documents. Quite easy to set up files for invoices, taxes, receipts, etc, even if using a bottom-of-the-barrel slowpoke Epson. I tried to use my 10MP camera and scan to Abbyy but I have neither the steady hand nor the bright light to make it work.
    Microsoft has a PDF file program, free for download, but you can’t use a camera to scan marriage licenses, title documents etc.

    I live just fine without a recipe box or file cabinet and keep only spare hard copies of my birth certificate, transcripts, and a few documentations.

    If I had it to do over again, I’d get a HP wireless printer and the Fujitsu but I have financial minimalism problems…

  33. posted by Mary Sue on

    I’ve worked in a temp job before scanning personal documents. Before I was allowed in the building for this three week temp gig, I had to undergo a 15 year background check, a drug test, and watch a video suggesting dire things would happen if I so much as thought about these documents outside the workspace. The building was keycard-secure, and I needed a second keycard to get into the room with the scanner. The only thing allowed into the scanning room with us was our keycard and a cup with a spillproof lid. No pens, no paper, no cell phones with cameras. Additionally, the pages went into the hopper face-down, and we got a bonus if we finished over our page quota for the day.

    However, the biggest detterent to ‘stealing’ anyone’s information? Do you know how utterly DULL it is stuffing bank statements et. al. into a high-speed scanner all day? I didn’t care whose papers these were, I wanted them scanned and out of my freakin’ hair.

  34. posted by G8trGirl on

    I think this sounds like a fabulous idea.

    I too have a rapid scanner that is great, and a “to be scanned” folder, but I do not have the time to actually DO it. It would well be worth $15/of my time to have someone else do it -and actually get it done- rather than piling up on my desk!

    One way I can see using this in my personal life (as opposed to business use) is the gazillion health insurance statements and medical invoices I’ve been receiving due to a recent illness. (my insurance for some reason has to send a paper copy of the EOB/claim to your address on file) I really need to scan them as I try to match what’s been paid etc, but being ill, and trying to keep up with life in general, it is just impossible to find the energy to do this.

    I would also love to scan magazine articles I tear out and keep (minimizing clutter by recycling the magazine and keeping only what I need) but would be nice to reduce even more by having electronic versions- and searchable too! Bonus : )

    Recipes, too- very good idea…

    My big concern would also be the security issue, epecially with medical information. I like the security measures outlined above, and it is a good point that none of your information is all that secure to begin with. Really, any number of employees at various companies see and handle your sensitive information as they process the document and send it to you anyway. Kindof makes you wonder what security measures are in place for your bank, insurance, finance, medical employees… likely a very similar policy. … but of course, the fewer steps, and fewer people that have access to sensitive information, the better.

  35. posted by Michele on

    I agree with some previous comments – I just don’t have enough paper in my personal life to make this worthwhile. I try to get as much as possible electronically.

  36. posted by Ellis Godard on

    I love Jim’s suggestion of http://www.earthclassmail.com. Not sure I’m ready to trust someone else with financial statements. But axing snail mail could be a boon!

  37. posted by Mike Hawk on

    I actually LIKE phonebooks. But not for the reason that they bring them to me. I use the paper from them for papier mache art. Since I get all my news and info on the internet, I don’t subscribe to any newspapers. That makes phonebooks a great source for paper for these projects. This paper is nice and soft and absorbs the adhesives much better than newspaper.

    Now that I think of it… this could be a great “green” project for elementary school teachers to do with their students. Have them bring in last year’s phonebooks and make papier mache halloween masks and things!

  38. posted by Mike Hawk on

    HAHAHA… That’s what I get for having two browser windows open! That was supposed to go here:

    http://unclutterer.com/2008/08.....k-problem/

  39. posted by David Ray on

    This is looking like a great service. I had already tried the somewhat similar http://www.shoeboxed.com. This is quite a lot easier to use mainly because shoeboxed is narrowly focused on receipts. Pixily makes it easy to download a pdf if you want it. Shoeboxed seems reluctant to give the images back to you in anyway that would be easy to do something else them. Plus, pixily is cheaper.

    To me this is looks to be a superior solution than buying a $450 ScanSnap (which, I admit, I would like to have). No deskspace required. Also fewer regrets and easier to get rid of if I don’t stick with it.

  40. posted by Mitch on

    Hey, I use a similar service to Earth Class when I travel, http://www.privatebox.co.nz They seem to do a very good job!

  41. posted by Khalid on

    Forget HP all in one , cumbersome menu system. I have it never use it for scan. Instead, I use daily Canon MP830, simple menu easy set up to pdf from feeder and then just put the stack at any time and push either the color or BW button ! Has duplex too ! Infact for a year I never printed a single page but as a a great scanner ! I am practically paperless at the office ! I would like to get the ScanSnap S530 for the home though to compensate for the lame HP all-in-one scanning function (in fact I wish I never bought it..ugly)

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