I did it today. I reached into a box of file folders of mixed origin that were poorly labeled and removed five. I made myself a glass of iced tea and decided that it was time to watch some old Doris Day movies that I received as a gift. It was time to sort, re-label, and even toss some pieces of paper.
I also made a stack of items to scan. What was the impetus? Watching the sobering amount of flood damage in the Midwest made me think about all that was lost. Photo albums, baby books, receipts saved for tax purposes, business records, genealogy files, and other items–even moving them to the second floor of some homes and buildings did not preserve them.
The scans I make will be saved to CDs and sent to my sister. They will also be saved to an online backup system like Mozy.com. And as I cleaned up from this sorting session, I put another five files back on my coffee table for the next round of sorting some evening later in the week.
If you are among those who have flood damage, here are some websites with tips on saving items:
U.S. National Archives & Records Administration
Northeast Document Conservation Center
Many state archives and/or historical societies have conservation labs that offer suggestions for dealing with flood- and tornado-damaged records and photos.