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Old 05-22-2013, 06:21 PM   #1
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How to Organize Paperwork/Campsite info

Greetings from Virginia. We are new to the motorcoach world and recently became proud owners of DP. As we jump into joining organizations, gather campsite & motorcoach info, we find it becoming difficult to organize all the paperwork in a easy-to-use, efficient manner. I welcome your insight and advice as to how you organize/file/maintain your paperwork. Thanks!

Mike & Ellen
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Old 05-22-2013, 06:33 PM   #2
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Scanner and computer for most items.
Manuals stored in a Rubbermaid tub below.
We don't try to save all travel ads, pamphlets etc.
Bills paid electronically.
Financial accounts all electronic.
Income taxes filed electronically from the road (Walmart last year)
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:22 AM   #3
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Ditto ...electronic as much as possible, and minimal hard copy. Even download manuals whenever possible.
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Old 05-23-2013, 10:29 AM   #4
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I, like most, do as much as possible electronically. The vast majority of our bills are auto deduct including insurances. Those that are not are paid online. Even our lawn maintenance guy send his bill via email and we just drop a check in the mail.
For paper work on the road I use a large multi pocket folder to keep things like receipts, proof of purchase, rental agreements, etc. Scanning is certainly an option as well, just be sure you back up your data remotely. I use iCloud but there are other options such as Google Drive, etc...
One other thing, remember to periodically go through all your data and purge what ever is not necessary. Otherwise it can become so cumbersome as to be practically useless.
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Old 05-23-2013, 11:32 AM   #5
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All sound advice. We aren't full timers yet, but we do pay our bills electronically. I can honestly tell you I haven't written check in about 5 years if not more. We use bank of america because of their nationwide branches, and there online banking is second to none. I can electronically pay any bill to any person or company. The only thing I do not do is allow a company to deduct from my account. (Try getting the money put back if they make a mistake or you dispute a bill) I set up all my utility bills to be paid a certain time each month with an amount I specify.
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Old 05-23-2013, 11:34 AM   #6
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If I want to keep any info or receipts I scan them into the Neats Receipts that I picked up a few months ago. Most just use a scanner and keep things in folders that way but with the extra things that Thom does like running karaoke, making jewelry, sewing or well lots of side things on top of a regular job it makes it easy to keep tax stuff straight with Neats and the IRS accepts the scanned receipts from it.
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Old 05-23-2013, 11:37 AM   #7
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Be very careful to back up your files though....nothing worse than loosing your electronic info when your computer goes south
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:25 PM   #8
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one can never have enough backups of ones data. i back up all my important info to an external hard drive, plus really important stuff gets backed up to another external drive. We have tens of thousands of photographs that just cannot be replaced. If you do decide to make backups, please do not use a usb stick. those are volatile and you risk losing data. nothing beats a good external hard drive. A few months back I bought an external 2 terabyte drive that stores all my photo's, and hundreds of movies I converted over the years that we take on trips (why pay for HBO when I have more movies then they do). Hope this helped and gave you some ideas.
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:18 PM   #9
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On the subject of back ups...look for an online service. Information backed up to an external HD is great until that HD fails or lost. Here is an article to get you thinking.

5 online backup services keep your data safe - Computerworld

Backing up critical data would be a good place for these remote services. Financial records (Quicken, Microsoft Money...) are certainly important and generally not huge. You could then decide how much more you would like to store away. Keep in mind few things.

1. The more you store, the more it costs. You decide.
2. Quality of internet connection and perhaps costs. Backups of large files will take longer on slower connections and I would think movies wouldn't be something I would do it with. How often you back up may be important if data usage is a big factor on your internet/phone data costs.
3. Mix and match. Using an external HD for daily backups and then a remote service for weekly or monthly backups should be fine. Just remember that the longer between remote backups will generally mean longer backup times.
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky_Boss View Post
On the subject of back ups...look for an online service. Information backed up to an external HD is great until that HD fails or lost. Here is an article to get you thinking.

5 online backup services keep your data safe - Computerworld

Backing up critical data would be a good place for these remote services. Financial records (Quicken, Microsoft Money...) are certainly important and generally not huge. You could then decide how much more you would like to store away. Keep in mind few things.

1. The more you store, the more it costs. You decide.
2. Quality of internet connection and perhaps costs. Backups of large files will take longer on slower connections and I would think movies wouldn't be something I would do it with. How often you back up may be important if data usage is a big factor on your internet/phone data costs.
3. Mix and match. Using an external HD for daily backups and then a remote service for weekly or monthly backups should be fine. Just remember that the longer between remote backups will generally mean longer backup times.
The biggest problem with online anything is once it leaves your computer, it is subject to being hacked, and I do not want my personal finances and data out there. I personally have two external hard drives for redundancy and so far, I still have all my data that I have been saving since the late 90's.
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget63 View Post
The biggest problem with online anything is once it leaves your computer, it is subject to being hacked, and I do not want my personal finances and data out there. I personally have two external hard drives for redundancy and so far, I still have all my data that I have been saving since the late 90's.
I hear what you are saying but...

Unless you physically relocate a back up to some place else, what good are they if you have a fire? Been there, done that.

The encryption that is now available is extremely secure.

How Safe and Secure are Online Backup Solutions?

Is Cloud-Based Backup Safe? | PCWorld

Nothing is fool proof because fools get smarter but, as you can see in the second link, you can opt to encrypt from your computer before it is even uploaded.

I come from a perspective of disaster recovery, not simply recovering data that was stupidly/accidentally/thought someone didn't need point of view. Part of my current function at (4 letter word) work is managing data for disaster recovery.

Again, I personally don't advise using these services for bulk storage for things like music, videos and such. In many cases (like my iTunes store) I have recover of those items through them. I'm not saying you are wrong in your opinion. I think as the user technology has improved, so has data security.

Now...if you happen to be on some governmental watch list because of national security issues...who knows what tools they have? If I told you, I might have to "neutralize" you. LOL
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:51 AM   #12
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2 backup drives. 1 in toad. 1 in MH.
Easy peasy!

The cloud is too often waaaay too slow for me, and too much use of my data plan.
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Old 05-25-2013, 01:30 PM   #13
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Also if you are using a data system (we use Millenicom, out of Oregon) for your air card/router, then backups can quickly eat up your data allotment if you aren't very careful in identifying what needs to be backed up and what doesn't. Had a friend who tried Carbonite, and it was trying to back up his WHOLE computer on his 5G data plan!

We have different back up disks, carry one in the car, the other in the motorhome. And periodically burn a DVD with critical data and have our daughter store in case something happens to the both of us. But in reality, with so much of our financial information available from our investment firms/banks, we could reconstruct most of it with just a little effort. What we couldn't get back are the pictures, hence the DVDs to our daughter.

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Old 05-25-2013, 02:20 PM   #14
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Always try to keep your files up to date.

What we did when we traveled cross country for 6 months from California to Main and down to Florida and back again was, my wife had all the house bills taken out of our account atomically any thing that had to be paid monthly was done atomically.
As far as anything pertaining to our M.H. I had a portable filling case where I had a folder on everything that pertained to our Motor Home.
Case in point. Electoral, Entertainment, Pamphlets on all the appliances just about everything that pertains to the motor home since 1997 things that were installed in it when we perches it and everything that was added to it sense then.
As old as our Motor Home is we still have things go wrong or break down now and again but I would not be able to deal with it if I did not have a record of everything and all those folders to assist me.
Just a thought.
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