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Paper file compression

For those things you'll never need but need to keep.
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For starters - this does not in any way shape or form involve PKZip.

Since joining the workplace, I can't begin to guess how many times I've put papers in my desk or filing cabinets that I know I'll never need again, or that if I do, it's because of some global catastrophe that only my receipts, monthly reports, and result logs can avert.

But I also know I can't get rid of these things, simply because of the chances of such a catastrophe raving down the hallway in the form of my boss.

And, of course, this means I'm running out of space.

I've considered scanning every bit of paper in my office, but the time commitment would be such that I couldn't get any work done for months.

Here's my idea: Take a normal filing cabinet, but put a metal press in the front or back of each drawer. Paper is compressible, so using these presses would compress the papers within the drawers.

Each drawer would, at the front, have a shoehorn (for lack of a better term) - two metal panels that would drop down on either side of a folder when you open the drawer. They would expand as the main press contracts, keeping the files within the drawer compressed, except for the folder you're interested in. Simply drop in the pertinent paper, lift the horns, and close the drawer - the cabinet does the rest.

shapu, Jan 28 2005

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       Paper isn't _that_ compressible, surely?
(Coincidence - I work in the workplace too. What floor are you on?)
hippo, Jan 28 2005
  

       the mechanism for compressing the paper would be larger than the space saved.
etherman, Jan 28 2005
  

       I'm not sure about that - If the press itself is driven by gears on tracks and locked into place, rather than a pneumatic press, it would probably only add a few inches laterally and a few inches in depth.   

       Besides, at the very least, this will keep sheets of paper upright and flat, and prevent that hideous curling thing that happens when paper is asked to support its own weight - which adds volume to a hanging file.
shapu, Jan 28 2005
  

       ok - so what i do, is i have scrapbooks - the big A3 type with pictures of cartoon animals picking flowers/radish etc. It requires i sit down and do this for a couple of hours every month or so - but it has eliminated all my paper ephemera. Usually, on a piece of paper there is a lot of superflous information that you dont need - for example a short memo, a picture or diagram or important phone number address etc. Let's say the important information takes up one third of a page of A4, simply remove the other two thirds and glue the important bit into your scrapbook. If you could fit 3 cut up A4's onto one page - you are eliminating the thickness of 2 single sheets - taking into account the page thickness you are gluing onto and then glue another 3 onto the back of the same page - storing in total 6 sheets in the space of 3. A 50% reduction if you work in thirds - and all bound in a brightly coloured album for other generations to ogle.
benfrost, Jan 28 2005
  

       So if you will likely never need them again, how about putting them in a file box and storing them offsite? Retrievable by fax or email from any good document handling company.   

       You get your space, your documents stored, and it should cost less then a file cabinet that compresses papers.   

       Plus you'll look less insane to your boss by using a tried and true system for document handling.
Giblet, Jan 29 2005
  

       I would like to have one of those shoehorn things. That way I could stuff my drawers much fuller, and still be able to pull out papers, using the shoehorn.
robinism, Jan 29 2005
  

       //So if you will likely never need them again, how about putting them in a file box and storing them offsite? Retrievable by fax or email from any good document handling company.//   

       Actually, we've asked for that. It hasn't happened yet - but all of our data storage software is writen in COBOL, so we're not exactly cutting edge.
shapu, Jan 29 2005
  

       My filing cabinet at home (which I rescued from the roadside) is a rather old beast. It appears to have been made before hanging files were invented but will store cardboard A4 folders happily. Each drawer has a track recessed into the bottom running from front to back into which a vertical bar is mounted. You squeeze a little lever at the top of the bar which allows it to slide in the track and then push it back so that it compresses the folders behind it, then you release the lever and it locks them in place. It's hardly a hydraulic press, but it does it's job very well.
wagster, Jan 29 2005
  

       Agh... please don't say COBOL ever again.   

       Pulling a few hundred thousand lines of code from Honeywell Level 6 mainframes and converting it to run under PC based AccuCobol in time for Y2K was about as fun as... well as doing what I just described.   

       -shudder-
Giblet, Jan 30 2005
  

       I really want to refer to [Giblet] as "Peter Gibbons" from now on.
shapu, Jan 31 2005
  
      
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