Friday, March 18, 2011

Reviewed: Shoeboxed

Shoeboxed is a web-based company whose website encourages you to "take the work out of paperwork" by letting Shoeboxed take care of all your scanning needs. You pay a monthly fee and you send documents, receipts and business cards to Shoeboxed in North Carolina, and they scan them and import both the scanned image of the piece of paper and extract the information on that paper into a database of contacts, receipts or documents for you.

I'd heard of Shoeboxed for years, but had never tried their service until I took a paperless office webinar with San Francisco-based professional organizer Joshua Zerkel, in association with Shoeboxed. He explained how the service works and participants were invited to do a free trial. - Scan Receipts and Business Cards

Since I'm interested in all things paperless, I wanted to see how the service worked first hand. I signed up for the free trial and sent in about 50 business cards. I have a desktop scanner, and I've found that with business cards, the scanning part takes seconds, but then going in and adjusting the fields in the software to accurately show the data on the business cards can be time consuming. I thought if I could avoid that, it would be great. It took about 4 days for them to receive the envelope in the mail, and slightly over 2 weeks for them to process the batch of business cards. I thought I had read somewhere that it would 5 days to process the items once they received them, but I wasn't really in a hurry. Once they notified me that my business cards had been processed, I visited the website to check out the results.

A view of one of my contacts.
I was really impressed. The information they extracted was complete and easily exportable. The scanned images of the cards were clear. That was important to me as I often write notes on a card to remind me when and where I met the person who gave it to me. Best of all, I realized I had all this valuable information digitally and I didn't really have to do anything. Sure, I had to collect the cards and take them to the post office, probably 15 minutes of prep time. But if I had attempted to use my desktop scanner, it would have been easily an hour of following up to make sure the data on the cards was all imported correctly.

In short, so far I'm a fan of Shoeboxed. I even signed up to be an affiliate for them, so if you use one of my Shoeboxed links to sign up for the service, I will get a small commission.

A few more notes: they have different plans you can join at. I joined with the "Lite" (ie: cheapest) plan, because the volume of things I have to scan is not that heavy, and I also have a desktop scanner that works well for me when scanning documents. I'll probably use Shoeboxed mostly for business cards (I collect a lot from various networking events). However, I'd recommend if you are interested you join at the "Classic"or "Business" level, and that you sign up for a year as you can save money that way. They provide you with prepaid envelopes and they will return your hard copies to you after they have scanned them -- if you want. I recommend that once you get your papers scanned, just let them shred the hard copies (your only option with the Lite plan).

If you have more questions about Shoeboxed, let me know!

Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email


  1. Thanks for the great review, Lelah! We are thrilled to hear that you have enjoyed your experience so far. I also wanted to let you know that the two-week processing turnaround isn't our norm. We were a bit delayed in getting our mail-in operations back to 100% after our recent move, but you can definitely expect a 3-5 day turnaround for Lite plans moving forward!

    Thanks again,
    Lisa at Shoeboxed

  2. Hi Lisa, thanks for reading and commenting. Good to know about the turnaround time!