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I don’t know what I would do without Evernote and I mean that.  I used to be someone who had lists and lists in notebooks and various word documents all over the place.  It was hard to maintain and update and impossible to find things without a good memory and certainly it had no portability.

Then I discovered Evernote.  Evernote is a powerful note taking tool, but how I use it is way beyond taking simple notes.  I first started using it to coordinate different things with my husband as he was already using it.  I am the one who does most of the research for things like new large purchases, vacations, house projects, etc.  So I would compile my research into a ‘notebook’ on Evernote and then share that notebook with my husband so that we could make decisions.

It wasn’t long before I started using it for grocery lists.  I purchased a pro account so that I could share notes and allow those I shared with to edit.  This allowed me to write ‘honey do lists’ for my husband like small grocery lists for him to pick up on his way home from work, he could then log in and get the list and I can even use basic formatting, like check boxes, so he can check off the items as he gets them.  I use Evernote to do all of my grocery lists, which I used to do entirely on paper and have to make out every week and remember to take it with me.  I certainly couldn’t do a spontaneous trip while we were already out because I wouldn’t necessarily have my list with me.  Now I have it with me everywhere because it’s on my phone.  Furthermore I spend less time making the grocery list as I can keep headings for each area (Fresh, Meat, Dairy, etc) and just put in the new items each week and I can just keep items on the list that we buy each week without having to write down a thing.

Once I really started using the program regularly, it occurred to me that it could be the solution to some other problems we have…which is cataloging collections so we don’t double purchase when we are out and about.  We have an extensive collection of video games.  We collect consoles and have everything from the PS4 back to the Collecovision and Atari.  We’ve picked up games in lots on ebay,  used video game stores and yard sales.  However, when you have a collection that extensive, it’s sometimes hard to remember what you have and what you don’t have.  So I took my previous paper lists of games and organized them into a ‘notebook stack’ with notebooks for each major company (ex. Nintendo) and notes under notebook for each console version (NES, SNES, etc).  This has helped tremendously when looking through games to purchase.

After the games, I did the same thing with movies as we sometimes look through bargain bins for movies and can’t remember if we have a certain movie or not.  Sometimes it’s hard to remember if we replaced an old VHS tape for instance after we ditched VHS or whether we have something on DVD or Bluray.  When you have extensive collections, Evernote can be a good record keeper.  My only complaint in this area is that when it comes to sorting, there is no way to sort within a note alphabetically, which would be the ultimate in ease of use in a list.  Ironically, Evernote isn’t really meant to be used as a database like I am doing in these areas, but incredibly useful anyway.

Evernote is also a great record keeper.  Since I use it to organize events like vacations, birthday parties, Christmas gifts, etc. it automatically becomes a diary of sorts.  At any time if I want to remember where we stayed when we were in a certain city, I can easily find my reservation information.  If I want to know when it was that we replaced an appliance, it’s easy to narrow that down by looking back at my research notes.  Many things I have purchased or reserved I have kept a copy of in my notes and can reference again years later.

Now lets talk about some of the tools that make all of this possible.  The biggest tool I use is the Evernote Web Clipper.  Researching something online and need to keep a copy of the text?  Web Clipper.  Want to make sure that reservation information is at your finger tips when you go on vacation?  Web Clipper.  Need to keep a link on file for a future purchase?  Web Clipper.  Web Clipper is a simple addition to your browser tool bar that allows you to clip anything into Evernote that you are looking at on your browser.  You can do that in multiple forms either via a selection, a link, a screenshot, a full page, etc.

The other tool I use a lot is being able to simply upload pictures directly to Evernote from my gallery.  Many of the pictures I have uploaded to this blog if taken from my phone or my tablet I simply transfer into Evernote.  I don’t have to get out the cable to connect my phone to my laptop or email them to myself or even try to transfer them over Bluetooth.  Nope, I just have a notebook stack for my blog and upload the notes directly into it.  I can keep brainstorming ideas and pertinent information for future posts in that stack and have them all at the tip of my fingers no matter what device I am using.

Oh and one last, but very important thing I have on Evernote is vacation check lists!  Oh my how this has not only saved me time, but kept me from leaving important things behind.  I rarely forget anything for a trip, even if it’s just a weekend getaway that we decided at last minute to take because I already have permanent vacation check lists that only need tweaks because of the season (shorts vs. a coat for instance).  Everyone always seems to be in awe of how organized I am, but honestly I am so much more organized since I found Evernote.

Do you have some must haves to stay organized?  If so, I’d love to hear them!  Please share in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

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