Have you heard of Evernote? A lot of people have, but surprisingly, many have not. And that’s unfortunate because it’s a handy little free service that allows you to store and access notes wherever you are. There’s a desktop version for your home computer, an app for your phone (iPhone or Android), and you can access your account via a web browser anywhere there’s internet access. Talk about convenient!

There’s no limit to what you can use Evernote to track, but here’s what I use it for:

Conversations – I track conversations I’ve had with companies, particularly for those I have to contact repeatedly for answers. I note the date, time, person I spoke with and the results of that conversation. I include screenshots from websites where necessary. This saved me when disputing a charge for my local newspaper as I had a screenshot that contradicted what I was told. So again, another money saver.

Donations – I take pictures of the items I’ve donated and note their donation date, where they went, and a brief description of what is pictured. This helps jog my memory when a year later I’m wondering why something has “disappeared”. In addition, I keep track of monetary donations made to the local food bank and other charities so I can record them when tax season comes around.

Home Inventory – Ever buy, let’s say, toilet bowl cleaner, only to come home and realize you already have three bottles of it in the garage? Well I have, but I don’t anymore. I keep an inventory of my cleaning products in Evernote so I know when I’m low on something and when I have plenty of something else. Of course this requires discipline to keep the list updated so your mileage may vary.

Location of infrequently used items – Nothing is worse than tearing apart the house looking for your packing tape or the window fan you stored away once it got colder outside. Well, if you make a note of where you put them you wouldn’t have that problem! So whenever I put something seasonal away, I make a note of its location for reference later. This also works well if, like me, you have a garage full of storage totes. I have many of mine color-coded (orange for Halloween, red/green for Christmas, pink for Valentine’s Day, etc) but if you use more than one for a given holiday/season it’s great to label them with a magic marker with a number and then note what is stored in each one. It will save you from digging through multiple totes to find what you’re looking for.

Evernote Food Review

Products / Food – I take photos of products or food I’ve tried and paste them into a note with my impressions. I can’t tell you how many times this has saved me from buying something at the store I already tried before and didn’t like. No more waste! On the flip side, it helped me recall items I did like so I could buy more.

Travel Ideas – I use my travel notebook to keep track of future places I’d like to visit and build an itinerary from there. Eventually I end up moving the details into Excel because I’m a nerd like that but Evernote is great for the preliminary planning process.

I’m sure there’s lots of other uses for Evernote but the above are just some ideas based on how I use it. Feel free to share your suggestions in the comments.


Keeping your computer’s desktop clutter free can be a challenge, so here’s some tips for keeping it organized whether at home, at work, or both.

Note: these instructions are for a PC running Windows 7 so your mileage may vary if your operating system differs.

1) Put all the files and/or shortcuts you like to keep on your desktop in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. By doing this, anything new you save to your desktop will be easily identifiable because it will appear in the far left-hand corner, like so:

Desktop Organization

2) Add the quick launch toolbar to your taskbar to reduce the number of shortcuts you keep on your desktop altogether. For step-by-step directions on how to do this, visit Microsoft’s quick tutorial. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Ok, now that you’re back, your quick launch toolbar, after adding programs or links, may look something like this:

Quick Launch Toolbar
3) Bonus tip: If you want to quickly view your desktop you don’t need to do anything other than click this little area in the far right corner of your taskbar. Ta-da!

Show Desktop

If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment. Happy decluttering!