I’m not very good at filing. I tend to pile things on the corner of my desk and hope they go away. This makes it difficult to find things later. But there seems to be nothing I can do to fix this behavior. Even when I do have time to file, which is very rare, filing is not what I find time to do. So I am very grateful for cloud computing.

I subscribe to Pixily.com. So instead of filing, I move those piles into a prepaid envelope once a week and drop them in the mail. Pixily.com scans them and uploads them to my private file cabinet in the cloud. Now I can find everything with a simple search, print them out, email them to people, or just look at them online. I am now using my filing cabinet to store shoes – a much better use for it.

Pixily.com announced a few weeks ago that it had partnered with EverNote.com. I used EverNote.com for a while just after it launched – years ago — but something about it wasn’t ready (I don’t remember what) and I stopped using it. But this announcement made me think I should take another look. I’m glad I did. It’s terrific. It’s a lot like Microsoft OneNote (which is part of the student version of Microsoft Office) but it’s online (and free). It also offers a software download that synchs my online stuff with all of my computers so I can find things from my laptop, my netbook, or my office desktop.

It is great at capturing stuff that I know I will want to remember later but don’t know what do with now.

For example, I recently got a new fridge. The fridge has a built-in water filter system that will need a new filter in six months. I need to remember what brand to get. But by December, I will most certainly have forgotten. Do I keep the package that came with the original? Where? Nope! I used the Web camera on my laptop to snap a photo of it and sent that photo to Evernote.com. Then I threw the package out. Later, I was reading an article on the Web that contained a gardening tip I know I’ll want later, so I clipped that and sent it to Evernote.com too. I can grab info off the Web, take pictures with my cell phone – maybe I’ll see a book I want but don’t want to buy right now – or send things over from Pixily.com. I can email ideas, photos, or phone numbers from my cell phone or laptop to Evernote.com and I will always be able to find them later.

At Evernote.com, I can organize all that stuff into notebooks. But since I never file, I probably won’t do that. But that’s okay because I can just search for it when I need it. Evernote.com will find it even if the word I search for is in an image. So when I need to know what brand of water filter to buy, all I have to do is go to Evernote.com, type in the word “filter” and it will find that picture I took.

I have been using OneNote for years for this sort of note-taking and ad-hoc filing but I love this cloud angle. Fortunately, Evernote.com offers a very slick import feature so I can get ship all those OneNote files to the cloud, too.

2 thoughts on “Getting Organized in the Cloud”

  1. Well, then. I guess I’d better check this out! Right now, I remember stuff like this by sending a reminder to Toodledo.com, which puts the reminder automatically on my Outlook tasts list and has a nice online to-do tracking tool. It does not pester my husband to install it, though. That I have to do myself.

  2. Hi, Christina:
    Pixily sounds great for storing all of those “household” papers that fly around the house. But how will you remember in 6 months that its time to change the fridge’s water filter? I have a solution on Habitudes, my web service for families. It’s a household chore reminder called “Do Due Done.” It’s totally customizable, printable and stored online. The beauty of this system is that you can print the master list and keep it on the family bulletin board (or the fridge!), where your partner sees it, too. Keeping household task reminders to yourself results in them being your responsibility, or having to nag someone else to do them! Other tools on the Habitudes site: “Matters of Fact” (Things the family should know), “Emergency Information,” Whose Job Is It? (Family chore chart-free through June 30) and Gifts (Planner and tracker). I created these record keepers and checklists with know-how gained from 32 years worth of “household management” experience. I wish I had them when I started out. (There were no computers back then!)

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