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Free Bonus Lesson:

Using Evernote as a Decluttering Tool

By Tiffany Muehlbauer S&T Personal Entertainment, Inc

A Decluttering Made Easy Lesson: “Using Evernote as a Decluttering Tool”

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© 2012-2013 Copyright Tiffany Muehlbauer ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this report may be reproduced or transmitted in any form whatsoever, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any informational storage or retrieval system without express written, dated and signed permission from the author. DISCLAIMER AND/OR LEGAL NOTICES: The information presented herein represents the view of the author as of the date of publication. Because of the rate with which conditions change, the author reserves the right to alter and update his opinion based on the new conditions. The report is for informational purposes only. While every attempt has been made to verify the information provided in this report, neither the author nor his affiliates/partners assume any responsibility for errors, inaccuracies or omissions. Any slights of people or organizations are unintentional. If advice concerning legal or related matters is needed, the services of a fully qualified professional should be sought. This report is not intended for use as a source of legal or accounting advice. You should be aware of any laws which govern business transactions or other business practices in your country and state. Any reference to any person or business whether living or dead is purely coincidental. © 2012-2013 Tiffany Muehlbauer All Rights Reserved

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A Decluttering Made Easy Lesson: “Using Evernote as a Decluttering Tool”

Foreword While you can get along just fine by saving your lists, files, and paperwork anywhere you like on your hard drive, writing them down in notebooks, and filing them away in cabinets, I have found that there is one program which has really changed the way I file things and the way I operate in general. And that miracle program is Evernote. The tips contained in this bonus lesson are in no way a requirement regarding how you need to organize your life, paper or projects. This is simply the method which I discovered a few years ago that really allowed me to turn things around in my life and truly get organized. I put all sorts of information and lists into Evernote, from an inventory of my spice cabinet (and the list of extra bulk spices I have stored elsewhere) to my pantry and freezer inventory lists, as well as my recipes, the current list of DIY projects we have in our pipeline, important documents for home and business and random things I know I will need later but don’t want to save scraps of paper for. I even used Evernote to help us search for an apartment when we moved and also store all of our travel information there whenever we take a trip. It’s so much easier to locate things in Evernote later on because if its incredible search features (and the fact that it can even search in images and PDFs. – although the latter is only possible in the Evernote Premium) And you really don’t have to worry about setting a complex filing or tagging system because you can usually just use the search to quickly and easily find what you need. Now, having said all of that, let’s dive in...

© 2012-2013 Tiffany Muehlbauer All Rights Reserved

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A Decluttering Made Easy Lesson: “Using Evernote as a Decluttering Tool”

Introduction Let me start with an overview of what Evernote is. Evernote gives users the ability to remember everything, then search and retrieve that information just about anytime, anywhere. Evernote lets you create notes that capture anything, including text, photos, Web pages, documents, and audio, and access this information from virtually anywhere. Evernote is available for every computer and mobile device platform, including Windows, Mac OSX, iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry and WebOS. You can also access Evernote from the Web, meaning no matter what device you use or where you are, you can instantly access all your notes all the time. And because all of your notes can be synced to multiple devices, you never have to be without your important data. An Evernote account is free for everyone, and includes all of the core functionality and features that make Evernote great. There are also two paid versions of Evernote (Evernote Premium and Evernote Business) but they are not necessary to start organizing your life with Evernote.

What is so great about Evernote? I could probably go on for hours about what I think is so great about Evernote, but there are a few key points about this software that really make it stand out from the rest of the crowd…and in my opinion, there really is no other substitute for Evernote although there are similar products out there. 1. It’s Paperless: When I started using Evernote a few years ago, I was not all that organized and felt it was rather overrated to live a paperless life. But one thing I have learned as I’ve become less and less dependent on paper is that it’s not always easy to find what you need in a computer or in the cloud unless you know what you’re looking for. Plus, you usually end up with some stuff in one computer, some stuff in your laptop and other stuff somewhere else (like Dropbox.) While this can be good if you’re trying to protect your data from theft, it’s not so practical when you need to access things quickly. Which brings us to my real favorite feature of Evernote… 2. Everything Can Easily & Quickly be Searched: One of the features I love most about Evernote is that it uses OCR-technology to recognize text in PDF attachments, documents and even images. So if you take a © 2012-2013 Tiffany Muehlbauer All Rights Reserved

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A Decluttering Made Easy Lesson: “Using Evernote as a Decluttering Tool”

photo of a page of notes or scan a document, Evernote can read it. Then when you type in “chicken” later on, you’ll get all recipes that feature chicken as an ingredient as well as notes that mention the word chicken, such as the fact that your neighbor doesn’t eat it anymore. 3. You Can Take It Everywhere You Go: Whether you are on a PC, Mac, iPhone, Android or other device, Evernote can be taken along with you. This means you can access your information on the go, right when you need it! So if you need to access medical records or a recipe for dinner tonight, it’s all right at your fingertips. 4. It frees up your brain. I’ve no doubt that you have a lot going on every day and Evernote is really practical for those times whe you need to purge a bunch of information from your head so you can focus on more important things. I use it in my phone when I go to PTA meetings and my husband uses it when he goes to company presentations. Yes, people in my daughter’s pre-school do look at me a bit weird in Germany for taking notes in my phone but if they knew what I was doing, they would be jealous.

Basic Evernote Terminology Before you get started with Evernote, there’s a few terms you will want to become familiar with.

Sync -- Every device loaded with Evernote is automatically ‘synced’ to the Evernote Service (in the “cloud.”) This ensures that everything in a user’s Evernote account is always available everywhere they have Evernote installed, including mobile devices, desktop computers, and the Web. With sync, users no longer have to worry about copying files or notes to take with them. Evernote makes everything available, any time, without the need for cords, portable hard drives, or hassle. Note -- A note is the basic unit for capturing anything in Evernote. Notes can include text, images, documents, audio, and Web Clips. Every note is searchable, making them easy to find later. Evernote even recognizes typed and handwritten text in images attached to notes so that this content is searchable. Evernote Premium users can also search for text inside PDF documents attached to notes. Shared note -- Users can share individual notes via email, Twitter, Facebook, or a public URL, while keeping the rest of their notes private. If you choose to use a public URL to share a note, anyone can view this note, including people who do not have an Evernote account. To share a note, open the note on your desktop, mobile device, or on the Web, then tap the share icon. Notebook -- Notebooks are the basic unit for organizing notes in Evernote. Notebooks can be given any name and are commonly used to separate notes into separate topics or themes. For example, you might create one notebook called ‘Work Notes’ and one called ‘Personal

© 2012-2013 Tiffany Muehlbauer All Rights Reserved

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A Decluttering Made Easy Lesson: “Using Evernote as a Decluttering Tool”

Notes’ to keep these types of notes separate and easier to browse. All Evernote accounts have one default notebook that is created when the account is first made.

When creating new notebooks, it is recommended that you select to create synchronized notes, as opposed to local. Local notebooks will not sync with the Evernote service. There is no set structure for how you use or organize notebooks, so feel free to create a system that works for you. Shared Notebook -- With the Shared Notebook feature, Evernote users can share notebooks with as many people as they want, then manage sharing permissions from Evernote on their desktops, mobile devices, and the Web. Any Evernote user can share a notebook for viewing, but only Evernote Premium users can also allow others to edit notes in a Shared Notebook. I share many notebooks with my husband, which include our recipe files (so he can help with meal planning), project lists and important documents. Local Notebook -- Local Notebooks are notebooks that do not sync with your Evernote account, and are only accessible on the computer they were created with. This is often used to keep certain notebooks private, or to limit access to them. Local Notebooks can be created with Evernote for Mac and Windows. Notebook Stack -- Notebook Stacks are an optional way to visually group multiple notebooks. Notebook Stacks are commonly used for grouping notebooks that have a similar broad topic or theme. For example, you might create a Notebook Stack called ‘Recipes’ then add notebooks to it called ‘Breakfast Recipes’, ‘Lunch Recipes’, and ‘Dinner Recipes.’ Note Link -- Each note in your Evernote account is associated with a unique Note Link that can be embedded as a hyperlink into any other note in your account, as well as other desktop and Web applications. Note Links can only be created with Evernote desktop clients. Here’s how it’s done: Right-click (PC) or Control-click (Mac) on the note you want to create a link to, then click ‘Copy Note Link.’ A link to the note will be copied to your clipboard. Next, open the note you want to put the Note Link in, then right-click (PC) or Control-click (Mac) and click ‘Paste.’

I use these all the time to create travel itineraries, master lists of recipes we love, project outlines and my weekly to-do lists. Tag -- Tags are an optional way to associate keywords to notes and improve searchability. Tags can be added when a note is created, or added at a later time. Common uses for tags include associating notes with categories, memories or locations. Multiple tags can be added to a note. Search -- Everything in Evernote is searchable, including the contents of notes, tags and attachments. Evernote even performs character and

© 2012-2013 Tiffany Muehlbauer All Rights Reserved

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A Decluttering Made Easy Lesson: “Using Evernote as a Decluttering Tool”

handwriting recognition on attached images, making their text searchable. Evernote Premium users can also search for text in attached PDF documents. Saved Search -- Users that commonly search for the same keywords can create Saved Searches to eliminate the need to type in their search terms every time they need it. Just click a Saved Search from the list and go. Activity Stream -- Evernote is a great collaboration tool, thanks to shared notes and Shared Notebooks. The Activity Stream lets users easily view a timeline of what shared notes and Shared Notebooks have been changed and when by clicking the Activity Stream icon, located at the top of the application window. Activity Stream is only available in Evernote for Mac OSX and Windows.

If you find that you enjoy using Evernote and need a larger monthly upload allowance (1GB versus 60MB per month) or would like to be able to collaborate with others on shared notes, you may want to look into Evernote Premium. An Evernote Premium subscription costs $5/month or $45/year and offers many other features such as making notebooks accessible locally, without an internet connection as well as searching in attached PDF files.

How to Get Started Using Evernote

If you do not already have it, simply go to the Evernote website and download the file depending on the type of gadget you want to install it in – computer, phone or tablet. Next, open the file and it will direct you with the steps on how you can install the application. Simply follow the instructions. Once installed, open the application and sign in or register for an account. Now, you can start using your Evernote. Your Evernote account starts up with one notebook. These notebooks are where you store your files. As you go along, you have the freedom to add and create as many notebooks as you see fit for your use. To create a notebook: 1. Click on the file tab 2. Go to “New Notebook” and click. 3. The “Create Notebook” dialogue box will appear and will have a space for you to type in the title or label for the notebook that you like and a selection of the kind of notebook you want it to be. Local Notebook – is available on you computer alone and will not be uploaded to the Evernote web server © 2012-2013 Tiffany Muehlbauer All Rights Reserved

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A Decluttering Made Easy Lesson: “Using Evernote as a Decluttering Tool”

Synchronized Notebook – can be uploaded to the web service so that it is available across all platforms of evernote services through your Evernote account. Another option would be: 1. On the left-hand pane, click the “Insert” key for a new notebook or 2. Right-click on the notebook pane and select on “New Notebook.” To create Notes, Ink Notes or Webcam Notes: 1. In the main tool bar, click on “New Note.” A drop down menu that contains the different types of note you can make, click on the one you like to start making a note or 2. Click on “File” to see options – New Note, New Ink Note, New Webcam Note. To create a Multimedia Note: - Simply drag any multimedia file you wish to add and drop it into a new or existing note. File types such as PDF, JPG, WAV, PNG, MP3, GIF and AMR are supported for Free users. Premium users can attach any file type but only those supported file types can be previewed. - Or right click within the note and select Attach Files… Then surf to where your file is, select it and give Evernote a second to attach it. Tagging Notes: If you feel like you have too many notes and can’t easily remember them, you can put a tag so that you are able to easily retrieve your files. You can do this by Right click on the tag section or on a tag. You can create a new tag, rename an existing one or even delete it. Emailing Notes: For those who need to pass on their notes to other people through Emails, it is no problem at all. 1. In your list of notes, select one or multiple notes and click on the “Email” button. 2. You will then be redirected to the Email application window. 3. Enter the recipient’s email address and a message if any. Note: You will see on the bottom left-corner of the application window, the number of notes that you have selected to be attached to the email. 4. Click the “send” button once you are done. © 2012-2013 Tiffany Muehlbauer All Rights Reserved

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A Decluttering Made Easy Lesson: “Using Evernote as a Decluttering Tool”

These are only some of the many things that Evernote can do for you. As you use it more often, you will be able to discover a lot of wonderful things that the tool can do.

Examples of How You Can Use Evernote  Home o To do lists of projects o Repetitive monthly/yearly maintenance tasks o Shopping lists for Lowes/Home Depot  Family o Gift ideas for your spouse, kids, friends, teachers, etc (it’s a great place to jot things down when they happen to mention something they like) o Current clothing and shoe sizes of your family members o Medical information including last immunization, allergies, current medications, etc o Which ink cartridge each printer uses o Model, make, VIN, year, color, license plate number and more for your car(s) like maintenance records and repairs o Copies of important documents like insurance policies, your will, tax receipts, etc  Personal o Tasks you've committed to for church, social groups, etc. o Names of new people you've recently met or whose name I'm likely to forget – with Evernote Hello, you can also snap a quick photo to help you remember them better o Books you'd like to read/order from the library or online o Travel plans including itinerary, tickets, hotel bookings and more  Work o Information about new projects you are working on o Details about existing projects o Ideas and brainstorming sessions o Information about ongoing projects you are working on o Photos of whiteboard sessions o Photos of customers using your products or after you’ve completed a job

© 2012-2013 Tiffany Muehlbauer All Rights Reserved

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A Decluttering Made Easy Lesson: “Using Evernote as a Decluttering Tool”

So now, let’s take a look at one of my primary uses for Evernote, which is an ongoing project and something that is completely changing the way I feel about recipes.

Using Evernote to Organize Your Recipes

A little over a year ago, my mother-in-law had the smart idea to start scanning her recipes into her computer. Her plan was to be able to have her favorites with her whether she’s was at home in Germany or America, or even somewhere in between, without having to lug around a bunch of cookbooks and papers. She was just keeping them on her laptop, until I told her about Evernote. The beauty of Evernote is that you can make the filing system complex or simple. But really, you don’t need to go overboard with putting things in folders and so on. I just set a few essential tags (like breakfast, dinner, beef and so on) and let the built in search features of Evernote do the rest of the work. Because Evernote can search images and PDF files for words you search for, you really only need to list those tags which are not already in the recipe itself — or in my case a translation since I have a lot of recipes in German but can’t image typing in “Hähnchen” instead of “chicken” when I’m looking for dinner inspiration. I not only have the magazines full of recipes, but also recipes in binders which are printed from the internet or elsewhere. So I usually look to see if these recipes still exist somewhere online and copy them in that was (using Evernote Clearly with the Web Clipper for your browser is a great way to do this.) It also makes it easier to add notes or make edits to the recipes after we’ve made them so we can improve on them next time around. But the one thing you might want to include are tags for your personal ratings, holiday or meal type indications, or things like whether it’s a freezerfriendly meal or can be cooked in 30 minutes or less. © 2012-2013 Tiffany Muehlbauer All Rights Reserved

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Optimizing Recipe Scans Although you can put the original scanned images right into Evernote, they may be really huge resolution (and you really don’t need them to be that enormous — 1000px is plenty). Plus you’ll probably have parts of the pages you’d like to crop off because they’re no longer relevant or interesting. So I do one of those things: • •

Scan the images as PDF files, which means you can group multi-page scans together in one attached file (this is most effective with Evernote Premium since it can then search your PDF files) Run all of the images through Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 (which has WAY more uses for editing photography than just this) and crop everything, turn the images and optimize them for Evernote in just a few minutes time. I used to use Photoshop for things like this — but it’s SO much faster with Lightroom that I stick to the latter now.The really fabulous thing about cropping in Lightroom is that you can turn on the cropping feature, and then go through every image you want to edit without ever needing to hit “crop” again. So the whole process moves a lot faster since that is basically all you’re doing most of the time. And then you Export all of the image to a new folder on your hard drive (I’ll explain why it should be a new folder in a moment) and are ready to upload them to Evernote.

The Evernote Recipes Hack All of my recipes are in one folder together, along with meals and meal plans. As I mentioned before, Evernote has such powerful search capability that you don’t need to go overboard sorting things out –unless you just really have too much time on your hands. And in that case, you can come to my house and © 2012-2013 Tiffany Muehlbauer All Rights Reserved

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A Decluttering Made Easy Lesson: “Using Evernote as a Decluttering Tool”

help me get organized. I find the power of their search features extremely practical because I always have a bit of trouble figuring out where to stick certain recipes. Using a single folder also makes this next little tip work like a charm. There is a really cool feature that I only recently learned about (thanks Honey!), which actually speeds up the scanning & entering process significantly. There’s a lot of software and special scanners on the market just for Evernote (yes, it’s seriously that big) and these will add items directly into Evernote for you without any extra action. BUT you can do this with the basic functionality of Evernote too — it’s just that most people don’t tell you how! What you do is go up to Tools –> Import Folders… You’ll get a dialog that looks something like this:

Now what you want to do is click on the “Add…” button and navigate to the folder where you are storing all your recipes (or projects or whatever it is you want to import into Evernote) and select it. Then you will tell Evernote what Notebook you want that information added to and if you want the files you are importing to be deleted when done.

© 2012-2013 Tiffany Muehlbauer All Rights Reserved

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This feature is so fantastic and works great. Although I have had the problem that Evernote is adding images while I’m scanning them (should likely close Evernote while scanning) and duplicates get added. This is not a huge deal because you can just through and delete them quickly, but it is a bit of a pain.

Evernote for Meal Planning Something cool about Evernote is that you can actually link to specific “notes” within the program. This makes creating meal plans from your existing recipes super easy, because you don’t have to go through and search for them when you’re ready to cook them. Instead, you just click on a link in the meal plan note. To link to a note within Evernote, just right click on the note and select “Copy Note Link”. Or select the note in the preview screen, go to the Note menu and click Copy Note Link. Then you just paste it where you need it (Ctrl+V).

Here’s how I use this feature. First I create a monthly meal plan. I have to admit that we tend to deviate from our meal plan from time to time, because things come up that we don’t always expect. But usually, we do our best to stick to it. Of course, with Evernote, you can also easily drag and drop the meals to another date and just move forward. I like to create a table in Evernote and then I write out the days of the month in advance, broken down by week.

© 2012-2013 Tiffany Muehlbauer All Rights Reserved

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A Decluttering Made Easy Lesson: “Using Evernote as a Decluttering Tool”

Then, I go through and input the meals we will be eating. The green links you see above are the Note Links from within Evernote. I also create a list of things on the right which I know will we don’t have on hand so that planning for our weekly shopping trip at the farmers’ market goes that much more quickly. Of course you can also use put regular links to recipes in the plans from the Internet. And on a side note, if you copy a recipe from the Internet, Evernote will add a link to the source page for you automatically…so you can always go back later and give credit to it in your blog, leave a comment or get more recipes.

How to Organize Recipes in Printed Cookbooks The latest trick I’ve discovered for organizing recipes in Evernote makes use of their awesome text recognition feature in PDFs and images. I have quite a few cookbooks in our kitchen, but I rarely think to look at them when it comes to meal planning or just figuring out what to do for dinner on the fly. But then I realized that I can scan the recipe index and at least have a basic idea of what recipes are in those cookbooks — and therefore have a far © 2012-2013 Tiffany Muehlbauer All Rights Reserved

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greater chance of cooking from them! It takes Evernote longer to recognize the text within the images, but once it’s in there, it’s a truly incredible tool. You may notice in the image above that the word “Spargel” (German for asparagus but also used for white asparagus in English which is typically German) is highlighted over and over again. I pulled up that recipe using exactly this method, just searching for a word within the images to find what I wanted. Naturally, this all is a whole lot easier when you’re just adding things in a single language. But it recognizes text in many different languages. So if you’re multilingual, you can love Evernote that much more.

That particular use of Evernote is pretty advanced and detailed, but not everything has to be that complex.

Using Evernote to Go Paperless Have you ever wondered what effective way you can take to reduce or entirely get rid of all the paper clutter that you have at work or at home? Wonder no more because Evernote can help you do just that. In fact, some people devote almost entire blogs to how they use Evernote to rid themselves of paper clutter. I’m sure you have so many papers lying around in your house or office and sometimes, regardless of the fact that you have tried sorting them out and even throwing some away, there is still so much to deal with and just not enough space for all of them. Here’s the thing, it may be difficult to get rid of all the papers entirely. Some paper in the house or office is inevitable. Tax receipts, social security cards, licenses, and other very important legal documents should always be kept. But you can scan these documents and keep backups of them all easily accessible and organized. And for everything else that can be tossed, Evernote is your new best friend. What Should You Absolutely Keep Track Of?

 Tax filings for the last 10 years – You never know when the IRS is going to decide they need to delve more deeply into your life. And you’re supposed to keep old tax filings for 10 years according to them.  Information which backs up tax returns and write offs from the last 6 years  Insurance policies – Whether it’s life, home, car or any other type of insurance, you always want to keep your policies handy. I have actually © 2012-2013 Tiffany Muehlbauer All Rights Reserved

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had the intention of scanning our policies for the last year or three. Perhaps I’ll actually get to it before the move (now that our scanner has one of those awesome feeder functions), just in case something goes awry with our paperwork along the way. But if it’s just receipts for paying the monthly rates, you don’t need to hold on to them long term.  Deeds, titles, etc – Anything that shows proof of ownership is absolutely important to keep in its original format.

What You Should Trash from the Filing Cabinet

 Old utility bills – We have kept many of our utility bills from year to year (the billing system here in a bit crazy for things like water and electric) just so we can make sure we’re decreasing our consumption on a regular basis. But the moment we close on our house, those things are going in the trash. In fact, I will probably throw quite a few of them away in advance of our move just because they’re useless to us now.  Credit reports from 15 years ago – They’re no longer relevant or helpful. Make sure you get a free credit reports each year to keep an eye on your standing and make sure no one is stealing your identity, but you definitely don’t need the last 20 reports you printed out over the years. And if there is nothing on your report that needs to be fixed or changed, you don’t really need to hang on to the most recent report either.  Old pay stubs – Yes, keep the most recent ones because they’re often necessary to prove your income status. But if you’re no longer with an employer, already closed out your taxes or otherwise know you’re never going to need those statements again, just let them go.  Paperwork for things you’ve paid off — Loans, insurance policies, etc. that you’ve paid in full can be trashed shortly the bank has acknowledged that everything is paid in full. Scan magazine cut outs, product manuals (or better yet, just look them up online and attach them to a Note), business cards, receipts and much more. You can also use the camera in your phone to record things like white board writings, things written on the black board in the class room, signs you see and so forth. The amount of space you will gain by getting rid of all the excess paper will blow you away. Plus Evernote makes all of it easy to organize and search. And if you know you’re not going to need specific documents or information long term, add a tag like “Temporary” to it. Then set a reminder in your calendar to go through those Notes once every 6 or 12 months to remove what is no longer important.

© 2012-2013 Tiffany Muehlbauer All Rights Reserved

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Your shopping lists, daily, weekly & monthly reminders and schedules and todo lists can also be made through your Evernote so there really is no need for paper anymore. Plus they’ll go with you wherever you are in your phone, iPad or PC. You see, with Evernote, you do not just simply reduce paper clutter, you also help to save paper as well.

Using Evernote to Plan out Projects When we decided to move to Berlin in 2012, we had exactly 3 months to get rid of things at our farmhouse, wrap everything up, find a new place to live and get moved. Now that might not seem like such a huge deal, but since our farm was FILLED with belongings from not only us but also the packrat/hoarder who had owned the place for 30 years before us, it was no easy task. One of the ways that Evernote came in extremely helpful was allowing us to get an overview of the projects we needed to wrap up at the farm so that we could put the house on the market…as well as our massive decluttering efforts (which included getting rid of hundreds of things via Freecycle.) We created tables and lists within Notes and then either highlighted things as red once we’d done the task or gotten rid of the items, or put a line through them. These types of actions can also be done if you want to create a concrete list of what rooms of your home exist that need to be decluttered, and you can break those rooms down even further to include shelves, cabinets and other areas that you will actually be tackling. Although you can usually visually see where the clutter has been removed, it’s often even more effective to have a list where you can cross things off so you know exactly how much you’ve already accomplished – and what you are still working on. It is also useful if you’re going to be assigning decluttering tasks to someone else in your family, like a spouse, child, friend or others who are assisting with your mission.

© 2012-2013 Tiffany Muehlbauer All Rights Reserved

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Using Evernote to Find a New Place to Live As our deadline to move drew closer and closer, our list of apartments to see seemed to grow longer and longer. If you’ve ever looked for a new place to live, you know it can get confusing, stressful and just downright crazy. Our plan was to see about 20 apartments in 2 1/2 days…so needless to say, things were going to get all jumbled in our brains really quickly. To be honest, even as we looked at the places and talking about them on a regular basis, I had trouble keeping them separated in my head. And there were usually only about 10 of them that we were really focusing on at a time. Being that the analyst gene is deeply ingrained in Stefan, my husband, and that we both have a mild case of OCD, we decided it was time to bring some organization to all the chaos and started putting things together in Excel & Evernote. We even went so far as to map out all the interesting apartments © 2012-2013 Tiffany Muehlbauer All Rights Reserved

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in Google Earth, then we started adding a few key places nearby like farmers’ markets so we had yet another way to analyze things. Then we started getting really serious.

Excel came into play and we entered the basic information about all the apartments just to get an overview. Then we created several points we wanted to rank the apartments on, based on things that are important to us. Since virtually every corner in Berlin has a kindergarten on it, that didn’t pop up on our list. But things like how we like the apartment overall based on pictures online, the location and what is around it (or how easy it is to get to places where life is happening since we’ll mostly be going by foot or public transport), if there is a decent place to walk Ayla nearby, what the commute is like for Stefan, and so on. Then Stefan and I both gave the attributes weightings, based on what was most important to us. So once that completely anal part of the sheet was complete, we went through each apartment and carefully looked at its floor plan, photos online, Google maps info and any other thing we could gather about the places, and put gave a ranking from 1 to 10 for each of the attributes. And finally we calculated a value based upon the average of our weightings and all the attribute ranks combined. I guess we could have gotten really wild and done something to compare energy prices or other local costs. But most of the time, we had a “warm rent” cost in there (or a best guess when they didn’t give an indication of what the rent is including heating and all side costs). So we figured that was good enough. Oh yes, we are totally Monica and Chandler. © 2012-2013 Tiffany Muehlbauer All Rights Reserved

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A Decluttering Made Easy Lesson: “Using Evernote as a Decluttering Tool”

So that gave us a great list of apartments to make appointments for, which we knew would most likely fit our requirements. Obviously things may appear different in person, and we took the spreadsheet with us on my laptop to make last minute adjustments (although we also could have saved it to Dropbox and accessed it from there.) But that didn’t actually help us to remember much about what we’d actually be seeing or give us a place to make notes about what we’d seen and might still be interested in — to help us with the final decision. And that’s where our beloved Evernote steps in. First, we made a general Notebook for our house hunting trip. Then we made an overview itinerary Note which has information about our hotel stay, all the apartments we planned to see at what time, etc. We put the property listing details about every place we had an appointment for into its own note in the house hunting folder which included all the photos from the listing as well (viewing and copying the print-friendly version of the webpage usually works great for stuff like this, especially if Evernote Clearly or Web Clipper aren’t working). And of course, then each note for the listing is linked in the itinerary so it’s easy to find.

Now we could carry all the info we needed to know about the places right on the iPad, make a few notes after each showing and by the end of the trip, and had a really good idea of what place we wanted to put under contract as our new home in Berlin. Some might think that all this was overkill since we were only going to be there for a few days. But basically we had to find an apartment during this trip that worked for us since our time frame was so truncated. So our goal was to make this quest as smooth and easy as possible so we can find the best place for us at the best price and with the © 2012-2013 Tiffany Muehlbauer All Rights Reserved

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A Decluttering Made Easy Lesson: “Using Evernote as a Decluttering Tool”

best features. The only way to make sure that happens is to make and take detailed notes! So that was Evernote in a nutshell and some of the various ways I use it. Again, you’re not required to use this program and you should use whatever actually works best for you. I just wanted to show you in more detail how I use Evernote and what works for me so you have an additional idea of what will work for you. I’m also sure that you will see me mention Evernote more in the future, and I wanted to make sure you know what it is and how to use it (should you wish to.) See you again soon. Blessings,

Tiffany Muehlbauer Publisher, Decluttering Made Easy

© 2012-2013 Tiffany Muehlbauer All Rights Reserved

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How to Use Evernote to Declutter  

If you are looking for ways to organize your life, look no further than Evernote.

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