December 13, 2012

If you’re overwhelmed by clutter created by paper, word documents and too many email reminders to yourself, take heart. As a busy reporter, I’ve reorganized my note-taking with a website called Evernote. You can get it free — but the paid versions offer more storage space and useful tools. keeps all my stuff on a cloud, which means it’s stored online and not on my computer. That means I can access my account from any computer, just the way I would check my gmail or Facebook. But unlike those two websites, once I downloaded Evernote on my laptop, I can use it anytime. No need for wifi if I’m simply typing. There’s even an Evernote iPhone app that I use for accessing existing notes and adding new ones.

Why you need Evernote

My notes are now filed into categories of my own choosing. I tag them too. And even when I forget to do that, no worries. Most of the time, I can punch in a phrase, a word, an address, a name — and Evernote will instantly pull up everything I’ve ever written that mentions it, with the information that I’m looking for highlighted.

So far, I have more than 750 notes on this cloud filing system, which can also store pdfs, photos, as well as audio and video. Even though I don’t use all the fancy options offered by the website, it’s nice knowing that they’re there.

There is also a competing filing system called It’s supposed to be very good but I can’t bare to look at it because the website is so incredibly utilitarian-ugly. By comparison, Evernote is visually jazzy, a pleasure to access. Plus the elephant logo is just too cute.

As a college prof, I turned a bunch of students onto Evernote. And I just shared it with a journalist friend who gratefully told me it is a lifesaver. That’s what made me realize that I should mention this great website to you.

Two things before I go….

The site is free but I was piling so much crap onto it that I signed up for the $45-a-year premium package that gives me almost bottomless storage.

Secondly, remember you’re online with Evernote. Whatever your standards are for Internet privacy, they apply here. There are some things I would never, ever put online, not here or anywhere.

Beyond that, all I have to say is that Evernote has been such a calming force in my life as I barrel through hectic days. Maybe it’ll help you too.  :)

Note on Evernote, added Sept. 25, 2017: Everything I wrote here five years ago still holds true! I still love Evernote. Additional features I now depend on include the ability to highlight notes, the Evernote clipper that lets me save stuff directly from the web and the option to create multiple notebooks (folders).

And I love the fact that I can work on it offline. My Evernote Premium now costs $69.99 a year. Students can get a 50%-off deal. If you have questions about how to use this wonderful site, just ask! (P.S. —  In case you’re wondering, I got nothing from Evernote for doing this post. I just like what it offers me)