This post contains affiliate links, which support Ginger & Co. You can read the disclosure here.
I absolutely love Evernote. I’m one of those people who tries to stuff everything in my Evernote account, including my high school notes from 2011. Do I need those? Probably not, but I’m a digital hoarder. After 6+ years of using Evernote, it’s kind of a mess and I’ve decided it’s finally time to get Evernote to work for me. Because right now, I don’t feel like either one of us is working for the other. So I’m cleaning out my Evernote account.
Over my many years of using Evernote, I’ve used it for different things. I first found it as a way to take notes in class, but as I used it more and more I realized it could do more and more. I’m no longer in school, but I have a blog and I write novels under a pen name. I rely on Evernote to help me organize my personas on the internet. After years of using notebooks, last year I tried to start using tags instead of notebooks. During this time, I was working at a job where I had five clients at one time and notebooks weren’t always the most useful way to organize all my clients.
Quickly, I fell in love with tags. But now, almost two years later I’m left with a mess that looks like this.
It also doesn’t help that I never look at my tags or that I have close to 6000 notes.
Let me tell y’all, unless you have a super tight organizational system, 6000 notes is just going to leave you feeling overwhelmed.
So now I’m on a mission to clean out my Evernote account. For me, there are a few specific areas I’ll be cleaning out.
Cleaning Out My Evernote Account
Because I write murder mysteries, I’m always on the hunt to find stories of crazy murders that happen in real life. So, for a while I was on an Evernote-clipping binge, clipping any news story that featured a strange crime (hint, most of them do). Right now, I have over 250 notes with just the “news inspiration” tag. And guess how often I look at those notes? Never. I’ve stopped clipping notes, too, because my Evernote inbox is flooded with these types of articles.
I mentioned the inbox in the last spot, and I have close to 600 notes in my inbox. Do I need most of those? Definitely not, in fact, I probably need to keep less than 50 of those. In addition to the inbox, I have a folder called Bookmarks that was the predecessor to my “Filing Cabinet” notebook. That has another 300 notes in it plus the Filing Cabinet notebook that has 1500+ notes.Did all those Evernote notes get away from you? It may be time to clean out your account. #evernote Click To Tweet
Cleaning out each notebook & consolidating notes
Every notebook you have has some notes that you don’t really need, I’m sure. Over the next few months, I’ll be taking the time to go through each one and clean out my notes. It’ll also give me time to combine notes with similar information.
I’m guilty of adding a new note to my phone every time I have a new idea. If I was smart, I’d create one note for each book and build upon the notes. Having one note for each book (or a project if you’re working on) will allow me to have less notes but more information because I can build plot ideas on each other and still see all the pieces.
When I have multiple notes that cover the same subject, I’m creating dashboards (so each book has a dashboard for it). Dashboards are like Table of Contents notes, allowing me to use Note Links to connect everything together. With a simple click of a link, I can bounce back and forth between each note.
For some of my old political work that I’m never going to need again, I’m going to condense the work I want to keep (like writing samples) and delete the rest of it!
Delete the tags
Cleary you can tell that my tags have gone way overboard. As I go through notes, I’ll definitely be cleaning out tags. I’ll start with all those silly tags that have only one note or even tags that have no notes attached at all. In fact, I’ll probably start here, clearing out all those unnecessary tags.
Tags are fantastic to combine things across notebooks, like receipts. I file receipts in a separate notebook, but by tagging them with information (like business or personal, or the year of the purchase) allows me to see all the notes in that category, even if I file them in different places. The only problem is that I went overboard with all the tags.
I can see myself still using tags for things like my book series and those old political clients. For instance, the firm I worked for might have a one notebook, with all my notes for the six months in there. Then each client I worked with would get a tag. It’s a little blend of both.
So, why should you clean out your Evernote account?
There are a few reasons you ought to clean out your Evernote account.
Number one being that cleaning out your digital files is important, too. Especially in the 21st century when we’re all about going paperless, we can accumulate a lot of digital junk. My 6000 notes are a great example of just that.
When you have the many notes, most of those are going to be irrelevant. You want your Evernote account to be lean and mean for it to be really useful. Evernote should be for the important things, not all the things.
If you’re like me and going through the process of cleaning out your Evernote, remind yourself that it’s okay that this will take time. I might spend all of 2018 cleaning out my Evernote account, but if that’s what it takes to set me up for success in the future – I’m game for it.
Over the years, I’ve learned the hard way that Evernote only work when you add things that are actually relevant. Those notes from high school and college can probably get trashed.