Thursday, April 23, 2009

Restoring Order: Input Requested

I received an e-mail with the following question:

While we are on the subject of decluttering, I need some input about a problem I have. I subscribe to a variety of online newsletters and in order to remember and/or use the ideas I print them. I have a huge backlog of paperwork some of which I am trying to put in notebooks but it takes so much time to sort, punch holes, place in the 3 ring binders, etc. Someone suggested to bookmark them but then I either cannot find what I want or forget about them all together. Do you have a suggestion as to how I can keep all this important info?

Most of my ideas are bookmarked on-line and I just look through them every once in a while. But, I confess that most often I try the idea right away and it doesn't need to be filed very long before I give it a go. I do have one small craft idea file, but when it gets full, I sort through it and make it fit again.

How about you? What ideas can you pass on?

23 comments:

Jennifer said...

I've found that my bookmarks get pretty lengthy when I bookmark ideas. Instead, I've set up folders on my desktop (craft ideas, recipes, money-saving tips, etc.). If you find a website that you like, you can click File > Send > Shortcut to Desktop. (I'm using Internet Explorer 7.0. Others may be different but should have a way to do this.) Then I can file that shortcut into the appropriate folder. It keeps my bookmarks list shorter, and it keeps my ideas organized.

angela said...

When I find a recipe or an idea online that I like, I copy it (or I just copy the address link) and email it to myself. In my email, I have inbox folders set up labeled craft ideas, recipes to try, etc. I just move the email to the appropriate folder and then I know just where to look. I even have one labeled "keeper recipes". Once I try a recipe, and like it, I'll just move it over there until I know I have it written up and put in my recipe book. After that it is gone.

...they call me mommy... said...

I just put all ideas (sewing, crafts, recipes, etc) that I want to try in a folder. I have so many book marks on my computer too, but found that I rarely go back and check them out. If I have a hard copy printed in my folder, when I am looking for a new idea or recipe I just peek in there! Sorry, not really much wisdom here! I can't wait to hear what others do with this!

Hannah said...

I'm a kinda unorganized organizer (meaning no one exept me can find anything in my room) so I dump things into shoe boxes or other small boxes. Like, pens and pencils are in one shoe box, cloth and yarn is in a different box (or bag), etc.....Mom is always getting onto me for changing this system, but it works really well.

Anna said...

I am a very unorganized, scattered person by nature. I have been trying to learn more organization as I go through life. Sometimes, I find that if things are too disorganized I never get anything done!
Here are a few things that might help.
Since more paper leads to more clutter, I would suggest finding a way to organize things on line.

1. You should be able to tag your bookmarks. Then you can look for things with a specific tag.

2. You can e-mail it to yourself. (As suggested above.)

3. You can save it somewhere else on your computer. You might try something as simple as copying and pasting in a word file.

If you prefer to print things out, I would recommend hanging files. I have several inexpensive crates that I use for hanging files. Then within each of the hanging files, I have folders for more specific areas. For example, you could have a Christmas hanging file. Inside the folders could be crafts, recipes, games, gifts, etc.

You may also want to consider weeding through your ideas periodically. It may be a great idea, but if you have had it for over a year, you probably won't use it. Also, as you look through the ideas that you have, you may remember some that you had forgotten about.

Bridgett said...

Works 4 Me:
Try page protectors & dividers for your notebook- then you just put the printed page or magazine page in protector and file in divider (labeled like crafts, recipes, or whatever subjects your most interested in and one for misc.). Don't forget to recycle your magazines once you pulled out all your pages. :)

angie said...

The Internet is a blessing and burden of information, as we know. There is so much good stuff that we want to try. But we can easily get bogged down in the management of all of that information.
I'd suggest that whatever system your reader uses, she designates a certain maximum capacity and an expiration date. For example, whether she is using a real or virtual folder, she may establish a limit of 50 articles. If she is over that limit, it is time to weed out. Or she could date the articles as she prints/bookmarks them. After 6 months, for example, she could review the folder and weed out anything she has not referred to in that time.

Carolyn said...

These are such good suggestions! I felt like I was the one who asked the question because I've been struggling with the exact same thing. I do bookmark things, but (like someone said) I find that I rarely go back to look for them...I do much better if I have a hard copy. Plus, then I can include stuff from magazines. I think the system that will work best for me is to use binders with page protectors and dividers. I just need to work out a way to get them IN there that is convenient.

I do use allrecipes.com a lot for recipes as well as a bookmark file online, and that is nice because we have made recipes at other people's houses and we don't have to remember to bring the recipes. I need to weed out recipes I have at home and only save the good ones...maybe I will get around to "scrapbooking" my good recipes, we'll see. :)

Thanks to everyone for the ideas, and may I just say how much I LOVE your blog! I love your heart for your family and for the Lord. You so often echo the things I'm thinking and feeling.

Bethany said...

I have just started using evernote.com . You can "clip" what you want from any webpage and save it in specific folders. My favorite part is you can add tags on the page you clip. So, as an example, if I see a great gift idea or craft idea I would like to try for a certain friend, I will put her name in as one of the tags. Then, when her birthday or Christmas comes, I can simply type in her name and pull up all the ideas I found for her. The basic program is free to use.

Our Lives said...

I copy and paste project ideas/recipes that I like in a folder. When I am ready to try the project or recipe, I'd print it out. If we all like the dish, the recipe will earn its special place in my Home Management Binder.
After I finish using a project idea, I usually delete it except if it is a template for the project. I label all of my files/folders accordingly so it is easy to locate the subjects I want/need. With the on-line book marking, there's no way around it but to delete some every so often. Here's when I have to exercise my judgment of keep/toss. :) I try to do them every few day at a time. Hope that helps!

Becky said...

I have 2 filing boxes. One for kid-related ideas (crafts, snacks, holiday activities, etc.). The other one has files for each room of the house and other random files (recipes, cleaning, money-saving, etc.) Whenever I find an idea I like, I put it in the file. I keep the files by my computer so I file things right away. That way I'm not tempted to just make a pile. Once my file box is too tight/full, then I go through and empty things.

Angel said...

I copy and paste just the bit of info I will use(a sentence or paragraph) into a blank word document and save it there.
AFter a couple months I re-red the document, anything I have remembered I delete if it is info I will need later I leave it there. I never let the document get longer than3 pages.

Mrs. K said...

I don't have any great suggestions but one thing I started was a new folder in the My Pictures folder on my computer called Rooms and Other Things I Love. Now when I see a picture on someone's blog I copy it into my folder and label with where I found it and what I love about it. That way if I decide to blog about it I'll give credit where it's due and if I decide to do it at home I will know to not copy exactly if the creator has specifically asked me not to.


I think purging is the most important aspect though. If you're going to try it right away, you're fine but I find myself with way too many ideas and entirely too much time so I say "That's cute but it ain't happening!" and into the trash it goes.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I've had two computer crashes where I lost all my bookmarks!

I used to do a lot of writing and Bible teaching so I set up a file system for all my magazine clippings, articles, etc. (This was before the Net.)

As a former Administrative Assistant, I knew a good filing system only works if you can find what you are looking for immediately.

So, I made my file folders very specific (ie: homeschool Language Arts, Homeschool Nature Studies, etc). Each file folder was then put into a hanging file that was more general (ie: Homeschool or Homeschool Science, according to how many articles were collected).

I also had files for recipes which came down to file folders for "Hold to file later", "Tea Time recipes", "Recipe articles", "Recipe Clippings", "Frugal Meals", etc. The file folders were then placed in a more general hanging file folder.

Today I use a small, plastic hanging file folder with pretty file folders. Most of the file folders are things like "household projects", "garden projects", "recipes to try soon -- which gets a lot of computer printouts", "natural cleaning recipes", "weekly menus", etc.

I still have my old files in our big file cabinet where I "park" all kinds of recipes, printouts, etc. in the former files. I went through all of them last year and threw away what I no longer wanted or needed to keep.

My husband uses three ring binders and likes that far better. I do have two three ring binders where I keep recipes from magazines (and their pretty pictures) that I know I'll use again... all in plastic protector pages.

Ami said...

I try to bookmark only the best things. I think I just get overwhelmed by all the information, and especially by printed out papers. I don't want to spend time fooling with them. Mostly I try to read it, remember it, and mentally file it away. I may never follow the idea through, but it generally gets my ideas going. Hopefully it will pop up when I need it, at which point I may think it's my original idea...but I know that I'm really quite the happy copycat!

JennyD said...

For me personally, copying the information onto a Word document is the best. If I keep the links, sometimes they expire or become inaccessible over time. So I just create them into documents and organize them into folders on my computer. I mostly do this with recipes, but I'd do something similar with crafts, too.

Michelle said...

Some great ideas here already! I print out ideas too (as well as clip them from magazines and catalogs), and have an expanding file folder with labelled sections that I pop the ideas into.

Then, when I have an hour or an evening free, I tackle one section of my file folder and put the ideas that I want to keep into page protectors in binders. That way I don't have any papers floating around, plus with the delay in putting the ideas into binders, I have a second chance to get rid of anything I don't really love.

Wendi said...

I use a three ring binder. I take the ideas and slide them inside of page protectors. I then have different sections for holidays, seasons and such. I have a pockets in the front of the binder where I can store ideas until I am ready to sort and put them in the proper spot.

Clever Karen said...

I have been using Evernote (http://evernote.com/) to catalog all the recipes and craft projects that I find online. I can organize things into folders and edit and add notes. I tag all recipes with the ingredients so it is easy to search. And easy to do a quick flip through topics if you just want to browse through the images. A free download!

Tami said...

I am going to repeat...but, evernote is the best. I have been using it for a month and love it. I had so many posts starred in Google Reader and couldn't keep track of it all. Now all of them are organized by category in evernote.

Wife of Rob said...

If you have Microsoft Office (I have 2007), then you may have the software for OneNote. OneNote is like an online "notebook" or a souped up "journal", if you will. You can cut and paste all of those goodies on pages and tabs, sort of like you would cut and paste things into your three ring binders, except without all of the hole punching and what not. The great thing about OneNote is that you can password protect the pages (or not). You can keep a diary, a shopping list, or just about anything that you want. It even has pretty templates that you can decorate your pages with.

Anyhow...If you are a heavy computer user...I HIGHLY recommend this product!

Zebu said...

Thanks for all of the comments--it's always nice to get new input.

Amy said...

Evernote would be a perfect fit for this. There is a web, desktop and mobile version and it is free. When you are on a website with content that you like then just highlight the text & photos and then copy it into a note in Evernote. You can organize your notes however you want or just simply "dump" all of them together and search by keyword when you are looking for something. **The desktop version is my favorite because all your content is available offline but be sure to sync it with the web version so you have a back-up when your computer crashes :)