Why I love Evernote

I really do adore this application.  I discovered Evernote 18 months ago when planning an overseas trip, and found it an incredible way to store travel documents, itineraries, photos, links to attractions, restaurants and more that we wanted to visit.  No matter where I was – in an airport lounge, on the road, in a hotel, I had access to every single tidbit of information I had ever considered regarding this trip.  That’s pretty awesome!


On my return I started very slowly to expand my selection of notebooks – one for recipes, one for links to articles I found interesting, One to store images and ideas for a website I was helping a friend to build, one for receipts and so on.

But it’s only recently, since I first started this journey into simplifying my life, that I’ve put my mind to setting up a comprehensive online filing system with the ultimate goal of going as close to 100% paper-free as I can.

I have scanned and saved everything I think I may need – medical records, school records, bills, receipts, warranties, kids’ artwork, important documents, resources to help the kids with their homework and so much more.  Even better, as a single parent I can share the school notebooks with my ex husband and he can access all of the same records when needed.

I can’t recommend Evernote highly enough!  I realise that many people have serious concerns about privacy, and I admit this has given me a small niggle of worry from time to time, but when it comes right down to it, if some international spy agency *really, really* wants to see a photocopy of my passport, review my favourite vegetarian recipes and see how much money I spent on my last laptop, they can do so without Evernote!


I’ve learned something about myself tonight.

I’ve been de-cluttering the kitchen.

Emptied the pantry 2 days ago, finally got around to finishing the job.  It’s been challenging, mainly because both my regular and recycling bins are now full to overflowing, but I can find ways around that.  (Hello, neighbours with shiny, empty bins).


The food part was ok, marrying up 35 different spice jars all containing the same ingredient took a while and involved a lot of coriander and cinnamon sprinkled on the floor, and discovering 4 bottles of fish sauce all 3 years out of date what somewhat disturbing knowing how recently I used them… but I digress.

What I discovered is not The Epiphany Of A Lifetime, but something so Captain Obvious and In Your Face I can’t believe I didn’t realise it before.  I HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF!  4 people reside in this house.  I am the only one who drinks hot beverages and I rarely have people over for coffee.  I do not need 14 coffee mugs.  I’d like to say that I didn’t realise I actually HAD 14 coffee mugs, because clearly I see them daily, and use them on a fair and equitable rotation basis (the one that’s clean), but I didn’t realise how utterly RIDICULOUS it is for me to have 14 coffee mugs.  5 of them are tiny Ikea ones I never use because they’re too small.  Why were they still in my cupboard?

I also quite literally fell over 11 plastic cups of varying sizes.  Cups of the drinking variety.  What am I planning to do?  Host a playgroup party at my house?  Unlikely, given that my youngest is 9 years old.  Why do I have this many?  I will tell you why.  Because the kids (and I) have a habit of taking them to our rooms, leaving them in hidden corners, assumed MIA, and I stupidly go out and buy more, thinking we don’t have enough drinking cups.

This entire concept has carried on in the same vein for most objects.  Coasters.  WE DO NOT USE COASTERS IN THIS HOUSE.  I have 36 of the buggers.  This one is a bit trickier, as most were gifts and I really, really like them.  I may make a mural.  At someone else’s house…

This might all sound utterly crazy, and in a way it is.  I knew I had this stuff.  I wash it, dry it, put it away (or not), drop it, curse its very existence Every Single Day.  And I don’t need even a fraction of it.  It’s not decorative stuff, it’s not even useful stuff, given the overabundance factor, it’s not sentimental (most of it) and it’s a pile of dust-collecting, cluttermongering, useless STUFF!

I’m done with stuff I don’t need.

Unless anyone has a spare bin.  I’ll take 2 of those if they’re going spare.

Keep Calm And Don’t Make The Customer Service Agent Cry


Keep Calm And Don't Cry To Customer Service

So part of this whole simplify thing was to try and cultivate a bit of inner peace.  I am, by nature a fairly volatile, expressive and loud person, so to remain calm and serene in the face of Frustrating Things is a major challenge for me.

I just had one of those moments and, well, I didn’t do too badly.  At least this time it was only me crying – I didn’t make the customer service agent cry as well, so that’s got to be a good thing.  And yes, I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I have wrung out my fair share of tears when dealing with bureaucratic stuff ups.

When you’re on a strict budget, having your health insurance company debit $400 from your account instead of $80 is a Big Deal.  Things get even more frustrating when you call the company to question it and they freely admit that they messed up.  But I still won’t get my money back for a week.  I had plans for that money.  Big plans.  Maybe not big or important to XYZ Health Insurance Company, but big and important to my family.

And yet, despite my anger and frustration (this is the second time they’ve done this, I’m a lot more forgiving for a first offence) I didn’t get nasty, I didn’t shout, I remained calm but firm and I was very clear that my anger was not directed at the particular customer service agent I was speaking with.  I did burst into tears of sheer frustration at their inability to rectify the situation more quickly.  But at least this time I was the only one crying….  🙂

Baby steps…

The Beginning


The Beginning

I love mind maps, so after reading a few blogs, exploring Pinterest and other sites for tips on simplifying my life I thought just throwing a few ideas down on paper would be a good starting place.

As it happens, it’s been better than expected, scribbling down words and ideas that sprang to mind has really focussed and inspired me.

My next step will be to separate out the various aspects of my life I want to work on and fine tune each one, zooming in on specific things I want to get rid of as well as things I want to improve.