A year of tidying up . . .

About a year in any case! Before the 2014-15 school year was over, I bought Marie Kondo’s book.


I really didn’t think there was much I could learn. I am an organizer by nature. I can whip anything into shape. Maybe I wanted confirmation, and we were near the end of our home renovations. I was ready for a deeper level of cleaning things out.

What I realized though is if you have more than one of a thing, you have to keep organizing them. You have to keep sorting them. You have to continuously remember where to put that obscure item you don’t remember why you pulled out.

So, we dug in. We kept things we liked. We gave away and discarded things we didn’t like or use. Easy right!? Well, even for a cold-hearted soul like me, there were times that it wasn’t all that easy. It was brutal to be brutal. And I thought I was. Yet, I’m still finding boxes and thinking, “that needs to go.” I put a banker’s box of electrical things out for Ron yesterday. I didn’t know what was reusable. He kept two items from the box and the rest was carted off. My biggest downfall is, “can I use that at school?” But even those items are having a shorter and shorter life span.

What we gained was space. Lot’s of space. Closets and cabinets have room to remove something without the interiors collapsing on themselves. We had enough room in closets to move other things into them. We kept furniture we used and got rid of the rest.

The one area I haven’t tackled yet with any gusto is pictures and videos. And even though I cut my wardrobe in half, I still have too many clothes. That’s my next goal – A capsule wardrobe.


My Evernote

I want to thank Lisa Jacobson-Brown @ Pearson for a review copy of this book.

First, Evernote is a nice little free app to help organize your life. It’s easy to use and it syncs on all your devices. There is an online component so you can access it from any computer with Internet access.

Evernote is not difficult to use if are at all computer savvy. But when given the opportunity to look at the book, I thought it would be loaded with the things I couldn’t figure out on my own. I’m not sure that’s true, but I did learn some things from the book that saved me some digging around time in the Evernote Forum. This is a very slick book btw. The pages are thick and glossy. It’s full of pictures and easy to use.

The book covers the very basics of downloading, making notes and editing them. I hadn’t intended to use Evernote for anything but keeping myself organized across devices, but it’s got potential to do more along the lines of word processing and publishing. You can add images, add bits of web material, make audio notes. Work is organized in notebooks and can be organized and reorganized. You can share notes with others. I did that a couple of Saturdays ago when I’d been taking notes for a meeting. I just emailed them to all the participants, and we all looked at the same digital page on what ever device was at hand.

A couple of things the book does very well: Really good tips about Evernote are noted in green boxes. Disappointing things about Evernote are noted in red boxes. On a personal note, I had an issue with spacing for a new font and size. The lines overlapped and not only was it illegible, it printed that way. Yuck. So I went to the book and couldn’t find an answer. Couldn’t find one on the forum either. Both may be that I didn’t look in the right place or use the right search terms.

IMHO, this is a pricey book for a free app with an excellent blog and forum. If you aren’t comfortable on the computer and want to try Evernote, this book will get you though the basics and into its advanced features step-by-step.


At the suggestion of Steven Anderson, I reloaded Evernote to give it yet another chance. I think Robert Jimenez’s blog was the first place I read about it. I could see its advantages, but didn’t use it much.

All this time, I’ve been looking for and fighting with ways to keep up with myself. So, I re-downloaded Evernote on the home laptop and the phone and started making some notes. So far it’s been really helpful. I can use the web version at school (I should say so far on this count. I remember how I felt the day I walked in to find that dropbox had gotten the county ax). I know I’ve not scratched the surface of what it can do.

Right now, I’ve got to do lists for everything I’m involved in. So, maybe about 3/15, I can start reading all the articles and watch all the videos to find out what it can really do!

One coach mentioned in the comments keeping a file on conversations with all teachers. This could also be done for all students, parents, colleagues.

btw, Steven Anderson has another post today on Evernote.

Organizing personal libraries

Many of my blogging friends have extensive libraries. Organizing them can be a nightmare. Mine is a mess since I’ve gone back to school. In this cataloging course, I had to look at Integrated Library Systems and found some that are open-source so they have potential for large personal libraries. The one I researched extensively, Evergreen, is for public libraries that are consortium members, so that is not really an option. However, the second one on my list, Koha, was developed for the smaller library in mind and I’m thinking I might give it a try at home. You can see what the interface looks like by choosing a library from their showcase.

Delicious Library 2. This is really interesting looking and has a lot of visual appeal, but it’s apparently only for Macs. Try it for free. $40 if you like it. Media Man is a windows alternative. Also $40.

Collectorz.com Book Collector. Looks very much like Delicious, but has a $30-50 price tag for the standard/pro versions. There is a free trial and you can publish your book collection online.

BiblioteQ. I like the screen shots on this one. Some of these just don’t show many, but this one gives several behind-the-scenes views. This one also mentions Z39.50 protocol which I’ve not seen too many places. Also open source.

Books organized by color. The idea of this absolutely drives me nuts, but it sure is nice to look at.

Tim Challies describes his personal library. I imagine it’s much like many of the bloggers I know.

How often do you keep . . .

journal articles that you’ve used in your research? How do you choose which ones to keep? And how do you organize them if you do keep any of them?

My first inclination is to just keep them all, but they are starting to take up quite a bit of room. I’m thinking I need to weed. The easiest weeding is to toss them all. It will take time to go through them.