Quick tip: Where is it?


Now that I’m the wrong side of 50, I’m finding it’s real easy to forget where I’ve put things for safe keeping. I’m reasonably organized and so long as I put things back where I expect them to be, everything is fine. Problem is when I haven’t needed something for 6 months or more, you try the places where you think it might be, and if you draw a blank, then you’re stuck. I hate that. In fact, there are few things worse than wasting time hunting around for lost items, searching the same places over and over again till eventually you track it down, if you’re lucky.

For quite a few years now I’ve been using a personal information manager called InfoMagic to keep note of things I need to remember – contact details, lists, when the car needs its next service, shop opening hours, when I planted out vegetables in the garden, how long it takes to drive to various places, etc. It’s a free form organizer and the data are stored in RTF files so there’s no problem getting the data out again if necessary. The program hasn’t been updated in years, but it doesn’t need to be – one of its key features is its simplicity.

In one of its folders I have a document which I’ve just called Where. In it I put information on where I’ve stored important things I don’t need all that often – the things I know I probably won’t remember where they are in a few months time. I just enter the name of the item and where it’s located. I’ve divided my document into subsections: electronic stuff, books and magazines, household, etc. but this is not absolutely necessary as the data are searchable. If you store stuff in boxes in the basement or loft, you could label them Box 1, Box 2, etc. and detail the contents of each box in this Where document. That way you won’t have to dig through the boxes in your search.

Of course you don’t have to use InfoMagic. There are numerous free searchable notebook applications out there, like for example Evernote and Springpad, both of which are searchable.

The one downside of course is that you have to be pretty conscientious about updating the Where document, particularly when you change your mind where you want to store something. Not much point in having it if it points you in the wrong direction.

So how do you keep track of important things? Drop a comment below.

3 Responses

  1. diligent geek Says:

    Has the rise of desktop search options (Windows Search, Google Desktop Search, Apple’s Spotlight) made your quest to finds things any more productive? I’m all about the way these tools can search and index the *contents* of documents. If I can remember one word that is unique to the file I want, then I can find it!

    Now if only those tools could index the contents of those boxes in my attic…

  2. techandlife Says:

    On my Windows XP PC, I’ve used Copernic Desktop Search for years. Very useful for searching documents as you say for that one word you remember.
    I was really just tackling keeping track of stuff not on the PC in this post. I must do a post about searching on the PC at some point although the search facilities in Vista and Windows 7 are a great step forward.

  3. diligent geek Says:

    Yeah, I’d totally agree. Windows 7 Search has completely changed the way I find files on my computer. Folder hierarchies are becoming less and less important.

    Matt Hauger

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