How I Archive Stuff I Don’t Want to Throw Away

I want to find my book, Little Red Book of Selling. I don’t keep all my archived books in the same place for practical reasons. Boxes full of books are heavy and difficult to store. Thus, the first thing I do to find the archived item is I search Evernote.

Searching Evernote for ‘little red book’

Because I archived and inventoried this book some months ago, I am able to find the proper entry for this book easily.

Search results on Evernote

This archive entry tells me that the book is in Box 0D6C0. In Evernote, I also also keep photos of the box itself and the items inside. I have several photos of the items, but I’ll just show you one. This is my photo pulled from Evernote. Bear in mind, this is not a photo of the box today. This is an archived photo. But you can see that the book is in there, along with a varied assortment of items that make the box overall rather easy to lift.

An archived picture showing a detail of the contents of the box.

The list of items you see pictured is not complete. So long as the item name appears somewhere in the post, Evernote will find this entry in a search. So I don’t worry about keeping the list neatly organized at the top.

You can keep your archived boxes in whatever place works for me. I have an outside storage closet I use, and that’s where I look for my box. My archive boxes are right up front, and you can immediately see box 0D6C0. For added convenience, I have written the code on every side of the box.

The box is conveniently located it my horrifying outside closet.

Since all of my boxes are moderate or light in weight, it is easy to pull the box I need. Soon I have my hands on the correct box. I open it, and as you can see, I found my book. I simply knew where the box was located, but if I had not known that, I would also include that information on Evernote.

Having pulled the box, I open it and inside I find what I’m after, plus various other items that overall make it a relatively easy box to carry. I take out the book I’m after.

Voila. The Little Red Book of Selling.

I tape the box back up, stow it back in the closet of doom, and then I update my Evernote inventory online to indicate that currently the book is pulled. If I wanted to, I could indicate where it is now. But I trust that future me will know that pulled books are on my bookcase. When I’m done with this book, I’ll probably archive it again in the same box.

Here I’m updating Evernote

That’s all. I have not always been this organized. Most of the boxes is that storage closet of doom are not inventoried. But several are, and I have never regretted inventorying a box.

Also, note the value of using meaningless codes on a box instead of meaningful labels. One thing it means is I don’t feel any need to organize items by type. I don’t have to fill a whole box with books, making a 40-pound box. Also, I can change and update the contents as needed without needing to change the code. It’s a beautiful system.

I credit my time working at Amazon for inspiring me to use this kind of coding system in my own life. Amazon uses codes and inventories for everything. If you put a thing in a bin, you scan a barcode. If you put the bin on a shelf, you scan a barcode. Thanks, Amazon. Lesson learned.

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