How to Teach Your Smartphone to Clean Your Countertops :: Tech Thursday

Paperless Home Organization Review :: Everyday Snapshots

Sometimes it happens. You come across a resource that makes a big difference in the little parts of your day, which in turn makes a big difference in your life. This is a story about that.

I wrote last year about cleaning off counter clutter and keeping it organized. And as much as I hate to admit it, there is no place on my organized kitchen counter for a pretty, printed home management binder.

The problem with the pretty binders

You’ve seen those, right? With the turn of the new year they are all over Pinterest right now, and man are they gorgeous. Flowers, fonts, checklists — be still my girlie heart.

And how I’ve tried to make it work. I have printed out more than my share of pretty calendars, birthday lists, and routines. I’ve had leather covers, printed covers, different colored covers for different seasons. Yeah, I had it bad.

But the biggest problem (other than the fact that this notebook basically became a glorified overflowing inbox within three weeks) was that whenever I needed something, there the darn thing sat on my counter and never in my hand.

A solution to get the planner off of the counter

Enter my precious.

Paperless Home Organization iPhone :: Everyday Snapshots

This was my birthday gift to me last year. With Matt out of the country I got to do my own shopping. And with that purchase I became a bit obsessed with doing this digital lifestyle up right.

So when the book Paperless Home Organization came across my radar, I knew I needed to give it a read. That turned out to be a bit harder than what I expected, because I kept getting sidetracked running off to try the tips and hacks in the book.

Almost a year later I am still not 100% sure I have read every word — distraction by great tips!! — but I also keep going back for more. This is a book so rich, you need to consume it in small bites.

In Paperless Home Organization, Mystie Winckler leads you through the process of using digital applications to build your very own paperless system. She walks you step-by-step through how to use four free apps to digitally store the same information you would normally keep in a home management binder.

Which means if you have a smartphone, or an iPod Touch, or any tablet, then your binder no longer sits cluttering up your counter, but in your hand — at the doctor’s office, the bookstore, even at your school room table. (Please tell me I am not the only one who forgot two subjects in school because the routine checklist was in the other room.)

And that means instantly cleaner counters

Which, to me, is the best thing about the entire process. But just in case you needed a few more things:

Remember the feel less busy tip to turn off your digital calendars I shared a couple of weeks ago? Totally got that from Paperless Home Organization.

Never forget a birthday gift again when you program your calendar to email you a reminder a week before the big day. And besides these two tips, there are five fantastic pages on how to set-up and use your digital calendar.Tech Thursday logo | Everyday Snapshots

Discover how great Evernote is for homeschooling. In fact, Evernote is great for just about anything, and if you aren’t sure what Evernote is, then Mystie will teach you how to:

  • set up a free an account
  • organize your notebooks for maximum useability
  • manage checklists
  • create a digital file cabinet (paper shredder here we come!)
  • keep booklists
  • build student portfolios
  • lots, lots more

I am making my way slowly to the finish line of this digital process. And I think that is one of the big perks of the book. I have been able to implement a part of the process, work with it, and then go back for more when the time is right for me.

And in between all the technical how-to, this book is peppered with practical advice like “Feel free to postpone tasks that just aren’t going to happen and don’t need to happen now. Make the decision up front and don’t let the task hang over your head, causing you guilt. ”

Less guilt, always available, cleaner counters. That’s my kind of home organization.

So how can you get your counters clean?

 photo pho_button_125x125_zps683d22a1.pngIf you think it might be your kind of home organization too, then don’t wait to get your copy of Paperless Home Organization. At $4.99 it is a steal for all the valuable information it contains.

And don’t forget to share this post with your closest friends — via Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or G+, because friends want friends to have clean counters too, right?

I did not receive compensation or free products for this review — I just really like the book. This post does include affiliate links. If you order something, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. And thank you for clicking through




  • Kristen says:

    I need help. This techy stuff leaves me scratching my head and I always seem to be on the tail-end of learning how to utilize things. I'd love to check out Mystie's book.
    My recent post Merry Christmas -2013-

  • Jessica says:

    Ok, if this woukd work for my tablet, I could so use a tutorial!

    • Mystie says:

      Hi Jessica! Yes! Paperless Home Organization is written to work with any internet-connected device – laptop, tablet, phone, Apple, Android, anything. I only have a wifi connection iPod touch and a laptop, no data plan, and it still works great, as I explain in the book.
      My recent post Simplified Whole30, Day 1

    • edsnapshots says:

      Yep, like Mystie said, all the apps are on Android.

  • Kim says:

    I am an Evernote flunky. I tried it but I never really figured out how it could work for me! I'm willing to give oit another shot though!

    • edsnapshots says:

      Kim I was too, until Mystie's book. And then I decided that I was going to start by using Evernote for just ONE thing. I did that and now I really can't live without it, so I am expanding it to other uses. I say start with PHO, then pick one good use for Evernote and learn to use it through the one thing. Things will take off from there.

  • Michelle says:

    Sounds like the perfect companion on my first outing with a smart phone.

    • edsnapshots says:

      Are you loving it yet? Yes, the book is very handy to get you started. You can also come by, and I would be happy to give you a personal tutorial. :p

      • Michelle says:

        You're lovely to offer, and I might someday take you up on it, but presently, I'm still just getting comfy with it as my new phone.

  • jubalsdaughter says:

    I may have to check this out… Any organization is good organization! I've used evernote for years, but it has never become an integral part of my day… I guess I am not doing it right. Maybe I just need better tips!

    • edsnapshots says:

      I was exactly the same way with Evernote. I had an account and had made a few notebooks, but I wasn't really using it to potential (and honestly am still not!) But now I am using it every single day — multiple times — with plans to add so much more to it as the year goes on.

  • Melanie says:

    I am really interested in this. As a homeschooling mom of 4 with a new baby I am totally off my game right now and my home is suffering because of it.

    • edsnapshots says:

      Well definitely give yourself some leeway with the new baby. 😀 I know the feeling, though, and it's one I don't like.

  • JenRay says:

    I've never used Evernote, though I hear great things about it. This time last year, I was trying to use Home Routines on a regular basis. And it worked to some extent. i think the problem is not so much with the systems I try, but with ME and my follow through! I've never attempted the home binder. What are the four apps?

    • edsnapshots says:

      Jen the apps are Google Calendar, Gmail, Remember the Milk, and Evernote. All have free versions, so they won't cost you a thing.

      I hear you on the follow through. I have found it really helps me to start with one part of the process and work on that one for a while before adding another. Like anything else, too much change at one time is just, well, too much.

  • Nicole Alvarez says:

    Okay….now that I have finally entered into the “digital age”. I would love to have my hand held and learn how to work the thing!

  • Rebecca says:

    I could so use something that I could carry around — I've just gotten a smartphone and sounds like a perfect match!

  • Joy says:

    I've been trying all sorts of digital tools to figure out the best way to organize myself. And I get so caught up in the learning how that getting to where I'm actually *doing* anything nearly never happens! This year, I'm working with Evernote and Cozi. Cozi helps me because I can update a calendar that the whole family sees on their devices and I can create easy shopping lists or to do lists that I can also share.

    Evernote? I want it to help me organize, keep track, and reach goals. I'll be checking out this book to see what else it can help me with!

  • Julie says:

    Entering to win!

  • @mamajen4 says:

    I'd like to go more paperless and use my smartphone for more. I use Out of Milk for a shopping and to-do list. Haven't explored all it can do yet.

  • Heather says:

    so happy to have found your blog via, Here in the Bonny Glen!

  • Amy Valis says:

    I could really use this – the papers are taking over! And our house isn't getting magically bigger like I hoped it would, LOL.

  • My favorite line “Friends want friends to have clean counters, too, right?” Brilliant!!

    And maybe I'll win the book 😉
    My recent post Night Terrors, Bedwetting, and a Racing Mind

  • Michele White says:

    Oh no! My comment disappeared! My favorite line “Friends want friends to have clean counters, too, right?” Brilliant!

    I need to learn to use Evernote more effectively. My husband uses it like crazy for everything and I LOVE the idea of being paperless.
    My recent post Night Terrors, Bedwetting, and a Racing Mind

  • Karen says:

    um, I have not a clue about tech stuff, so I guess I need help with everything!
    thanks for the chance
    My recent post From the Girls

  • emily says:

    I tried to get the kindle book, but Amazon tells me the code is invalid. Has it already expired?

    • edsnapshots says:

      Emily – I sent a message to Mystie just to be certain, but I am pretty sure the code on works on direct sales of the PDF from her website and not the Kindle book. I will let you know if she tells me differently, though. Sorry about that.

  • So many wonderful possibilities… husband bought me a smart phone for Christmas but we are still waiting on the SIM card to arrive via snail mail….so I can't even set it up yet. Lots to learn and enjoy. Sounds like a great book.
    My recent post Butterfly Dance

  • Jessica says:

    What a great find! Ice been surfing Pinterest the last few days, eyeing home binders, and knowing full well I'll be overwhelmed/tuned out in a week or two. I hope I win! I could use the help!!

  • Niksmom says:

    Holy cow, this sounds so awesome! My entire home is overflowing with piles of paper that are “vital” because of all the information I need to keep track of for my child who has multiple disabilities. I'm drowning!

  • Shawna says:

    I would love to have this book. I've tried the notebooks and it just doesn't work for me. This just might help though!!!!

  • Becky says:

    I was wrestling with the big notebook thing just this morning, certain there must be a better way. Thanks for posting about this book!

  • Pam says:

    Was glaring at my paper stacks and decided to enter. Since I had trouble figuring out how to comment up in the ?Rafflecopter?, I'm guessing I could sure use this book…o.0

  • karen says:

    I have already begun using my 2014 paper planner, but I would like to learn more about Evernote and such, especially as you mentioned it's usefulness in the home-school arena!

  • shannonjoe says:

    I'm going to enter the giveaway, but I think I'll just go ahead and buy this book RIGHT NOW!! I was j Iust thinking today (as I attempted to clean out and organize my house!) that I need to go more digital. I had already been working on getting my recipes into evernote (taking me forever), but it sure did come in handy yesterday in Walmart when I decided I wanted to try and cook the Ziti recipe I had seen the other day AND ALREADY PUT INTO EVERNOTE. Voila!! Just pulled it up on my phone.

    I'm so excited about this book! Anything to remove more clutter!


  • Kristiann says:

    I need a way to get rid of the paper clutter in our house. We are constantly frustrated by the piles of paper mess and wasting time trying to find things!

  • kortney says:

    very interested in paperless organization…but just beginning. what i'm using needs to be super simple. i love the idea of tracking homeschool work + organization in one system!
    My recent post sabbath rest

  • Amy says:

    I am simplifying the paper in my life right now! This book would be very useful.

  • Meredith says:

    Thanks for this tip and the book suggestion, I enjoyed her GTD for homemakers and this just goes right along with it 🙂 Happy New Year!!

  • Kethy says:

    Are these available for not android users? I’m trying to go as paperless as possible.

    • Pam Barnhill says:

      “Not android users”? I have an iPhone. So I am not an android user. But I do believe these are all web-based apps so that they can be used on and across any device. Does that answer your question?

  • Kethy says:

    Thank you for the fast answer. :))) For some reason I decided that they are only for android. probably I read this before I drink my coffee 🙂 Great day!

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