Get Gifting Done with Evernote

While I’ve abandoned going all in with Evernote, there are certain things that I’m finding it does really, really well.
Like keeping shopping lists.

It does an especially great job in helping me keep tabs on shopping lists of the holiday variety. I have been able to keep track of all of the possible gift ideas for everyone that’s on my list — and do so on an ongoing basis.

Here’s how I’ve done it.

First off, I create a Notebook called “Gift Ideas”. That’s where all of my notes on gift ideas will go. I’ve even shared one Notebook called “Kids’ Gift Ideas” and another called “Family Gift Ideas” with my wife so that we can add stuff throughout the year together – and have access whenever we want. This is very handy – and while there are apps that would allow us to share lists like this (Listary comes to mind), my wife is getting comfortable with Evernote and moving her away from that isn’t ideal.1

The Beauty of OCR

One of the key components of my Evernote shopping list is the fact that it does OCR so well. I can take a picture anything with my Evernote camera and because it can read the text so well, I’m never a loss for what I’m looking for. This is great for when I don’t necessarily know what I’m looking for online (or offline), but I have managed to snap a photo of it.

This doesn’t just work for holiday shopping lists, either. For example, when I was at my local Costco I saw a wall bed that my family might want to look at down the line (especially if we wind up converting one of the rooms downstairs into some sort of office/spare room). All I did was grab my iPhone, open Evernote (using Launch Center Pro, of course) and took a picture of the wall bed itself and the sign that accompanied it. I know that Costco keeps item numbers of all of their products, so now I not only have an idea of what the wall bed looks like, but I also have the item number close at hand. This will come in handy if I ever want to find out when (or where) it might come back in stock.

Taking pictures of books, CDs, toys, or anything that might be on your gifting list (or even your own personal wish list) is easy with Evernote.

Offline…or Offline

I don’t use any of the Amazon wish list extensions when dealing with finding gift ideas. I use the Evernote Web Clipper instead. In fact, that’s what I use the Evernote Web Clipper for the most. I figure that I should just keep everything all in one place, and Evernote is that place for this kind of stuff.

Another option is to use the Evernote Smart Notebook for analog capture. For example, if I decide that I don’t want to whip out my iPhone at the time, the Evernote Smart Notebook works just fine. It’s not a necessity, but it’s nice to have it for these cases.

Maintaining the Lists

This part is actually quite easy. As I (or we, when my wife does it) buy some of the items on these lists – or the person is no longer interested in them – the corresponding note is promptly deleted. This means our gift idea lists are always up-to-date.

Another thing you can do is tag the ideas.

For example, if I know that there is a gift that I want to get for a birthday, I will tag it with the term “birthday”. If I know that the gift is for a certain someone, I will use their name. Anything to make finding these ideas within the list as friction-free as possible is always a good practice.

That’s pretty much it. I can tell you that by using Evernote in this manner I’m always not only able to look out for gifts all year round no matter where I am (or what platform I’m using), but I know I’m keeping track of them as well.

Simply put, Evernote helps me get gifting done.

1 That said, with Evernote’s recent UI changes we’re almost back to square one with it anyway.