Ask Your Guru: How to Set Up Digital Files

Your Question:

You sound busy…good! Ok, since you have the tech background…I , too like IPhone. I have an insatiable drive to get REALLY organized so I have adopted Evernote as my can’t live without. Have been using it for about a year or so with good results. I have recently added as Scan Snap scanner and want to set up an EFFECTIVE DIGITAL file for all of the stuff currently living in my hard copy files. I’m having trouble setting up the digital files in a way that I can just GO TO quickly and find what I need. I can’t seem to set up an orgazinational tree…if the file is labeled Home Essentials…I don’t seem to be able to ad sub categories. How do I do that. I’m tired of searching through the hard copy stuff, I just need the basics. What do you do with things like warranties, etc.

Take a look at Evernote. You might find it will work hand in hand with Button Up. Also I use an integrated note called Awsome Note which works well with Evernote. But I just can’t figure out a workable Digital File System. Ideas?

I like the Buttoned Up site, have just discovered it and think it will help me consolidate some “stuff” . Have signed up for the Newsletter. Used the ICE tip for the IPhone and forwarded it to friends. As a former ER/Critical Care Nurse, I would have found this invaluable. Just look under Contacts for ICE and get the emergency info you need. Great Tip!

Dear Babs:

Thank you for your Guru question! We Love Evernote as well – check out our Tools & Giveaway page on our site ( you will see an entire section devoted to Evernote and its many uses!

I am not sure if you are asking us about Scan Snap, or setting up general digital files. So we’ll assume you mean setting up digital files.

So how do you begin? Draft a list of all possible files based on what you have on your hard drive. Look closely at them and group similar files together (on your list). Now what general categories pop out at you (work, family, house essentials, photos, bills, etc.)? Those are your main file folders, and the specific documents and files go under the general categories you choose.

Naming your files: In this case, it’s the key to the contents. Nobody is judging your file names so make it something you’ll know and understand. Try employing a system that you use across all platforms, so your Excel files and Word documents are all saved as “date created, file name.” It doesn’t matter what your system is as long as you do it consistently.

Clear out your files weekly and discard ones that you really don’t need. Then BACK UP! It doesn’t matter what tool you use to back up (thumb drive, CDs, etc.), but DO IT. If you get in the habit of weekly clearing out your files and backing up your hard drive, you are way ahead of the game – AND you will quickly realize if the system you set up still works for you. Just because you set it up one way, doesn’t mean you can’t tweak down the line.

Afraid you will forget where a file is located? You can do a search on your hard drive to find a file. If you follow the system for naming your files, they should be very easy to find.

We hope this helps you get your digital files set up! Let us know how it worked out!
-Anne Marie