Jack Baty

Director of Unspecified Services

Whatever happened to my junk drawer?

<p>I used to use Evernote as a junk drawer. Now what should I use?</p>

In a post from 2013, Digital Recordkeeping, I summed up my tools like this:

Tinderbox is my notebook. Evernote is my junk drawer. DEVONthink is my filing cabinet.

I was onto something back then. It has occurred to me is that I no longer have a dedicated tool to use as a Junk Drawer. Why is that?

I guess what happened is that DEVONthink became both my file cabinet and junk drawer. I'm now thinking this was a mistake. DEVONthink is for carefully filing things I know I want to keep. It's for organized, longer-term storage. Things like tax documents, journal scans, etc. It shouldn't be used as my save-as-pdf-for-(maybe)-reading-later system. That way leads to chaos, which is what I have now.

What does a junk drawer app need? I'd say fast, easy capture along with good search are the most important. It should be lightweight and allow for different ways of getting stuff into it, based on context.

Some might say that a simple set of folders in the filesystem should work. They're right, it could, but that's still too much friction. I want to grab web pages and images and snippets of text from everywhere and just pour them into something. I'm probably not going to organize anything, so a way to see what's new and a search would be great.

At some point I standardized on DEVONthink rather than the simpler EagleFiler for my archives. EagleFiler is great, though, and I'm thinking it would make a terrific junk drawer. I can capture things using its built-in F1 universal capture shortcut. There's also a dedicated inbox folder that gets sucked into it automatically. And EagleFiler is really just a wrapper around a set of folders, so it's easy to back out.

I miss having a dedicated junk drawer. I think EagleFiler is worth a try.