Large projects generate lots of information, and a kitchen renovation definitely falls in the category of a large project. When people ask, “What’s Evernote for?” the best answer is to show practical examples. Today, we’ll show you our kitchen renovation as an Evernote use case.

Our situation

The house we bought in 1997 was only three years old at the time. We’re approaching 25 more years to add to that total. Just how much longer will that refrigerator we bought back then last? The stove, dishwasher, and microwave, each replaced once, were no “spring chickens” either.

The Formica countertops were certainly functional, but it was time for something more attractive. The cabinets were well-constructed but dated. Like many households, we were seeing ourselves running out of storage. Getting to the backs of cabinets was tough. What lurked back there was anybody’s guess.

And so the search begins

What do we want the project to look like when it’s finished? With HGTV available 24/7, we’re never at a loss for ideas. But how do you trap the good ideas you see?

The obvious answer is, “the camera on your phone.” We live in an age where we use our cameras differently. No longer are they a tool to preserve today for posterity. They become tools to help us plan tomorrow. They serve as triggers for action. But how well that tactic works depends on where we put those pictures.

The next time you see one of those designers on TV work their magic and think, “I want that,” grab your camera and take a picture.

But where?

In Evernote. You see, we’re great when it comes to taking pictures and terrible when it comes to setting up triggers that cause us to see them at the right time. The photo of that cute dining room on the TV screen goes into your camera roll right next to the photos from last night’s wild party.


Start with a notebook. After all, back in the pencil & paper world, you would have started by grabbing a three-ring binder or at least a file folder and labeling it “Kitchen Renovation.” When you snapped the Polaroid photo of the cute dining room, you would tape it to a piece of paper and put it in the notebook. (If you’re wondering what a “Polaroid photo” is, ask someone with gray hair.)

In Evernote, create a notebook and label it “Kitchen Renovation.” Create a note and hit the little camera icon. Now, take that photo. Instead of it winding up with everything else in the camera roll, it’s inside the note saved inside the Kitchen Renovation notebook.

See more good ideas during that same show? Great. Add more pictures within that same note. While you’re at it, key in some text to remind yourself what it was you liked and maybe which show you were watching.

As you progress, the amount of information will grow, but it won’t ever outgrow your notebook.

Let’s go shopping

Have you ever shopped for tile for a backsplash? I had no idea how many different choices were available. It was like “Six Flags Over Tile.” All around us were people taking pictures. I just smiled, knowing all those pictures were going into disorganized camera rolls.

And yes, I was also taking pictures. Unlike those other folks, my pictures were going into Evernote. Every picture taken in that store went into the same note.

While you’re in the appliance store, you start to have these little thoughts such as, “Gee, I wonder just how big the opening for our refrigerator is.” Before you go shopping, pull out a measuring tape and get busy. Create a note in your “Kitchen Renovation” notebook and put the information there. When you get to the appliance store, your answers will be in Evernote on your phone instead of a sticky note at home on the refrigerator door.

Oh, and who was that helpful salesperson? If you wanted to make a follow-up phone call, could you? If you jotted down the name and contact number in Evernote, of course you could.

Oh, the paperwork

The contracts, the emails back-and-forth, the ever-changing schedules. How do you keep track of it all? A paid Evernote account allows you to just forward those emails straight into Evernote where you can store them in the notebook for that project.

What about the printouts that describe the things you bought? Let the Evernote mobile app serve as your scanner. With the camera set to “auto,” Evernote looks for the edges of the paper and snaps a crystal-clear image without you even touching a button.

And the “to-dos”

In addition to the information to keep, we have decisions to make, actions to take, and deliverables to track throughout the life of the project.

Evernote allows you to create a to-do list within any note.

If you already use a digital task manager, such as Remember The Milk, Todoist, or Asana, you can use TaskClone to copy those to-dos and add them to your digital task manager. If you haven’t heard of TaskClone, this short video shows you what it does.

The “Table of Contents” note

You’ve created your notes in the Evernote notebook for your projects. But what about the order in which those notes display? Evernote has several options: note title, the date the note was created, or the date the note was last edited. Personally, I like for the list to be by “last updated,” because I find the note I need to work with next is many times the note I worked with last.

But what if I want the way the notes are listed to “tell a story?” Enter the “Table of Contents.”

To create a table of contents note:

  • Hold the Ctrl key (Windows) or Cmd (Mac) and begin clicking the notes you wish to include in the table of contents. In the diagram above, I selected a few. Later, you will see the results after I had selected every note in the Kitchen Renovation notebook.
  • A ribbon appears that tells how many notes are selected and gives options as to what to do with the selected notes.
  • Click the three dots to see even more options.
  • Click “Copy Internal Links” and watch another menu slide out.
  • Select either “Copy app links” or Copy web links.”
  • Create a new note.
  • Inside this new note, paste.

The result will be a clickable link for each and every note you selected. Copy and paste them in any order. Add text, such as names of different sections within that table of contents.

And here is the result “Table of Contents” note…

Notice how I was able to add some headings and group similar items together. I can click on any title and it opens the appropriate note. I had taken some photos of the project as it progressed in that “dreaded camera roll.” Since I can drag any jpg file into a note, I selected some “before,” “during,” and “after photos.”

What’s your “big project”?

Now it’s your turn. Are you planning a big project? Need a place to house all the information associated with it? Evernote is the perfect place. You can get started today.

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