Dropbox, Evernote, and a Local Folder. My Setup.

January 21, 2013


In my previous blog post I provided an overview of Evernote and Dropbox, both of which are extremely useful cloud services. I thought the post may help people who are having difficulty differentiating between the two services as well as show you why using both is actually a pretty good idea. While I touched on some general ideas previously, I thought I’d give you a brief insight into the setup I’ve been using for the past year or so. As I said previously there is no “right” or “wrong” here – it’s what works best for you. My current setup may inspire  you to try something similar, or you may you think that I’ve done it all wrong. In either case, it will push you go move one way or the other, right?

So here’s how it works, at least for me…and this will work for Windows & Mac. I have three folders where I store pretty much everything on my computer:


It is here that I save all of my larger documents. Dropbox is great for files such as PDF, Word, Excel, Music, Video, Photos…even your 1Password backup file. Some examples of “larger files” would be files like my resume, my wedding video, the e-books I’ve purchased online, documentation about my house (home inspection), files/notes from school, and my ENTIRE iPhoto Library. I should mention that I subscribe to the Dropbox Pro plan, but that’s only because I choose to keep my entire photo library (about 50GB) in the cloud. If I omitted my photo library from this plan I could easily get by with a free Dropbox account. If you do decide to go “Pro” and store you photos in the cloud, this article may help. Just don’t forget to check the size of your photo library. You don’t want to be uploading a 40GB photo library when you’re rocking a 30GB monthly plan with your Internet Service Provider. This method does take some time to setup, but knowing your photos are safe in the event of a fire or total system failure – well, that’s kind of reassuring.


This is where I store what I like to call the “scraps” of my life. Blog post ideas, instruction manuals (some of which are PDF files – that’s okay), receipts from things like home improvement projects or car repairs, web page/magazine clippings that I want to view later, business cards from various people, vacation planning, recipes…I could go on forever. The point is, these are things that would be an absolute nightmare to find if I saved them all in just a regular old folder on my computer. Just imagine, a folder full of Home Depot receipts! With Evernote I can quickly scan through things like receipts or business cards. They even provide a search feature that searches the text within your notes – even handwriting!


This is a folder that I’ve created, and it resides on my Mac only. It’s backed up of course, but it exists only on my desktop computer and the external hard drive that is attached to it. This is where I store files that are of a more personal nature. Mortgage/real estate documents, and other documents related to banking, work, income tax, health records etc.

Depending on your trust in the “cloud”, you may want to do away with the “local documents” folder. It’s entirely up to you. Have there been moments where I wished I could view a document in my local folder from work or from out of town? Yes, but they’re few and far between. It’s not that Evernote and Dropbox aren’t trustworthy, and it’s not as though their security is sub-par. It’s just that I prefer to keep more private documents off the cloud. That’s just me.

So hopefully that gives you an idea of how to better incorporate these two powerful cloud services into your life. You can see that in addition to saving you a lot of time (by making data accessible anywhere), they also provide an extra layer of redundancy that could very well save your butt the day your computer decides to lay down and die.

…And don’t kid yourself. That day is coming – you may as well prepare for it.


4 Responses to “Dropbox, Evernote, and a Local Folder. My Setup.”

  1. Tom M Says:

    Does that mean that you do not use Flickr at all? I have most of my photos stored on Flickr but have considered ending that cost and moving photos, as you have, to Dropbox.



    • Tech Barber Says:

      I’ve pretty much stopped using flickr for my pictures, and I never really saw it as a viable option for backup. I always thought you had to jump through too many hoops to download all of your pictures in a batch (which requires third party software).

      Maybe that’s changed, but with a service like Dropbox there’s no process for re-downloading all of your images. You just plug in and off it goes.


  2. Jason Says:

    I have been using Evernote heavily for quite some time and have been tinkering around the API for well over a year. I can say without a doubt that I trust the level of security they have in place for our personal documents, which is why I’ve done away with the local folder. My passports, visas, immigration documents, and other fun stuff have all been scanned and thrown into an Evernote folder should the unthinkable happen and my house burns down or I get everything stolen while traveling. It’s not a pretty thought, but I’d much rather be safe than sorry.

    That said, I am *very* careful about what services I connect my Evernote account to as a result of this. I would never in a million years want any other service to interact with my account … unless I wrote the code for it or had some level of guarantee that nothing bad would happen if I connected another service to it.p

    Perhaps I should have two Evernote accounts set up. One for super private stuff like visas, passports, medical receipts, and CT Scans (all of which are in my current notebooks), and one where I store everything else.

    Have you considered the two-account approach?


    • Tech Barber Says:

      I’ve never considered the two account approach because there’s just something about “cloud” storage I don’t quite trust. I agree with you that Evernote is very secure, but the fact is your data is stored in a well connected place with a lot of other people’s data. The chances of something happening are slim, but there’s always a chance – and that’s too much risk for me.

      Of course, there’s a chance someone could break into my house and steal my computer too! It’s really a personal decision.


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