Bringing order to my note-taking chaos

2 min readApr 4, 2024

My note-taking system was a chaotic mess. Determined to get organized, I cleaned it up.

Breaking Up with Apple Notes

Apple Notes offered initial convenience, but exporting notes was limited to PDFs. I wanted the flexibility of having my notes in accessible files, not a closed-off database.

Decluttering and Consolidation

The first step involved a purge of obsolete and unused notes in Apple Notes, slashing the count from a 260 to 69. These remaining notes were then imported into my Obsidian vault, where they were merged with my existing note files. This consolidation means all my notes now reside as individual files within Finder.

A Streamlined Filing System

For optimal organization, all my files organized in Finder in 3 main folders:

  • My File Cabinet: This folder is for all my critical documents.
  • My Obsidian Vault: This folder houses all my notes and highlighted excerpts.
  • Writing: This folder is a central repository for all my writing projects and archived material.

Effortless File Retrieval with HoudahSpot

By transitioning everything to individual files, I have HoudahSpot for effortless searching. HoudahSpot for Mac is a powerful and intuitive search tool that revolutionizes how you find files on your computer. No more aimlessly clicking through folders or relying on rudimentary search functions. HoudahSpot empowers you to locate files swiftly using a vast array of criteria, including file names, content, modification dates, and more. Its intuitive interface paired with advanced search capabilities makes it an invaluable tool for anyone seeking to streamline their file management on macOS.

Independence from Proprietary Apps

Most importantly, I’ve liberated myself from the constraints of proprietary database apps. My valuable data is no longer hostage to a single platform.

Originally published at on April 4, 2024.




I'm ldstephens, a tech blogger since 2015, sharing my insights on Apple and general tech news. Subscribe: