Secure all the things in Secure Notes

The more I use 1Password, the more uses I think of for it. Of course, all my usernames and passwords are stored in the app, and I can’t tell you how much I love signing in to an iOS app that has enabled the 1Password app extension. It’s downright magical. If that’s all 1Password ever did for me, I’d be more than satisfied. But as 1Password has grown and developed, it’s given me so many wonderful options for keeping all kinds of data secure and sorted. For a girl who loves organization, it’s a dream come true!

One of my favourite improvements to 1Password is the Secure Notes category. With custom fields (and custom icons!), I’ve got my very own customizable database for any type of information I want to keep secure yet easily available. I want to share with you just how awesome this category can be, so here are a few of my favourite uses for Secure Notes.

Family medical history

Secure Notes: Medical info

Do you remember your complete medical history? How about your partner’s, your child’s, or your pet’s? I store information about each family member’s allergies, prescriptions, previous surgeries and other important details in a Secure Note shared in my family vault. Custom fields help me keep all the details nicely sorted, and the custom icons make these entries easy to recognize! I hope it’s never necessary, but it’s great to know that it’s available there, just in case.

Taxes

Secure Notes: Taxes

Thankfully, we only have to deal with taxes once a year. But that infrequency can lead to a lot of forgetfulness. There are all sorts of identifying numbers associated with filing taxes, even more if I want to file online. In years past, I have had to dig through my not-so-awesome paper filing system to locate all those details. Now I’m building a Secure Note with all my tax information, including a list of charitable donations and other relevant deductions I know I’ll want to remember. I can even attach PDFs of previous tax returns and necessary forms for reference. I’m dreading tax season less already!

Insurance Policies

While we’re talking about fun stuff, do you know your insurance policy details? Whether it’s for your home, car or health, this is the sort of information that you don’t really need—until it’s really, really necessary. In my mind, this is exactly what the Secure Notes category in 1Password was designed for. Knowing that this data is secure and available when I need it gives me a whole lot of peace of mind.

Hardware database

Secure Notes: Hardware

It’s the age of technology, and we all have a wonderful collection of gadgets and gizmos to help us do our jobs and entertain us throughout the day. And each of those gadgets comes with warranty information, user guides and an array of important details. If that information gets stored in my “filing cabinet” (ok, it’s just a box with a bunch of loose papers at this point) it may as well go in the recycling bin. Now 1Password is my go-to database for all my hardware information from cameras and iDevices to game consoles and home appliances. Very neat and tidy.

Where is that thing?

I work with some really smart people. A while back, Mitch shared an awesome idea for Secure Notes. In his blog post, he talks about training 1Password to remember where you’ve stored physical things that are hardest to find when you need them, like a passport or winter gloves. I’m still geeking out over it!

I’m amazed by how powerful custom fields have made the Secure Notes category. I use them so much that I could probably talk to you about them all day. But I’d rather hear from you. Have you used this feature to simplify your life? Please share your story in the comments.

Staying on top of deadlines and expiry dates

1Password is at its best when it’s helping us forget — not just our passwords and credit card numbers, but also where we put that thing. 1Password remembers, so we don’t have to. It’s easy to get hooked on this line of thinking. You start to ask yourself: what else can I afford to forget about?

How about deadlines? I’m not talking about calendar appointments. Think instead of the warranty on your laptop — the one that always runs out days before you need to use it. Think of the gift card you need to spend before Father’s Day. The domain name you keep forgetting to renew. The annual subscription you plan to cancel before you get charged again.

So much of our sensitive information comes with a best before date — and 1Password is great at keeping track of best before dates.

expires soon

You’re probably used to filling in the expiry date field for your credit card, but you might know that it’s also built into lots of other 1Password items — Passports, Memberships, Driver’s Licenses, etc. You can also add it to your own items using custom fields.

Once you assign expiry dates to all your time-sensitive items, you’re one smart folder away from seeing anything that needs your immediate attention.

expiry smart folder

The key to making this work is the second field (“Any Value” -> “contains”), which I’ve set to the current year. You could also fill in “2015-05” to see only the items that expire in May, but tweaking this value every month might be too fiddly for your tastes. I find a year’s worth of expiry dates is manageable so long as I review the folder every once in a while.

1Password won’t ever replace my calendar, but there are some due dates it handles with style — especially when it comes to information I can’t risk keeping anywhere else.

How do you use 1Password to make your life a little more manageable? We’d love to find out. Share your creative ideas in the comments!

Simple and secure gifting with 1Password

I’ve moved a lot during my ‘adult’ life, and as such, I’ve got friends and family across the country, and around the world. Since I don’t see most of them nearly as much as I would like to, I like to send out random gifts every now and then to remind them that I think they’re awesome and to give them a bit of a smile. It can be a silly little craft I’ve made or a card with a note. Often, it’s something that I see online that I know they’d just love.shirt design by DoOomcat on woot.com

One frequent benefactor of my online shopping addiction is my soon-to-be-seven year old niece, Maddie. When a friend showed me a new nerdy t-shirt design on one of our favourite shirt-a-day sites the other day, I knew it would be perfect for Maddie.

When I went to fill in Maddie’s address in the shipping details, it occurred to me that I type this address a lot … and I really don’t want to.  So, I switched over to 1Password and filled her address into a fresh new Identity item instead. When I switched back to the shipping form, I could fill her address with a few clicks. Now it will be easier than ever to send stuff her way, and I’m quickly filling up my Identities category with the addresses of other family and friends.

Maddies Identity

Bonus tip:  to make this category even more useful, use the notes field of the Identity to store gift ideas – you’ll know where they are when you need them, and they’ll be safe from curious prying eyes!

“1Password, find my stuff!”  (How to not lose anything ever again)

Paper: it’s the bane of our digital existence.

Most of it you can scan and keep in 1Password. But some of it you just can’t digitize away. Think of those handwritten postcards from your best friend. Your glossy, autographed Star Trek prints. Your passport. Your college diploma. Your tax returns (‘tis the season).

All that stuff has to be kept somewhere safe, somewhere not-on-a-computer. And for people like me, that’s a virtual guarantee it will end up lost.

If you’re nodding your head empathetically right now, I encourage you to read on. Because I’d like to let you in on a secret:

With a bit of encouragement, 1Password can actually give you the answer to an all-too-familiar question: Where did I put that thing?

findmystuff

How I trained 1Password to find my stuff

The first time I misplaced my passport on the morning of an international flight, I cursed my bad luck. The second time, I resolved to teach 1Password how to keep track of my most important possessions. That way, I wouldn’t have to.

I created entries for anything and everything I was afraid to lose: the lease for my apartment, my health card, even my winter gloves.1 In each entry, I added a section—“Where is it?”—and a custom field labelled “location”. I filled in each “location” field with the object’s last known hiding place.

autographed

Once I had catalogued enough stuff, all I had to do was create a new smart folder and configure it to match any items with a “location” field.

smartfolder

Now I could look up my physical possessions just as easily as my digital ones. And because “Find my stuff” was a smart folder, it would stay up-to-date as I added new items. (Picture a hyper-intelligent take out drawer—it always has the dim sum menu you’re looking for.)

I still can’t remember what I did with last year’s tax return. But whenever I do need to look up something that I’ve filed away in meatspace, the answer is now just a click away. “Hey 1Password! Where’s my stuff?”

How do you use 1Password to make your life a little more manageable? We’d love to find out. Share your creative ideas in the comments!


  1. Don’t knock it! On that first cold morning in October you’ll be glad you told 1Password where your gloves were back in April.