Low-tech password creation and storage

Here’s how I create, remember, and find my passwords:

  1. I think of three words that are completely unrelated, and string them together. For example: DictionaryWheelieJump. 
  2. Then I add a number and a punctuation mark, so my completed password might be DictionaryWheelieJump44!
  3. Now, in my email account, I create a folder labeled “Reference.”
  4. For each company where I may need to sign in, I create a folder with that company’s name and a shortcut to my password that does not include the three words I came up with in step 1. For example: “Staples DWJ44!”
  5. I also keep reference information about that company within the folder, so it does double-duty.

At any given time, I may have two or three nonsense phrases I’m using. The number and punctuation mark will vary depending on the rules of the given account. When I have to change a password, it’s easy – I just change the number or switch to a new nonsense phrase (and record it in the appropriate email folder).

For super high-stakes accounts (like places where I keep money) I follow more secure rules, but this system helps me keep track of 90% of my passwords.