10 Ways to Fill Your Empty Notebooks

I have a problem. I am addicted to collecting notebooks. Anytime I come across an aesthetically appealing notebook on a table of a stationery store I am immediately drawn to it.

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The next thing you know I’m at the cash register with the notebook commanding the cashier to “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!” What I inevitably end up with is a stack of unused (albeit oh-so-pretty) notebooks at home. So this post is for all you journal junkies out there. Here’s how to turn your addiction into something useful. Below are 10 ways to fill that sad, empty notebook collecting dust on your shelf right now:

1. Quote Book

Waterman Perspective Fountain Pen in Black
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What initially sparked my interest in literature when I was in high school was the quote-book. Whenever I came across a quote that particularly resided with me I immediately wrote it down and started my hunt on which author and which book it came from. This is by far one of my favourite uses of notebooks because it isn’t demanding and it can turn into a unique gift for someone. It also spurred my collection of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations (the best quotation book by the way) but nothing is quite like choosing your own quotes and writing them down by hand. So while the internet is completely littered with quotations tacked onto sunset pictures nowadays, I assure you saving a picture of a quote is not as personal or rewarding as writing it down in your notebook.

2. Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal is simply that: a journal in which you write down what you’re grateful for in your life. I think this is a great use of a notebook because it forces us to remind ourselves of all the simple blessing we usually take for granted. I simply list one thing I’m grateful for each day. It’s okay if there are repeats within your gratitude list because that just means you need give thanks to whomever or whatever is in your life!

3. Budget Tracker

Admittedly, this idea is a bit less fun and kind of horrifying at first if you have terrible spending habits like myself (re: my notebook addiction). However once you start a budget-tracker for all your expenses you can hold yourself accountable for all the mindless spending you didn’t even realize you did. Where this really comes in handy is when you need to save up for something big like a trip or a car. Managing your daily spending will help you reach your goal and set a rough date on when you can actually afford what you want.

4. Fitness Tracker

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In the same vein as the Budget Tracker, the Fitness Tracker can also be equally intimidating to get started. However when I was training for my 10k the fitness tracker came in really handy. I noted down recipes and snacks I would buy for the week and which days would be my exercise or rest days.

5. Goal Tracker

Being a goal-digger doesn’t come naturally. In this article about “12 things all successful people do”, guess what was number 2 on that list? Yup. You got it. Set Goals. I like to set a daily goal, a monthly goal and a yearly goal. A Goal Tracker is a great way to not only evaluate but re-evaluate your goals. The important thing to note here is to make your goals measurable, specific and (most importantly) realistic.

6. Travel Journal

Travel Trip Map Direction Exploration Planning Concept
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My go-to journal is the Midori Traveler’s Notebook. This notebook or any notebook for that matter can be used to record all the information you gather while researching or on your travels. This can include itineraries and simply a note of sights and places that you’ve visited. Not only does it document your trip but it can be helpful as a guide for future travelers.

7. Review Book


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We consume a vast array of things these days that it only makes sense to keep a Review Book for all the things we’ve liked and disliked. Some examples would be reviews on books, movies or restaurants. It can also function as a to-do list for things or places you want to review in the future. In the end you’ll have a reference of all your favourite (and no-so-favourite) things.

8. Diary

This is probably the most traditional idea that comes to mind when people think of a notebook but I’m not talking about the kind of diary with a padlock and key you had when you were a kid. More than anything else a diary should just be a non-judgmental space where you can purge and organize your thoughts.

9. Scrapbook

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Scrapbooking is a whole other world and it can be kind of overwhelming to start. I’m not a particularly crafty person so you can imagine my confusion when it came to different kinds of washi tapes, paper cutters, embellishments, stamps and stickers. Before you go down the same rabbit hole, turning your notebook into a scrapbook can just simply be dedicating a few pages to a significant event you want to remember. So attach some photographs, write your favourite quote, draw a little doodle and stick on some washi tape and stickers if you’re feeling really daring.

10. Art Book

Converting your notebook into an Art Book can include a collection of your sketches, paintings or photographs. I use a notebook with blank sheets to store my simple paintings. With most notebooks being filled with words, it’s nice to fill your notebooks with some visuals instead.

You certainly don’t have to fill your notebooks with all these ideas but if you’re anything like me and have a bunch of notebooks on reserve you could dedicate each notebook for a different function. Noticeably absent is the ever-so-popular Bullet Journal or “BuJu”. I consider the Bullet Journal a compilation of several of the ideas listed above and there’s a plethora of information on them. But that’s another rabbit hole to explore for another time.

Have you tried any of these ideas before? Do you have your own creative idea to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below! Happy journaling!


4 thoughts on “10 Ways to Fill Your Empty Notebooks

  1. Hey Jeanice! I love this post–I clicked on it as I scrolled through your blog because I immediately thought “OMG I NEED THIS. I AM A NOTEBOOK HOARDER.” I seriously think that I’ve used notebooks for at least 8 or 9 of the suggestions you’ve listed, and I’ve never finished any (though I got this huge unlined sketch book with gorgeous thick paper, and I basically think its my soulmate, so I should be able to fill all of its pages. I think. I also got a fountain pen recently, so that will help). 😀

    I love your idea to gift a book of quotations in particular. You’re right, there’s nothing more personal than writing down meaningful quotes by hand. My best friend once gifted me a goldfish bowl of little notes for my 17th birthday. Each note had a compliment or an inspirational quote (usually an Ed Sheeran lyric) that warmed my heart, because it was in her writing. My boyfriend’s birthday is coming up, so I just might make an quotations notebook for him. (And guess what I got him last year? A notebook, of course. A really nice, fine Italian leather one.)

    So thank you for the suggestion, and again, I really like this post, and your blog/style in general! Keep it up. 🙂



    1. Hi Shalini! I’m glad to know I’m not alone in my addiction of hoarding notebooks! That unlined sketchbook you described sounds glorious. What’s the name of it? I NEED TO ADD IT TO MY COLLECTION! I also recently got a fountain pen with a set of ink. There’s nothing quite like writing with a fountain pen, is there? That gift your friend gave you seems really helpful for anytime you’re having a bad day. Also, I love my quotation books! I think it’s such a timeless and personal thing because you choose the quotes. And if your boyfriend is anything like us writers he would really enjoy it. I also read your post on How to be Comfortable Alone and, my god, I feel like we are the same person! I agree that some people are really scared of being alone so they stay connected 24/7 which, ironically, can make you feel even lonelier. I definitely felt that when I was on every social media outlet possible but I took a digital detox and I haven’t had facebook or instagram for years now. And honestly, I don’t miss it. I like your advocacy on the narrative of opportunity and not wallowing over lost time which is something I am guilty of doing. As a fellow introvert, your comment on pseudo-solitude really struck a chord with me. I didn’t even realize what I was doing was pseudo-solitude but it definitely is! If solitude is suppose to help you improve yourself, those mindless shows are definitely a time-killer. Thanks for all your insight!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much, I’m so glad you connected to it!! I know, being comfortable by yourself is actually such an art!
        I’ll show you the sketch book in class at some point, it’s actually amazing. 🙂


  2. Thank you so much, I’m so glad you connected to it!! I know, being comfortable by yourself is actually such an art!

    I’ll show you the sketch book in class at some point, it’s actually amazing. 🙂


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