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How to organise a notebook

by J. C. Greenway
How to organise a notebook
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Although lucky enough at the moment to have a few different projects on the go, at times it can feel like something is bound to slip. The human memory being what it is, there is surely only so much that can be blamed on outsourcing it to the cloud. As a forgetful kind of girl, with my love of all things Moleskine well documented, I believe I am quite easy to buy for when present-giving time rolls around, as a new notebook will always be gratefully received and enthusiastically used. That said, my latest notebook has gone slightly rogue, with paperclips, post-it notes and even a rubber band being used to try to highlight sections that I must try to remember to return to. As a writer’s tool, it has become far too scrappy to be effective and has – if I am being honest – begun to drive me crazy. How to organise a notebook? About to start a new one and armed with this post as inspiration, I decided to get hacking.

Step 1: Ready your notebook

Here is my new notebook, with its lovely leather cover:

There are few things more appealing than a new notebook as far as I am concerned, so be warned, if you are of the same opinion, the next photograph could leave you feeling a little giddy:

Lovely. The friend who gave me the notebook was worried that they had picked up square-ruled paper by mistake, but this has turned out to be very fortuitous, as it made what is about to follow much easier.

First, I removed the cover:

Then I split the notebook into sections.  I reckoned I needed five with the number of things I am now working on:

Step 2: Prepare to cut

Then I got my new craft knife ready. I suppose I should also have used some kind of mat, but in the absence of one, an old copy of expat magazine Metropolis worked pretty well:

For a stationery addict like myself, working two days a week in an Aeon department store has been dangerous. They sell everything and it is all pretty wonderful.

The next stage of the hack was to make some pencil markers:

The very eagle-eyed among you will notice that I messed it up a bit first time around and had to re-do. No problem though, it was easily amended.

Then began the fiddliest, the messiest and yet – as with so much in life – the most satisfying part, cutting the paper. It was best to do about 5-6 pages at a time and to keep lining them up as I went, as the ruled lines didn’t always match up through the book.

Step 3: Sit back and admire your handiwork

Here is what I ended up with:

Very pretty, I am sure you will agree and a perfect example of how to organise a notebook. If the rainy season is about to begin where you are too, you could do worse on an evening cooped up indoors, with a pot of tea on the go and something soothing to listen to, than to do the same.

Header Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash, all others by the author

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James 29 May 2011 - 11:16 pm

Are you some kind of genius?

Joanne Greenway 29 May 2011 - 11:51 pm


Finbar 30 May 2011 - 10:56 am

Is that the one I got you? It looks awesome!

Joanne Greenway 30 May 2011 - 10:56 pm

It is and doesn’t it? Thank you!


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