How many notebooks is too many?

From the top: Pen & Ink Sketch, Zenok Leather Field Notes Cover, Paperblanks Masaïque Safran, Palomino Blackwing, Leuchtturm 1917 lined
From the top: Pen & Ink Sketch, Zenok Leather Field Notes Cover, Paperblanks Masaïque Safran, Palomino Blackwing, Leuchtturm 1917 lined (review for this style to follow soon).

I was pulling everything out of my bag this morning to get situated at work. One, two, three… four… five! I found five notebooks in my bag and realized that maybe I had too many notebooks going at one time.

Then I started thinking about it and my Zenok leather Field Notes cover actually hides two notebooks so the total is up to six?!?! I also realized that several notebooks have overlapping purposes: personal notes vs. work notes (x 2) each. I need to start streamlining.

Okay, I can be excused on one of the six. The Leuchtturm 1917 in lime is a “to review” notebook I’ve been toting around but everything else is in active use.But everything else…?

I had intended to have the Zenok be my all-the-time notebook with one Field Notes for work notes and one Field Notes for personal notes. But its a bit too bulky to fit in a pocket so I started using the Pen & Ink Sketchbook for personal notes, to-do lists and such. The larger Palomino Blackwing Notebook was for personal project planning, longer thoughts and the like. And the Paperblanks had become my meeting notes notebook at work. So, they all have information in them that either needs to be consolidated or I need to keep working in this “lug a whole New York phonebook with me everyday” method.

So, how many notebooks is too many? How do you organize your personal notes? Do you separate personal notes from work notes?

With back-to-school on the horizon, I’d like to feel all put-together and organized for the fall. Does the whole back-to-school make you want to “start fresh” too?

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24 comments / Add your comment below

  1. LOVE this, I suffer from the same problem! I have a Quo Vadis Habana notebook for quotes, a Rhodiarama for my art journal, and a Field Notes for todo lists, reminders, etc. It’s getting to be too much!

  2. I look forward to your review of the Leuchtturn 1917! I’ve seen a few folks on youTube who have them, but never got a really good look at them. I think they’re so pretty!

  3. I carry five every day and I have no shame. Two A6 Campus for temporary list/ideas, one Rhodia webbie for long term lists/quotes, one Mnemosyn (blank paper) for sketches/schematics, and one Campus MIO for story ideas. It works.

  4. No such thing as too many notebooks, only not enough time to write in them all. I have a bookshelf that is nothing but my pending notebooks — all blank. Sometimes, I need a specific size or color or even a particular binding. In my work bag I have 2 moleskins, 3 random thingamajig notebooks and a tomoe river notebook.

  5. The phrase “too many notebooks” – I know what all of those words mean on their own, but together they just form gibberish… 😛

  6. I thought I was the only one….. At least a number of my favorites have gotten smaller and lighter – thanks to Midori and Field Notes!!

  7. I currently have five notebooks-in-progress. Three are dedicated to individual long-term projects in progress.(These are Kokuyo Campus notebooks, 2 Bs and an A4) One is my daily everything notebook — from the day’s schedule to freewriting to doodles to overheard dialogue (I’m a writer. It’s my job to eavesdrop). I carry the daily book almost everywhere, but when I can’t, I carry index cards of a 3×5 notebook for emergencies. Planners don’t count right? Cuz if they do, I’m gonna have to up that to six.

  8. I have four active ones: 2 composition style books (one used as a daybook and one as a work “to-do.” I have a Semikolon that is a catchall. A small binder is used for projects. I have more, but these are the active ones. Never too many 🙂

  9. Gads, I hadn’t realized until this post that I carry 3. I have a pocket on that’s always on me, a personal Piccadilly notebook and I carry a different notebook for work. The work one I don’t carry everywhere.

    The one I use for work is just a 8.5×11 pad that I’ve pre-3 hole punched so I can put it in a binder or a hanging file folder.

    Speaking of which I want a new pad that’s better with fountain pens than the standard Staples pad.

    I think 3 is the right number.

  10. I am not certain I understand this question, as I also do not understand what might be too much! Ha-ha! That said, I carry a working notebook, one for personal journaling, one for a Commonplace Book, and several for my teaching (one for every one to two subjects).

  11. I’m too structured in my life; I have only a day journal and one for poems, and other creative efforts (low-level creativity). But if you want to talk about pens or inks, well, I have no such structure. LOL!!

  12. When there is an episode of Hoarders devoted to you…and you’re shown in a room with just a tiny path through piles and stacks of notebooks, then you have too many.

    Until then, you’re good to go.

  13. Great post. I guess I’m generally lazy and don’t want to heft all that weight around. I have a daily thought A5 size journal. My Field Notes to do list and a A5 Webbie project where I am chronicling my childhood memories. I recently combine my prayer journal with my daily thoughts since they are so intertwined subject wise so i got down to three.

  14. I always have my planner and at least two notebooks in my bag, both of which I write in daily. I agree with all of the comments here and especially: the cure for thinking you have too many is to buy another. 🙂

  15. I’m using a turquoise Picadilly for my bullet journal, a red Moleskine Cahier for my blog brainstorming (and a separate binder for the actual planning), a Classic Clairefontaine Clothbound for my fiction writing, an orange Moleskine Volant for notes at one of my jobs (so I leave it at that desk). I…think that’s it? So four active ones, and three that I carry in my Handbag of Holding from Thinkgeek every day. 🙂

  16. I used to do this and my it go too much so I switched to an A5 Filofax and have sections for different things. I do still have a random notebook that has ‘crept’ back into my bag ‘just in case’ though…

  17. The mobile version.. Or lack thereof .. For you blog pretty much sucks. I am on my IPad trying to read this and I am unable to double tap on the words and have it zoom in to the paragraph. I am also unable to pinch and zoom. Please change the settings in you CSS styles that enable both of those features.

  18. I have three: a Moleskine Datebook, a Martha Stewart Journal from Staples, and a Junior sized legal portfolio for tear away notes. They are all strategically sized to match my Kindle Keyboard in its cover. Each tool has it’s purpose and I use them every day!

  19. I’m late but I only have 2 going at a time : One for song lyrics, one for everything. I never sort my notes out, so I waste a lot of time finding specific notes.
    In total, I have around 60 and quarter is unfinished.

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