12 Uses For Your Empty Notebooks

If you’re a stationery lover like me you’ll have a shelf with unused (often pretty) notebooks and you always find an excuse to buy a new one (just because it looks so cute). I always buy at least one notebook while I’m travelling. The designs in other countries always surprise me. Stationery stores like Paperchase in the UK and Legami in Italy are much more common than here. The designs are great and buying one while making memories is almost as good as taking a photograph to remember that beautiful sunset. Most of those notebooks are still empty now, but I remember when and where I bought them.


I write in my journal every day. Some people do morning pages, a habit where you write three pages each morning before you do anything else. I think it’s healthy to write a little bit every day. Sometimes there’s something on your mind or something amazing happened. Write it down and you’ll remember why you were so happy when you read it back or have a clearer mind after writing down your frustration.

Bullet Journalling

My three Leuchtturm1917 notebooks. A planner, a writing book and a business book.

Bullet journalling is a big trend right now. Some notebook makers have designed notebooks specifically for bullet journalling, but any notebook will do. I don’t think there are many people who stick to the rules as outlined by Ryder Carroll. but soon give their personal twist to things. Check out Instagram or Pinterest for inspiration for spreads or collections. There’s no end to new ideas there.

You don’t have to wait for a new month or year to start bullet journalling. Many experienced bullet journallers share their tips in a blog or vlog on how to start a brand new bullet journal halfway through the month or year.

Personally, I tried bullet journalling but didn’t like it. I can’t keep up with a daily list. My weekly planner is more than enough and I have different notebooks for my collections. Find your way to keep your life organized. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes in your planner. Use your first to try things out and learn from it when you’re preparing your second.

Writing book

I have one notebook that I reserve for writing fiction only. It holds chapters of stories, complete short stories, and flash fiction. I don’t use it for brainstorming, just writing.

Handwriting practice

Learning calligraphy and hand lettering are on my goal list for the coming years. I want to learn both and I say both since I see them as separate. One is more traditional than the other. Take a notebook and practice your handwriting, calligraphy or handlettering. Instagram, YouTube and Skillshare are major resources for picking up these skills. Surprise your friends and family with beautifully handwritten cards for their birthdays or other special occasions.

Achievement book

I bought a Filofax Clipbook with the intention to turn it in a bullet journal kind of planner, but I turned it into an achievement book. I loved the idea of the collections in bullet journals and I wanted to keep the collections I already had. The Clipbook is great for keeping track of my achievements since I can add pages any place I want, ruled, blank or dotted.

Specific Diary

Sometimes having a separate notebook for just one thing is better than when it’s hidden between the pages, like a pain diary. As someone with chronic pains, a pain diary is a great way to track what is going on and which elements might cause the pain to flare up. Think about weather, exercise and food intake.

Or maybe you’re an avid movie fan or book reader. You can transform a notebook into your personal movie/book bible. Keep track of your favourites, new releases, thoughts, reviews, whatever you want. Moleskine has Passion Journals with printed templates to keep track of your passion.


There are some recipes that you just can’t stand to lose. Your mom’s favourite pasta sauce, or grandma’s apple pie. Take a notebook and write down the recipes that you really want to save. Having them all together in one book makes it easier to pass along to your children as well. I know that everyone is going digital, but I think that browsing through a cookbook is more fun than clicking twenty links just to find out that they use this one ingredient you just can’t stand.

I’m also a cook who improvises a lot. I change ingredients or amounts. I add more or different spices. It’s easier to do that on paper (just add a sticky note if the page is full) than it is on a blog post of someone else.

Having all your favourite recipes together makes planning your meals easier as well. Just flip through the book and see what fancies you.

Idea book

Or inspiration book. I’d use a smaller notebook for this that you can easily carry in your bag and flip out on the go. Ideas and inspiration always come to us on moments when we’re not prepared. Having an idea book with you at all times, allows you to write things down as they come. You also have all your brain farts in one place, so if you want to work on a new idea, just pick one of the many.

Brainstorm book

You’ll probably want to use this when you’re working on one big project. Keep all your notes and brainstorms in one dedicated notebook.

Learning notes

School is starting again so why not make a learning notes notebook? Keep all your notes together with summaries per paragraph or chapter to make studying a little more organised.

Sketch notes

Maybe you’re more of a visual learner. Add some sketches or doodles to your notes to brighten the place. Sketching the relationship between certain abstract concepts can make them feel more tangible and makes studying easier.

Reference book

The Zodiac Journal from Citrus Book Bindery is handmade and at the top of my wishlist

Create a reference book when you’re learning something new and want to keep important and useful information at hand when you’re done. Copy definitions, schemes, theories, graphs, and add your own conclusions. If you do copy something, make sure to annotate. With an annotation, you can cross check what you wrote if it doesn’t make sense later.

For a writer, a reference book can also be a useful place to track inconsistencies. Write down what every character wears, their appearances, who’s in which scene, or descriptions of settings. Keep track of important items or event aftermath.

How do you use your notebooks? Which brand is your favourite? Let us know in the comments and inspire other readers!

8 thoughts on “12 Uses For Your Empty Notebooks

  1. OffHerMocha says:

    What a great idea! I, too, am an absolute sucker for buying new notebooks that I can’t bare to write in! Great tips, I love the idea of an achievement book! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Tessa Hastjarjanto says:

      Have fun! Share your achievement book on your blog, maybe you can inspire others as well

  2. Ruth says:

    I have more empty notebooks than I know what to do with so I LOVE this. I really liked the idea of using one for handwriting practice, as I’ve noticed my handwriting is a lot messier than it used to be (probably because I don’t write by hand much anymore, but I love it). Thank you for sharing!

    • Tessa Hastjarjanto says:

      I’m already planning a follow up with more ideas (read: more reasons to buy more notebooks!) Glad you liked the post!

  3. Shadowz says:

    I have a few just everyday regular notebooks, mostly ones I can flip over because of being left handed, I write in them with the spine facing outwards so that it’s not making my left hand brush up against the spine. The ones I do have are for usernames, and passwords. I have another for Gear stats that I need to improve while playing certain MMOs, another just for random thoughts I have in my head, another for character stories that I just haven’t been able to complete into the blog. I also have one more for a monthly budget , and keep bills and receipts in an envelope that I have made inside the main area.

  4. Chris Durston says:

    I haven’t actually worked out how to use a notebook at all yet, really. I keep thinking it’s something I should be doing, that it’d be helpful, but somehow I’ve just never quite understood what to do with one. Maybe I’m too used to just jotting everything down digitally, since it’s easier to edit and file things that way, but something in me says that there must be some other benefit to a physical notebook that I’m missing out on!

    • Tessa Hastjarjanto says:

      I love writing down my story ideas in a separate notebook, so I don’t have to grab my phone to enter or leave my writing screen. And I have everything together that way.

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