As a teacher, office supplies are near and dear to my heart. I fiercely protect my pens and pencils. I ration paper like we’ve chopped down the last tree in existence. I horde markers of all types and bury them deep in my drawers. I collect every type and size of paper clips, three ring binders, and staples.
I know what you’re thinking — I sound psycho! But over a decade in the classroom has taught me that if you aren’t protecting your office supplies then the day will soon come when you reach for a pen/pencil to take attendance and have none left!
After admitting all this to you, it’s probably no shock that I have thing for notebooks. I’ve mentioned before how much I love starting a new notebook, but I’m also very particular about the things I look for in my perfect notebook.
What do I look for in a notebook?
While paper quality isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, I do prefer paper that will allow the ink in gel pens to quickly absorb. Some notebooks have paper that’s somewhat glossy and I’ve found that most of my favorite pens smudge to the point of uselessness.
Gotta be small enough to tote around but big enough where I can comfortable rest my hand while writing. I went through a phase where A6 was my life — this particular notebook was 4″ by 6″ and could easily sit in my purse with my phone and keys. It worked well for me to jot quick notes and little scribbles — but wasn’t practical for anything long winded. I have some sizable writing goals in mind for my near future, so I’m thinking I’ll need a bit more space.
A normal sized 8.5″ by 11″ seems like a logical choice, but it’s impossibly bulky to carry with me. It’s fine at a desk or at my kitchen table for spreading out, but I often like to write in weird places (like at coffee shops or restaurants, or while sitting in my bed, etc…) I think it may be time for an A5 — which is about half the size of a normal “full size” notebook. **Like Goldilocks… it might be just right**
This has been the second biggest struggle for me. I don’t do cutesy. I don’t like faux inspirational quotes or half sayings on my notebooks. I like a blank canvas. — no big pops of color and no designs. I also don’t like tons of bells and whistles. I don’t mind pockets if they’re slim and don’t interfere with writing. I don’t mind little elastics to keep the book closed as long as it can be stashed away while using to prevent annoyance. I also don’t have a preference between spiral vs softcover/sewn/bound but it has to lay flat and be comfortable on either side of the page.
I can’t stand it when a spiral bound book has such bulky binding that it digs in when you try to write on the back of the page. I equally can’t stand when a Moleskine type notebook won’t stay open to the page I’m working on.
Those glue bound books that start to fall apart when you repeatedly work in them — deal breaker. Nope. Can’t even handle it!
I’ve even tried those Discbound notebooks in the past. The “full size” was amazing as a notebook and planner! I could add as many pages as I needed, include a calendar and worksheets, *sigh* but it’s too big for the life I lead now. I tried their smaller version, but found that it was just too skinny for it’s length. Didn’t like it!
Number of Pages
I love starting a new notebook, but I also love filling them up! Something about using every last page is a goal akin to finishing the final miles of a race. Can’t shake how good it feels. A weird sort of accomplishment.
That being said, I also like having everything one place. Several smaller notebooks would have me feeling scatterbrained and like I have to carry them all with me when I’m working to access all my info. I don’t like that.
To give you perspective — I buy planners that are always longer than 12 months. 18 months is the absolute minimum number of months I carry around in one planner. Mostly because I’m a long range planner — partially because I like having all that planning all in one place. Think “swiss army knife”. Right?
I need enough pages where I feel I’m carrying around enough all in one place — but not so many that it’s uncomfortable to write in. Somewhere between 200-300 pages.
Type of Page
I don’t like lined pages.
As a mathematician — I really have no use for those lines. Wide ruled, college ruled — it makes no difference. Equally worthless for my brain.
I want to have space for scratch work and graphs and charts and the lines just try to control me! I can’t be contained by lines!
I prefer either blank pages, subtle graph pages, or dot grid pages (which is like my perfect combination of blank and grid/graph).
So what’s the problem?
Obviously I like what I like. I don’t like what I don’t like — get with it notebook companies!
I’m really having a hard time finding the perfect fit. After typing it all out, I can see why — I’m PICKY!
Do you have a favorite notebook?
What do you look for in a favorite?
Do you have any deal breakers?