What do you do when you get to the end of a notebook? How do you resolve the end of your relationship with this object that has been your daily companion?

notebook
photo credit: angelocesare via photopin cc

Look back

You saw the notebook at a shop. Or you spotted it on a website.  Perhaps it was a gift. You resisted using it for months or maybe years. It was just too beautiful, quirky and delightful to actually be used, except for a very special occasion.

Then the moment arrived. It matched your new handbag. The picture and witty motto on the front perfectly reflected the image you wished to present. Or maybe you just decided it was time to stop hoarding and start using!

The start

You write your name inside the front cover and maybe add a phone number or email address. Then you decide that you will make good use of the pages and actually carry out the tasks on any to-do lists that you write. Next, you carefully select a pen to compliment the paper.

You write your name inside the front cover and maybe add a phone number or email address. Then you decide that you will make good use of the pages and actually carry out the tasks on any to do lists that you write. Next, you carefully select a pen to compliment the paper.

And so you begin to fill the pages with job lists, phone numbers, booking references, recipes, doodles, dates to remember, gift ideas and books to read. The cover starts to look a little battered. The corners get bent. A spilt mug of tea or glass of wine leaves a stain. The spine stretches as you stick flyers, notes, magazine cuttings and tickets inside the cover for future reference.

The end

And then your relationship with your notebook can be measured in pages. You begin to carry a spare in case you run out of space.

So what do you do with your full notebook? I know that some people keep them. If you tend to journal rather than note then this would make sense.

But my pages aren’t organised or pretty to look at. My scribbles are mainly ephemeral. The same small tasks appear on successive job lists week after week. These notes are strictly practical. They are for now, not for posterity. They are made to be discarded on completion. It’s one of the reasons I have never bought a Moleskin and haven’t used a Filofax for some years.

So I rip my once prized notebooks to bits. I extract the notes I still need (the recipes, instructions and undone job lists). I recycle the pages that I don’t need. The covers go on to led glorious new lives as craft materials. A gold cover becomes a crown for a princess doll. Fabric is stripped from another (revealing it is called Enchantment!) and joins a piece of crazy patchwork.

And then it’s time to move on. Time to eye up exciting and attractive new notebooks. To select which will be at my side or in my bag for the next few months. Acquire more pages to fill with little bits of life.