In general, I don’t like “stuff.” Clothes shopping is a rare occasion for me. I can’t remember the last time I bought jewelry, knickknacks, or something that was a want and not a need.
So you’d think I’d be an adherent to Marie Kondo’s philosophy of getting rid of things that don’t bring joy. In an ideal world in which I live in my own neat little bubble, I would be, but it’s hard when I have a husband who is a pack rat and a baby who will naturally accumulate tons of clothes, bottles, books, toys, and other accessories. (I’m dreading the days when I have to avoid stepping on Legos and K’nex!)
Books are probably the physical object I love the most, if I had to pick something. Not only are they useful, they are decorative. Little is more aesthetically pleasing to me than an organized bookshelf. Notebooks and journals are also difficult to part with, even if they’ve never been written in. They are essentially books and have that same pleasing aesthetic quality.
But the sad fact remains that books take up space, which is a precious and rare commodity in our apartment. So I pared my book collection down to only 30. To be honest, it wasn’t all that difficult. Every reader has books in his collection that are destined to be sitting on the shelf for years, never read and never touched. Probably 90% of my books fell into that category.
Every reader also has books that, for whatever reason, he will never part with and would probably be buried with, if given the opportunity. Those were the 30 books I kept. Only two were fiction (both by William Faulkner). The others were writing related and other nonfiction. Religious books didn’t count because my husband wanted to keep most of them; I think if I had included religious books in my 30, it would have been a lot harder to choose only 30. I did cheat a little by keeping two “keepsake” books and another written by a friend, but all three are pretty small and won’t take up much room. 🙂
Is it easy or hard for you to part with physical things?
One of the newest organizational crazes is bullet journaling, in which you essentially design the planning system that works for you. The bullet journal is a cross between a planner and a journal, so you can simultaneously have structure and work in a free-form way.
I believe you’re supposed to devise a system of symbols that you write on the first page of the journal, and you use these symbols throughout the journal to organize aspects of your life (work, personal life, etc.) and plan for the future. You can make an index, a table of contents, or whatever you want, as long as you know what you’re doing and as long as it works for you. There are more detailed guidelines on the official bullet journal website, but they are simply guidelines. There really are no rules.
Bullet journaling lends itself well to people who are more artistic. They design their journal pages with such beauty and creativity that a finished journal becomes a work of art. You can see some of their Instagrams and drool over the loveliness here and here.
The idea of bullet journaling really appeals to me, but I don’t think it would work for me in actuality because there is too much of a learning curve. The nameless system I have works for me. I have a planner and a journal, and the planner is for, obviously, planning, and the journal is for writing the random stuff that I think of every day, and for, obviously, journaling. I hate to say it, but most of the time, when I journal/plan, I value efficiency more than taking the time to make things beautiful, so the artistic aspect of bullet journaling would honestly stress me out.
Do you bullet journal, or have you tried it? Does it work for you?
Usually, I don’t buy super-fancy journals and for good reason: my handwriting sucks, and I don’t want to ruin a gorgeous journal with sub-par handwriting. The secondary reason I don’t buy them is because they’re often too expensive, and the tertiary reason I don’t buy them is because I think it’s a little pretentious to have a really fancy journal, like your thoughts are somehow super awesome and worthy of being kept in lovely binding and paper.
But my husband bought me this journal designed by Peter Pauper Press (I believe he actually bought it at Barnes & Noble):
It is easily the most beautiful journal I have ever owned. It’s bound like a book, which means it is very sturdy, and it has a ribbon bookmark—always helpful. The pages look like they are trimmed with gold, which has that pretentiousness factor to it, but I had to ignore that. After all, the worst type of journal is one that’s been sitting around your house for years waiting to be written in, so it would be a terrible sin to not write in this one. The journal isn’t too large and isn’t too small (6.25″ wide and 8.25″ high), so it’s not a pain to carry around in your purse, briefcase, or backpack.
At first, I thought the binding would be stiff and make it difficult to write in, but that thankfully wasn’t the case. The journal stays flat when it’s opened, so you can write in comfort. I prefer spiral binding or some other binding that will allow a journal to be folded over, but lying flat is the next best thing.
The only thing I could think of to complain about were the two gold pages used after the front cover and before the back cover. The gold rubbed off onto the last journal page a little bit, but that’s an extremely small complaint.
Would I buy another one? No, but I would give one to a fellow writer as a gift. Would I use another one if another was given to me? Heck yeah.