A blank notebook, like a snowy field with no footsteps, is a fresh start. Will you fill it with dreams, memories, or hard-nosed budget goals? All those blank pages can make your mind go blank, too. Try these notebook ideas that will make you smile wider, shop smarter, and look back fondly on the seasons of your life.
Writing down your thoughts helps you tap into your inner self. On paper, your hidden hopes and struggles reveal themselves. An artsy hardcover journal with everything from clouds to poetry on the cover will chart your progress on life’s journey.
Write down 25 things your friends said that made you laugh until your ribs ached. Then, read them together over a beer. Or, jot down creative ways to show love to your partner. A list doesn’t have to be words: it can be pictures of scenic spots on your bucket list.
3. Bullet Journal
The BuJo is for power journalists. It’s chock-full of ways to schedule your busy life down to the minute. It includes an index, daily tasks, and calendars. You can also jot down motivational thoughts to make sure you’re killing it. (“When you feel like quitting, remember why you started.”)
4. Positive Affirmations
A positive affirmation is a love note you say to yourself. It may feel awkward at first, but life’s bumps and bruises leave us battered. Kind words spoken to yourself are deeply healing. Stumped for inspiration? Jot down these uplifting thoughts of self-love for women.
Art journals are keepers. They’re great for sketching while traveling, and good therapy when life overwhelms. Choose a notebook with heavier paper, so the ink and paints don’t bleed through. If you have a lightweight journal, color with a box stuffed with rainbow crayons.
6. Habit Tracker
This notebook idea takes the place of that bossy voice in your head that says “Get going on the treadmill, already!” It has to-do lists and goals that you can check off when you achieve them. You’ll lose weight, drink more water, or learn Swahili. Each time you reach a goal, slap on a giant sticker and bask in the glow.
7. Dream Journal
Dreams are the gateway to the unconscious. Write down your dreams and gain insight into your fears and hopes. Or, have a laugh about that giant purple lizard that stalked you last night.
8. Gratitude Journal
“It was once said, “Gratitude turns what we have into enough. Some say gratitude is the secret to happiness. Write down all the things you’re grateful for until the beauty in your life shines through.
9. Home Décor Idea Book
If you’re designing a home, fill a notebook with swatches of fabric, screenshots of flooring, and photos of art to pull it all together. Attach photos with Velcro dots so you can switch things around as your plan evolves.
10. Notes to Self
Do you ever text yourself new books, good shows to watch, and must-see attractions, and then accidentally delete the texts? Try a catch-all notebook for tips, outings, and snack ideas. Unlike the electronic version, they’ll never disappear.
11. Meal Planner
Experts say we often repeat the same menus over and over … sound familiar? Instead, browse through your cookbooks, noting good recipes and jotting down the page. Paste recipes you find online to wake up everyone’s palate at mealtimes.
12. Fitness Tracker
Don’t have an exercise buddy? Try a fitness planner. Write down your goals (lose 4 pounds, or run 5 miles a week) and keep track of daily exercise. Note healthy snack tips and menu ideas. Don’t forget a list of rewards for when your feet have been flying.
13. Collect Stickers
A sticker collection lets you express yourself in graphics even if you can’t draw a stick figure. You’ll find unique stickers designed by artists at Redbubble to remind you of nature’s beauty, make you belly-laugh, and help you “stick to” your goals. While you’re at it, check out these unusual places to put stickers, from skateboards to cookie jars.
14. Project List
Write down your home improvement projects and a timeline for planting a garden or changing that lightbulb already! You’ll be amazed at how quickly your drudge-like chores get done.
15. Vision Book
A vision board has cut-out magazine pictures of your goals and aspirations. A notebook keeps your vision private but still inspiring. Paste pictures of veggies to help you eat healthier, your dream home, or palm trees to remind you of retirement goals.
16. Vacation Planner
When it comes to vacation, planning is half the fun. Keep track of the upscale hotels and downtrodden diners you’ll visit. Don’t forget tourist attractions like that giant ball of string.
17. Wellness Journal
The internet is brimming with trendy ways to be healthier. Whether you’re drawn to cider vinegar, acupressure or green tea, write it all down. Don’t forget creative ways to cook from the farmer’s market or a yoga pose that’ll center your whirlwind life.
18. Date Night Planner
Dream up a list of romantic dates that are way more enchanting than dinner and a movie. Find a mini-golf course that’s open at night. Or, pick a rooftop and write down a menu for a picnic meal. This planner is key to conjuring date night magic.
19. Spiritual Journal
Our higher selves need a way to express themselves. Spiritual thoughts can be about everything from nature to reaching personal goals. Let your profound thoughts run free in this journal about what it all means.
20. Hobby Journal
Whether you’re obsessed with cars or Quidditch, keep track of the details in a hobby journal. Sketch out your future revved-up muscle car or write down social media groups for hobbyists.
Spiral Notebook – Sew Many Craft Supplies, So Little Time Designed & Sold By Liz Kohler Brown
21. Kids’ Memory Book
Remember when your daughter ate out of a bowl like a puppy? Or when she binged on messy blueberries? Take notes so you can tease her as a teenager. It’s a great solution to what to do with a blank notebook that she’ll appreciate.
22. Brainstorming Book
Out-of-the-box thinking has a huge advantage: it can get you out of a tight situation (i.e., a box.) Our minds run in well-worn grooves, and we often don’t see a creative solution. Try filling a notebook with crazy ideas that might lead to the next big thing.
23. Shopping List
Short on shopping money? Collecting pictures of items in your wannabe clothes closet. Then, grab a gluestick and arrange them in your own style lookbook. Finally, write down the dates of sales at your favorite shop and bring your dream closet to life.
24. Writer’s Resource
Good writers have messy desks. That random note might be a great scene or snippet of dialogue someday. Do yourself a favor: buy an actual notebook so you can find that brilliant idea without digging through the pile.
25. Love Letter Holder
One of the common uses for notebooks is to store treasured letters. Tape your love letters in a hardcover notebook that’ll last through the decades. Pull out the book when your spirits need a lift.
26. Financial Tracker
Notebook ideas often include financial planning. Keep track of budgets and insurance policies in one place. Tape in receipts for tax deductions so you’ll have it all together at tax time.
27. Happy Thoughts
Most “mental chatter” is negative — nagging doubts, critical thoughts, and pessimism. Combat this by writing down cheery thoughts. This exercise rewires your brain to think positively. Eventually, you realize that most worries never happen.
28. Nature Journal
One of the best empty notebook ideas is a nature journal. Remember collecting ombre red and green leaves and pressing them in a giant book? It’s still allowed. Press autumn leaves and May flowers into a notebook and let them dry, preserving the seasons.
29. Address Book
An address book is a time capsule: it can be fun to thumb through all the places you’ve lived. To keep track of friends, try cutting out their addresses from letters and taping them in the book.
30. Bucket List
When deciding what to use a notebook for, consider your bucket list. Maybe your goal is to catch up with old friends who are scattered far and wide. Or, you may long to go zorbing (rolling down a hill inside a giant plastic ball.) Dream on, friend.
31. Garden Planner
Sketching out your garden helps you realize that yes, the zucchini will strangle the tomatoes if you don’t leave enough space. One of the creative things to do in a journal is to tape little packets of seeds inside.
32. Mindfulness Exercises
Stop the rushing for a few minutes. Calm the thoughts swirling around your head. Breathe, and envision something beautiful. Wondering what to write in a notebook? Try planting lovely thoughts in your journal to make mindfulness bloom.
33. Pregnancy Journal
Through all the kicks and queasiness, pregnancy is a time of life like no other. Keep track of the joys and dramas right up to the glorious day when you become a parent.
34. Wisdom Journal
Hard-won wisdom is one of the main things to fill a notebook with. Document the trials you’ve been through and conquered. Keep it as an heirloom to celebrate your grit and perseverance.
35. Self-Care Book
This book is just for you to write down the things that make you feel special, loved, and cared for. Because you are all of these things.
You might share greeting cards and postcards with others, but a special notebook is something to claim just for yourself. Using these notebook ideas, you’ll have a dreamcatcher to store your hopes, kind words to sweeten that voice in your head, lists of ways to show love, and precious memories your family will cherish.