Yesterday my kids went back to school. They looked so darn cute with their new clothes and backpacks full of brand new supplies which will usher them into a whole new year of learning and growing. Nothing signifies a fresh start and a beginning journey as well as a crisp page in a new notebook. An abundance of pristine pages with not one crinkle on them is a joy like no other. So you see, not only do the kids get brand new supplies each autumn, but mama also gets some too! Just let me loose in Target and woohoo, I’m in heaven. However, in keeping with the idea of simplified lives and the organizational goal of not buying something unless you have a use for it, you might be wondering what can one do with cute spirals or composition notebooks? Hold on to your hats, because have I got a blog for you.
Let’s start with spirals. This roller skate notebook is totally an 80’s throwback. It sang to me so I decided to use it as my new food journal. I’m trying to take off these last 10 pounds, and jotting my food intake, as well as noting and journaling when there’s an overeat totally helps me focus on my goal. There is a great podcast by Corrine Crabtree called Losing 100 pounds with Phit-N-Phat, and she really goes into detail about how food journaling can assist in the process of changing habits and losing weight. Check her out.
Now for the sloths. I just felt drawn to these guys. This one will be used for my Morning Pages. What are Morning Pages, you ask? Now I’m going to guide you to Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, which is a “course in discovering and recovering your creative self.” I attended a workshop with Ms. Cameron this past summer. The best take away was her notion of free writing each morning, three full pages, front and back. The idea is to get out all the junk in your mind that bogs you down and holds you back. Once it’s all on paper, your mind is clearer and you are free to move forward with things that really matter to you. I tend to use old notebooks for this task because I throw them away when they are finished. But every now and then, it’s so much fun to have one that makes my heart happy first thing in the morning when I am writing.
My unicorn-fairy-pugs (who thinks of these things? How much fun it would be to design spiral covers!) will be my notebook for upcoming classes and workshops I take. I am required by my profession to complete a certain amount of CEU’s each year, but I also read a lot for personal development and for my own learning. A notebook is always needed for these endeavors, especially because I am getting old and need to write things down in order to remember them! Has there been a class you want to take but have been putting off? A book you want to read that may require some notes? A nice spiral makes it more enjoyable and motivating.
Next up is the Gratitude Journal! I have been keeping one for the better part of 25 years. While I tend to use pretty journals for this practice, sometimes the easiest way to start is by just grabbing a spiral. Each day, jot down five things you are grateful for. Oh come on, don’t just put down the regular “go to’s” or the RSTLN E of your day. Notice the way the sun sets. Write that funny one liner your child said. How about the sale you caught at Target? A delicious latte, an “I love you” from your spouse. As you begin to take note of all the wonderful things in your life and how blessed you truly are, you will see your joy increase significantly. Grab a spiral, start writing, and see for yourself!
This little gem was given to me by my dear friend, Helen. You need some background in order to understand what I use this one for. Do you remember the children’s cartoon on Playhouse Disney called Stanley and the Great Big Book of Everything? Stanley had a book that held all the knowledge he needed in order to learn and solve his problems. I took a page from Stanley’s book, haha, and though mine is not magical and does not transform me into an animal like Stanley’s did, I created one for myself. In my Great Big Book of Everything, any time I mess up royally, or even just want to jot down lessons learned, I list it here. In actuality mine is only 6 inches so I guess I should call it my Little Book of Lessons Learned. My theater ticket debacle is in there, just a quick little one-liner. I revisit this book in an attempt to cement the experience I’ve gained throughout life, my mistakes or things that didn’t work out so well, hoping it will inform better choices in the future. Though this is a gorgeous leather bound notebook, the concept is another great use for a spiral. I don’t write in here as often as I’d like, but hopefully it will become more of a habit.
Along a similar vein, my brother and sister in law keep a book in which they write about the successes and possible improvements for each holiday party they host. Was there enough food? How much time did the main course really take? What was a hit and what flopped…all that good stuff. Every entry informs the next party and helps it to run more smoothly. So super helpful. Holly just told me they will meet on October first, pull out the book for review, and start planning Christmas eve. Oooh, I can’t wait!
Now how about these little guys? Of course we all know the smaller ones are really great for “to-do” and food shopping lists. However, the “Be Nice” and the green pad pictured above are what I use for my kiddos. Hmmm, I will call these the “Nagging Mommy” notebooks and this is not because I nag in them, but quite the opposite. I use these books to cut down on my verbal badgering. I know my kids get sick of me trying to tell them things that they think they already know and they just don’t want to hear me go on and on. Sometimes I need to say things or impart some wisdom, and allow the kids time to process or revisit what I’ve said. What I do is put messages, a quote/inspirational saying, or a note of encouragement in each of their respective books and leave it open on their desks, sometimes with a Hershey Kiss so they are enticed into reading. They get an uplifting note or even a disguised lesson and they don’t have to listen to me drone on. Hmmm, I’m not sure if the face my son drew on his book is a reflection of what he actually thinks of it, but when he comes home today to a tiny treat and a note, I know he’ll be a happy camper. This is Karlie’s first year she gets one. We’ll see how it goes.
So the next time you are shopping in late July because sadly, that’s when they put the school supplies out, and you see that awesome spiral or are enticed by the idea of school supplies as an adult, now you have a reason to purchase some and a bunch of functional ideas for how to use them. There’s no guilt about a purchase here. And if this blog post flops and no one really finds it useful, well then I’ll just sit right down and put it in my Great Big Book of Everything. It’s all good. Now, if anyone could give me some purposes for all those cute pouches I see in the stores, that’d be a real win!