How to Organize Your Notebooks in 5 Simple Steps (with Pictures)

Notice, I said “notebookS.” Plural. More than one.

Because if you’re like me, you have 3 notebooks at your bedside, one in the car, 5 on the bookshelf, 4 on your bedroom dresser, and one in your hand right now getting ready to take notes. And when you pack a bag for a Coffee Shop Study Session, at least 3 notebooks (and maybe some planner stickers) have to go with you.

It’s a thin line between becoming a First Class Notebook Hoarder and someone who actually uses them productively.

The key to maximizing productivity with all your notebooks, while keeping them cute and functional is getting them organized.

So here are a few tips for organizing your notebooks, journals, paper pads, and the like.

1 – Categorize them by topic

Screen Shot 2018-04-05 at 11.48.22 PMUse a specific notebook for a specific purpose.  For example, I have one notebook for my personal thoughts, Morning Papers, ideas.  Another one is for notes when I’m reading personal development books.

Another notebook is for all things to do with my Organizing and Self-Care Business.

There’s another one I use as an Out & About Notebook – it goes in my purse when I leave the house, contains my errands/to-do/to-go for that day, and then I come home and disseminate and process whatever information I’ve collected that day.

I recommend establishing one of your notebooks as a Catch-All.

By categorizing your notebooks, when one fills up, then you can roll over the important or reference information to a new notebook with the same purpose.

2 – Use a table of contents in journals

Ohhhh my God, this is the blog post that changed my life.

Table of Contents for My New Notebook for Q2
Starting a New Notebook for Q2

The moment I created a table of contents for my notebook, it was like the clouds parted and I knew what life was again.

THEN I found a notebook that had the first few pages already set up for your table of contents!!!

The productivity gods continue to answer my prayers.

The only thing I need now is a notebook with page numbers, because it gets tedious writing the page numbers…. but some days I enjoy it when I need a constant repetitive motion to help me work through some thoughts.

3 – Use paper clips and/or binder clips

I’ve given up on bookmarks.  Use binder clips to hold your pages down while you write, while holding your place.  They’re also good for holding notes, receipts, business cards, or any small pieces of paper that you want to keep inside the notebook.

images (2)
A Nice Travel Journal

This is temporary, however, so if you want them to stay permanently, I suggest using a spray adhesive or some double-sided tape.

4 – Keep them where you use them

This is a rule when organizing anything – your home, office, desk, whatever: keep your tools where you use them.


My business notebook stays at my desk – it doesn’t go in the bedroom (because I don’t do work in the bed).  My journal-diary-thing stays at my bedside or somewhere in my bedroom because that’s where I meditate think through my emotional thoughts.  Even my Catch-All notebook goes with me wherever.

Sometimes I carry it all through the house because you never know when inspiration might smack you in the face.

5 – Color code with pens and planner stickers

Let me add, first, that I have a BIG Happy Planner (for my personal day-to-day productivity and planning), and a Medium Happy Planner (for my business).


I have two books of planner stickers that I absolutely love and adore, and I carry those around with me like they’re notebooks as well.

I have the Productivity Sticker Book and the Color Story Sticker Book.  Using these, I color-code the consistent activities throughout my week.


PaperMate makes the best pens ever.  Fight me, idc.

For example, my work schedule is always written and blocked out in black.  Bills due are written in turquoise/green.

My Self-Care activities are written in pink.

Meetings are tagged with a black/turquoise sticker and written in turquoise, and anything else is written in purple.



Storage tip:

This nifty little thing I picked up from Michaels is perfect.  It houses a couple Thought

Ashland Office Storage Basket from Michaels…

Journals, some composition books for some online classes I’m taking, a book I’m reading, a writing pad (because I’m practicing writing with my left hand…always felt like a lefty at heart), my meal-planning notebook, planner stickers, and some scratch paper.

It’s sturdy, it’s neat, and it’s compact so I didn’t have a buy a whole bookshelf.

…It’s a part of their Spring Collection, and I couldn’t find it anywhere online 😦










Do you have other ways you organize your notebooks?  Let me know in the comments below!

Hasta la vista, baby.



**Featured image is my notebook for rituals.. not necessarily a Grimoire.


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