I’ve been packing up bits and pieces of our apartment as we get ready for the move ahead, a sort of weird in-between time as I’m making decisions on what we can live without for a month or two, and what needs to wait. It’s a bit sad to have all my books packed away into boxes, and Jon has been groaning about how we keep decluttering stuff, but accumulating more and more books.
I’ve been packing away some of my stationery and supplies as well. It’s been nice to sort through things – drawers, boxes, piles – that have sorely needed it, but it’s also been a good time to re-evaluate what’s working for me and what’s not.
I won’t say it’s shocking to see how much I have, as it’s not like someone else put it in my desk drawer in the middle of the night, but there are moments I surprise myself, like discovering three half-used pads of Toile Imperiale A5 pads in different places. I’m re-living my InCoWriMo strategy, of leaving out all the half-used stationery to finally get through some of the supply.
And it’s good timing as well, to finally start figuring things out. The baby came in the fall, and shortly after was the pen show, and then the busy holiday rush. I told myself I would spend time getting myself organized (both my desk and mentally) after it all calmed down, but it seems like we picked right back up in January with new products and getting the new shops ready, and we went through two weeks of a flu where Caleb was alternating between moaning on the floor and running around feral, from which I needed a six week recovery period.
Jon now spends more time talking on the phone with the contractor than he does talking to me.* I’m letting this phase of our marriage pass without comment (except here, publicly, on the internet), because in some ways, he’s also project managing me, as every time I go on site I “discover” new things that might be done, and everything (budget, timelines, Jon’s level of agitation) is ballooning into space.
In any case, I usually spend a little time at the end of each calendar year organizing my notebooks and analogue system, in preparation for the next. I didn’t write anything for the blog, partly for a lack of time, but mostly because I wasn’t organized enough to have anything worth sharing.
I’m still not really too organized, but I thought I would share a sort of quarterly review of what papery things I’m using these days.
in my Traveler’s Notebook:
– a weekly planner (vertical)
– a refill for vaguely keeping track of photos and stories about the babies and animals
– my correspondence and some loose stationery is kept in my A5 portfolio
My B6 notebook (Midori B6 Slim, with the matching leather cover) is my everyday-everything-lists-to-dos-ideas-notes-quotes notebook, and I put almost everything in here, from things I want to journal about later, to notes for quick meetings, grocery lists to a list of books to read. From here, I transfer a lot of information out, whether it’s rough brainstorming that ends up turning into a blog post, or dates that I need to write into my planner, but it’s my starting place for everything that happens during the day.
My Traveler’s Notebook planner keeps track of the “real” stuff – appointments, dates, work commitments. I’m currently using the vertical weekly, since I use it loosely to plan my day, like if I know I need to go pick up something on a certain day, or if Jon and I are planning to go to one of the new shops, in between more important appointments, like with the doctor or meeting a contractor. These days my agenda pages are looking pretty functional, but I’ll take what I can get.
I feel like if I lost my planner, I’d be lost in terms of forgetting to meet people and being disorganized, but if I lost my B6 notebook, I’d be lost. I have thought about condensing my B6 notebook and what I use it for (random notes, keeping track of things, etc.) into my Traveler’s Notebook as a refill, but I like the portable size of my B6, and that I can slip it into a pocket or bag easily. To be honest, though, the thought is always there, even if the physical space inside my TN currently is not.
In my Traveler’s Notebook I also have two personal refills – one is a notebook from our trip to San Francisco last year that I’m still working on (I figure if I leave it there, the guilt should eventually eat away at me and force my hand, or else I’ll just be comfortable carrying around an extra incomplete refill for the rest of my life), and the other is an insert where I’m vaguely taping in photos of Naomi and Caleb and writing down a few stories or funny memories. It’s a little boring since it’s supposed to be sort of a family-babies-warm-fuzzies but Naomi doesn’t do very much. I didn’t realize how true it was that babies don’t get interesting until they start talking and having opinions.
I used to do morning pages, and then stopped, but over the last couple of months I’ve picked it up again. Morning pages are three pages of stream of consciousness writing, ideally done in the morning, but my mornings are a bit hectic, so I’ve been doing them sort of willy-nilly during the day, or mostly at night after both babies have gone to bed. It’s been great, and I have no idea why I stopped.** I find when I’m sort of all over the place or procrastinating or especially when I’m trying to hold a bunch of ideas in my mind, none of which are really that important, it’s cathartic and freeing to get them all out and not worry about sounding or feeling silly or petty or weird.
Sometimes I don’t finish my pages, and sometimes I write more. Sometimes I’ll start and then I’ll hit on something, a story or an idea, that I want to write in my journal – my journal being a notebook that I plan on keeping, rather than my morning pages, which I recycle.
My regular journal is as it’s always been – just a notebook with pages and where I write a few things here and there. Over the years, the notebooks have been filling up, and while I would never reread any of my past journals (the thought horrifies me), it’s nice to see them on my shelf. I’ve been using Stalogy notebooks for my last few, and I love them for their thin pages that crinkle as they fill up with fountain pen ink. The paper handles the ink great – so does my B6 notebook, but I like the thicker pages of the MD notebook I use as I flip back and forth between pages frequently, erasing, crossing out, flipping again, and I don’t have to worry about accidental dog ears or tearing.
Other miscellaneous papery items:
- I’ve had a notebook for around ten years, in which I record books I’ve read. When I first started keeping track, it was a hard habit to get into, but I now love looking back and seeing what I’ve read and remember how the year’s reading (or lack thereof) lines up with that year’s events.
- The pressure to keep a daily gratitude journal was a bit much as we welcomed baby 2. Recently I’ve been keeping gratitude notes in a Field Notes memo book, and write in it whenever the mood strikes. I also tape occasional pictures or mementos in there.
- Since January 1st, I’ve been keeping a multi year diary, the kind where you write a few lines a day. I’m giving myself lots of grace on this, and actually it’s nice to fill in days I’ve missed with generic things like a list of the books I’m reading at that time, or taping in a photo. It’s also a lot of fun, even having only kept it for a few months, to look back on some of the funny and important moments we’ve had.
When I write it all out, it seems like a lot, but actually I feel like I’ve really pared down this year, just out of the inability to sustain frivolity due to a lack of time. I have both a 2018 A6 Techo and an A5 Cousins basically untouched, looking at me sadly from the shelf. I’m thinking maybe as things calm down I might use the A5 as a desk ideas/to-do list page a day, but that will probably have to hold off for a month or two.
To sum up, my two biggest organizing tools are my everyday B6 notebook, and my Traveler’s Notebook planner. My morning pages and journal are for processing and getting everything out, and then as I have time, I’ve been trying to hold onto a few photos and memories of my babies while they’re babies.
The last five years of running the shop (we turn five in April!) have been huge, leaping, roller coaster learning curves for us, and for me in particular, both with the shop and its growth, and with family. Now with another massive change ahead, it’s nice to have something to keep me grounded.
*This is a slight exaggeration, but he also sends texts back and forth with the contractor while talking to me, so…
**It’s because I was lazy.