Last October, I purchased a new traveler’s notebook from Chic Sparrow. It’s a beauty, but I bought it in a pocket size (3.5″ by 5.5″) because I wanted something less heavy for my EDC (every day carry). I filled it up with notebooks – both purchased and handmade – but often felt myself wanting to go back to the larger more creative-feeling standard (4.5″ by 8.25″) size.
For Christmas, I asked for monthly planner notebooks made by Moleskine as well as some Field Notes journals to fill it up and get me inspired, and started doing research on how to make it the most functional for me. After falling through the black hole of set up videos on YouTube, I found that a lot of people have cute and functional accessories that help them get the very most out of their notebook regardless of what they use it for!
After ample research, here are my favorite accessories. Ones with * denote the ones that I currently use, all others are things I’ve tried previously or are on the to-buy list!
- Field Notes* – these notebooks have quickly become my favorite I’ve used. The paper is good quality and I love that their website has lots of cover design options. I’ve seen some TN folks cover the front with scrapbooking paper, which always works as well. These have 48 pages and don’t allow much bleed through on regular pens.
- Moleskine* – these notebooks are a quick go-to that are ALWAYS available to me at local stores such as Target and Barnes and Noble. They come in a three pack and the pocket size is the one that fits the pocket sized TN. When I used a regular size or the “narrow” I bought the large cahiers and trimmed the edges so they would fit. These are a great option but I find that there is often bleed through with my favorite inky pens.
- Tomoe River Insert* – I bought my Tomoe River insert through Chic Sparrow when I purchased the notebook cover. The paper is absolutely delicious, especially with watercolors, but it bothers me that I can’t use ephemera without worrying that I’ll rip the page. These notebooks are also twice as expensive (if not more) than the ones listed above and I found myself being hesitant to write in it because of the price.
- Yellow Paper House – I am a HUGE fan of the inserts that YPH produces. The variety is unparalleled and I’ve used many different ones from the coloring book to the mixed media insert. I can’t say enough good things! The downside and why I’m not using them right now, is simply the price since I use about one per month.
- DIY Notebooks* – I used the video linked to create some of my own inserts. I went through all of etsy one day looking for an editorial calendar insert and ended up making my own. I thought it was going to be pretty tough, but you should be fine as long as you have access to word and a printer. I generally print on copy paper (because the inserts I created are only meant to last a month) and use a stronger card stock for the cover.
- Dashboard* – I bought this recently to add to my field notes/pocket size and I’m a huge fan. Basically this is just a clear plastic cover that you can slide pictures/scrapbooking paper into. I like to put it around my most used notebooks to protect them and give homemade ones a little more stability.
- Felt Paperclips – Although I don’t own any of these, I absolutely LOVE them and have seen them recommended a lot.
- Adhesive Card Pocket* – I purchased this recently but haven’t decided what part of the notebook I’m going to attach it to. I’ve see it done onto the inside of the leather and on inserts. This is particularly great if your TN doubles as your wallet.
- PVC Pouch – I purchased one of these for my narrow sized traveler’s notebook and it was a game changer. I didn’t have a pen loop, but because of the size, I was able to zip a thin pen right in the pouch. Many also come with card slots as an option.
- Folders – You can either check out all of the options for pre-made ones or you can did what I did and use a tutorial to make your own.
- Charms* – there are a TON of planner charms on the internet, but I purchased one from Hobby Lobby. The clip at the top looked super awkward, so I removed it by separating the jump rings using a pair of needle-nose pliers. There are a ton of ways you can make your own, but I liked all of the charms, so why not stick with something simple and use a 40% off coupon while I was at it!
- Washi Tape* – Washi tape is my favorite thing for just about every project. Sometimes I use it for tip ins and sometimes I just use it for decoration. Linked is my current fave.
- Watercolors* – As I mentioned above, I love using watercolors and tend to use them the most behind general writing to make the pages pretty.
- Photos – This probably goes without saying.
- Ball Point – I’m the most boring person ever for listing a ball point pen as my favorite. I particularly like this one because it has four ink colors in one pen and I really like to write in red at work. Someone the other day told me that they hadn’t seen a multi-ink pen since 1st grade. I felt so cool.
- Rolling Ball – I’ve been using this pen in the fine and extra fine point since college. I love the way it writes and always get compliments when people borrow these.
- Fountain Pen – I purchased this about a year ago and am absolutely obsessed with it. This pen with the Tomoe river paper is the best combo. If you have one of these or are considering buying one, I would definitely look at the care instructions. I went way too long before cleaning mine which resulted in a super mess.