2 comments / Posted on by Jenna Murillo

How to Organize Notebooks

If you're anything like me, your life is full of notes and lists, to do's and things to remember — all of which you're constantly writing down here or there, trying to keep track of #allthethings every single day.

And while I LOVE the act of writing things down and keeping it in physical form — sticky notes here or there just don't do the trick. They get lost, tossed aside, and even thrown out accidentally.

This is exactly why I started creating systems for organizing all of this information — from business notes to party planning lists to weekly to do's. And believe it or not, I do this all within the lined pages section of my planner.

The Refresh Weekly Planner (you can find the just-released 2018 edition here!) is built with an entire section of lined pages at the back so you have a quick, easy place to jot down notes wherever you are. But instead of writing and forgetting, I've created a few simple techniques for keeping this info organized. 

Organizing notebooks with ribbon
Organizing notebooks with ribbon

1. Color-code major sections with ribbon

This technique is designed to help you easily chunk sections of the notes pages together for different purposes. Think about the different sections you want to include — for instance, Business/Work Notes, Grocery Lists, and Holiday Gift List. Then, cut a piece of ribbon for each category; you'll want the ribbon to be about 3-4 inches longer than the height of your notebook or planner. Tie the ribbon on the top wire ring of the notebook where each section starts; then, use the ribbon as bookmarks for each section, knowing which section each color is associated with. The ribbon is a colorful addition to your notebook or planner and helps categorize the various sections of your book!

Organizing notebooks with paper clips
Organizing notebooks with paper clips

2. Paperclip your important info

For the most important pages that you need to flip to quickly, use a pretty clip to create an obvious bookmark to that page. This is a great solution for referencing one, two, or even three priority sections in your notebook or planner; any more than this, however, and I would highly recommend using multicolored paper clips to create the same effect, but allowing for even more categorized sections.

Organizing notebooks with sticky notes
Organizing notebooks with sticky notes

3. Sticky note your way to categorization

Sticky notes can get lost easily when used on their own, but they become a super smart filing system for your notebook or plan when used effectively. Stick a sticky note sideways in your book with just the end of it sticking out. Then, just like a tab in a binder, write what the category is on that tab. For instance, "Business Planning" or "Weekly Assignments." Then, with each addition, move it down to the next open spot so the tabs don't overlap. Use multicolored sticky notes for different categories to keep your info even more visibly organized.

Each of these systems work beautifully on their own, but can also be a seamless organizational approach when used together.

The important thing here is that we're finding effective ways to work and live more productively so we get to spend more time doing the things we truly love. With a clean and easy organizational system comes peace of mind. Happy organizing!


  • Posted on by Jenna Murillo

    Love that pro tip, Sara!! Dividers are amazing, but sticky notes work perfectly in a pinch, like you said. :)

  • Posted on by Sara

    Yes to the sticky tabs! I want dividers, but trying to save $ so I put a sticky on the first page of each section of notes and we’re good to go. Pro tip: write the label first. :)

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