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Why do we keep buying notebooks?

Hi! My name is Vic, and I am addicted to notebooks.

I have piles and piles of different notebooks, sketchbooks and journals scattered around our house.

If you look in my wardrobe, you might discover one or two lurking underneath my clothes. If you rummage through my bookcase, the chances are a few blank notebooks will stare back at you. I will not even mention all the drawers and storage boxes. Just in case my other half reads this and hires a skip asap.

For years, I felt guilty for having this unhealthy addiction.

I would buy a new sketchbook and smuggle it into my house. I would then hide it somewhere away from curious and judgemental stares. I felt like a thief, as if I was doing something wrong.

There is nothing wrong, I suppose, with buying and hoarding notebooks. But when sorting out my drawers and stumbling onto yet another half filled notebook, I decided to get a bit deeper into this behaviour.

Why do we buy notebooks?

We buy notebooks because the ones we’ve got are too nice

Many notebooks are too nice to spoil. Their pristine pages make us want to caress them from the distance and dream about things equally distant.

I know I am guilty of leaving my notebooks as innocent as I first found them because I fear my smudgy and not immaculate handwriting will spoil the artistic soul of the notebook.

They feel too good to be written or drawn in. They feel like this historic monument that you can only look at. You might despoil them by writing in them.

We buy notebooks for a new project

Notebook serve as reminders of abandoned dreams

We start new notebooks when we start an exciting project that requires a separate notebook. It could be a challenge, a daily diary, a bullet journal or a gratitude tracker. When we had an idea to do this project, we strongly felt the need to dedicate a fresh, nicely smelling notebook to it.

And then one day it stopped exciting us. Instead of repurposing the notebook, we abandon it.


It might be because doing something else in that special notebook would prove that we started but didn’t finish something. It might remind us about our weaknesses and inconsistencies, and who wants to be reminded of those?

We buy notebooks because we must have them

Some notebooks call out to us, like seductive sirens.

And we must have them. We are seduced by the colour, the texture, the pattern or the feel of the pages inside the notebook.

We pass by them and decide not to buy them. Only to turn around, grab them and run towards the nearest cashier to make the notebook our own.

This reckless behaviour makes us feel good. The dopamine is released and we are happy. At least for some time. Sometimes it’s nice to be childish and reckless. If we want to have something, why not a new notebook?

But how many notebooks do we really need? What do we need them for? Do they need to be different notebooks?

We buy notebooks as they serve different purposes

There are different notebooks: sketchbooks, journals, bullet journals, dotted sheets and plain, pristine white and different colours of the rainbow.

It makes sense to have a different notebook to capture ideas and to-do lists. Buying a separate sketchbooks for drawing and bullet journals for habit tracking make a total sense.

But sometimes we get so carried away that every new or separate idea requires a new notebook.

Why do we buy so many notebooks?

  1. It’s a form of procrastination. If we don’t have a dedicated notebook, we can find excuses for postponing or abandoning a project.

  2. A new notebook makes us feel better about ourselves. We tell a lie that this new notebook would mark a start of something big and life-changing. And while the notebook is fresh, we truly believe this lie.

  3. We see ourselves as heroes of a sort, because we are preserving the beauty. We do not start, hence we do not spoil something unique and original.

  4. We don’t need to admit to ourselves that we left something unfinished. Instead, we hide the old notebook and open a new one.

  5. Notebooks allow us to escape into the dream world, where anything is possible. They give us this sweet taste of opportunities and possibilities.

  6. Notebooks help us keep anxiety at bay. Sometimes, buying a new cheap notebook is a difference between a bout of anxiety and an ok day. It’s not a long-term or a healthy strategy. But sometimes it gives us a respite, and that’s all we need to compose ourselves.

  7. Notebooks serve different purposes. Sometimes it does not feel right to mix and match emotions. You want separate space for dark thoughts and a special dedicated notebook for positive and inspirational ones.

  8. A form of therapy. Different notebooks allow us to create alternate realities. We could be someone else, express ourselves slightly differently depending on a notebook. We could assign it a role, and live a different life, even if only for a few minutes a day.

  9. They give us options and choices. When deciding which notebook to pick, we could make a conscious choice of what sort of day to have.

I currently own 14 notebooks and sketchbooks. They all serve a purpose, and I can justify their existence, just:

  • Notebooks to allow me to rant and complain

  • Positive therapy-like reflections

  • Lovey-dovey thoughts and feelings

  • Things that inspire and motivate me

  • My goals

  • Highlights and summaries from books

  • Tasks and to-do lists

  • Poems

  • Short stories

  • Blogging related

  • Comic strips

  • Watercolour illustrations

  • Gouache illustrations

  • Daily quick sketches

How about you? Do you binge buy notebooks?

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