My First Moleskine

I love office supplies. Sometimes my husband and I will browse Office Depot for no reason at all. Whenever we’re at a store I have to walk down the stationery aisle, just to look. But while I am fascinated by pens and paper shredders and industrial-strength staplers, my true love is notebooks. Notebooks, journals, planners, diaries – call them what you like, but I have a real love for bound writing spaces. I’ve kept a diary since 1991; I drag beat-up old spiral notebooks around with me all the time, and I even keep a notebook in my purse, just in case there’s something I want to jot down. Despite using online calendars from Outlook and Google, I can’t let go of my paper planner. I absolutely love filling in a new planner each year. My only hiatus was during grad school, when I used a clunky old PDA. It was perfect for someone who spent so much time at the computer but also needed to be able to take her planner with her. The to-do list was great for long-term assignments and the repeating event function was essential, as I actually forgot to attend class on a couple occasions. (Seriously.)

After I finished school the PDA was less necessary, as I suddenly had no homework to worry about, almost no repeating events, and a new reliance on Outlook for meeting notices. My PDA also was getting old enough that it would blank out and delete all my data from time to time, meaning I had to restore from the last time I synced with my computer. So I switched back to a paper planner. After a few years of waffling between weekly views and monthly views, little cheap ones that fit in my purse or larger ones that lie flat, and other such weighty matters, I settled on a single brand. For the last two years I’ve used planners from time.mine. I like the wide margins for lists and the space at the top for general week-related stuff (though I wish it wasn’t titled “my time this week” because that doesn’t make any sense to me). The spiral binding is handy (I cannot stand planners that don’t lie flat) but sometimes it gets a little bent and the back cover tries to escape from its mooring. The corners of the plastic cover are rather annoyingly sharp. Also, being 6″x9″ means it doesn’t fit in my purse, so I very rarely look at it outside of work. Which is silly, since all my work-related obligations are on my work computer.

Changes in my career and social pursuits have given rise to a need for more room for notes and a more portable design. I didn’t want one of those cheapo checkbook-sized calendars you can get at the dollar store; my purse is far too chaotic for something that flexible, and the planners inevitably get all bent up. They also don’t stay open very well, meaning unless I have a flat surface to write on, anything I write in there is nigh illegible, even to me. (And that’s saying something, given the cryptic nature of my handwriting in general.) So I did some research and decided to purchase my very first Moleskine brand planner.

If notebooks can be pretentious, then Moleskine is the top of the heap in that regard. People swear by them, mentioning how they were used by Hemingway and Picasso. Entire blogs are dedicated to them. They’re something white people like. People go to great lengths to customize them. Prominent Life Hacking sites write about them regularly.

Somehow, I can’t picture anyone showing the same devotion to Mead.

I never had any interest in Moleskine products because they’re so pricey: a small (3.5″x5.5″) ruled notebook retails at about $12. That’s more than many books that are already written in! (And Piccadilly makes a fine notebook for a fraction of the price.) In my own years as a diarist I’ve always shied away from the super fancy journals because I’d be afraid to write in them. I also prefer spirals for my diaries so they’re easy to write in on the go. My requirements for a good diary usually go in the following order of precedence: spiral, hardcover, lots of pages, narrow ruled.

But when it comes to planners, I’m picky. I’m a very “I’ll know it when I see it” kind of person. And this time around, the Moleskine hardcover 18-month weekly pocket planner really appealed to me in a way no other planner design had. I like that there’s a plain sheet of ruled paper on every facing page, giving me plenty of room for notes and lists. The paper is thick so ink neither smears nor bleeds through. It lies flat. It fits in my purse. It stays closed. It has a bookmark.

I don’t see myself picking up any Moleskine notebooks any time soon – they’re still way overpriced for me – but I may well be sold on the planners.

  1. I love office supplies too and have some that I really have no need for (like a laminator) but I just can’t resist them. I will have to check out that Moleskin calendar.

    • I have a laminator too. And a long-armed stapler. And several three-hole-punches. And I love them. :) Thanks for reading!

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