Do you have a stash of empty notebooks in your home? If so, how long have you had them? And do you really need them or are they actually clutter?
In most of the online clutter clearing courses I teach, there’s a moment when someone mentions how many new notebooks they have in their home that have never been used. Then others chime in to say they have some too. We’re not talking two or three notebooks per person here, as this photo might suggest. It’s often double figures.
The record so far is 76 notebooks and 48 notepads of various sizes, ranging from full to pocket-size, plus 55 assorted notepads obtained for free from businesses and charities. All blank and unused.
Empty notebooks are the “just-in-case-you-need-them-some-day” type of clutter. Most people are willing to let go of items they have had for some time that have never come in useful. But it can be a very different story when it comes to empty notebooks. Here are some of the excuses I’ve heard:
- I use a lot of notebooks so they are all sure to be needed at some time…
- I’m saving this one for a project I’m planning to do…
- I can’t throw this one away – it’s so beautiful…
- Notebooks never go out of date…
and so on.
Of course the marketing of notebooks is done very cleverly these days, targeting impulse buys as well as people who genuinely need a new notebook. They’re now in gift shops, department store, and supermarkets as well as regular stationery stores, making them even easier to find. Ah, the sweet smell of new paper! It’s pure nectar to the dedicated paperphile.
How to tackle a notebook stash
The first thing is to go around your home and gather all your notebooks into one place. Create a notebook shelf or pile somewhere. Then count them.
Next, figure out how many notebooks you actually use in one year. Divide the first number by the second, and you will know how many years of notebooks you have in stock. This is called a reality check.
Suppose you discover you have 20 notebooks and you use, on average, two per year. This means you won’t need to buy any more for another ten years. And if you do fall prey to a pretty cover one day while out shopping, make a deal with yourself that if a new notebook comes into your life, then an old one must leave, so at least the number won’t be increasing.
And what if you find you have more notebooks than you can possibly use in your lifetime, as some people reading this will certainly do? Keep the best and donate the rest so that someone else can have the pleasure of using them.
Copyright © Karen Kingston 2014, updated 2020
Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy
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