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Tag: How I Do Things

Paper System Changes

Posted in Paper

Last year, I wrote about how I was changing how I manage my pen rotation and my notebook/paper system. While the former is going very well, the latter, well, it’s a work in progress. It’s been about five and a half months since I switch to binders from my previous notebook system. And, unfortunately, it’s been rather rocky.

The short version is that I still don’t have a definitive system figured out. The long version is significantly more complicated. I don’t want to bore anyone, but I do want to share the issues I’ve faced so that anyone trying this switch can plan ahead. I’m tackling this by issue.

Time for a Change

Posted in Fountain Pens

Welcome to a post no one asked for. I always feel odd writing and posting these “how I do things” posts. But, they have good metrics, and generate some good conversation, so you must enjoy them.

For the first time in years, my pen rotation and notebook ended together. This seemed like an excellent time to shake things up a bit.

I’ve previously written about my pen rotation and notebook system, including actual notebook, layout, and cover. Well, I’ve changed all of it.

I suggest you go back and at least skim the posts about my pen rotation and notebook layout, but you don’t have to.

With that intro out of the way, allow me to share what’s changing.

Slowing the Shopping

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Personal

If you read my ADHD post, you know I have troubles with purchasing things. As it seemed that at least some of you found that post helpful, I’d like to share one of my biggest weapons in managing my shopping impulses, especially with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and holiday shopping coming up.

For me, the most helpful thing has been what I call anti-shoping mantras. These short phrases and questions let me pause my thinking long enought to reconsider what I’m doing. This extra moment is often enough to allow me to stop myself.

Ink Trading Cards

Posted in Ink

On Wednesday (7/20/22), I finished my new ink notebook and shared a video on Instagram and Goulet Pen Co’s Facebook group, Goulet Nation. The Gouletians — I think that’s what they’ve decided we’re calling ourselves — were over the moon and had so many questions and comments, I decided to write up a quick blog post.

First of all, as I mentioned in my last ink catalog post, this format — I’m going to call it ink trading cards — isn’t my idea. Most pen stores use it at pen shows. I really enjoyed the versatility of ink trading cards — you can rearrange the swatches to add and remove colors as you buy new bottles or get rid of old ones.

How I Choose Inks for My Pens

Posted in Ink

Alright, another post you asked for. My method of choosing inks for my pens is part data-driven, part personal preference. Ultimately, the actual “choice” of ink is only mildly influenced by the data-driven aspect. So, if you want to skip the data-driven bit, you won’t be missing out on too much.


Like with my pens, I try to ensure I use all of my inks. To do so, I have an Airtable view set up for ink usage. Every time I ink a pen (not counting my “always inked” pens), I check off the ink I used. I only let myself use an ink once per notebook.

What is “Decommissioned?”

Posted in Fountain Pens

I’ve had a few questions, over the past year, about my pen statuses. Most commonly, I’ve been asked about “decommissioned” pens. Since that status appears to confuse people, I’d like to explain what the various statuses I use mean.

In Rotation: A pen I own that is in active rotation use.

On Break: A pen I own that is not in active rotation. Typically, these are pens I’m trying to decide if I want to sell.

Ink Catalog Update

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Ink

Surprisingly, I’ve got a short post for you today. I’ve written about my ink cataloging methods before. I’ve swabbed far too many inks at this point to change my system. That said, if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t choose my current system.

Having seen many methods, my favorite is the one used by many pen stores: pocket sleeves in a binder. Vanness Pens has a post on Instagram that shows one of their binders of swabs (take a look around the 4:38 mark). The biggest pro to that method — for me — is being able to reorganize the swabs. Beyond that, you can use any paper you want to. And the swabs are more easily portable/storable than the col-o-ring. You can easily use sticky notes or washi tape to note which inks you own, or want to buy.

Inventory Method Update

Posted in Fountain Pens

Three and a quarter years ago, I wrote about inventories as part of my fountain pen series. Bac then, I was using Google Sheets to keep track of my pen and ink collections. Of course, at the time, I only had 50 total pen records.

As my collection grew, I found that I needed something with more features than Google Sheets. After some searching, I found Airtable. It’s basically a WYSIWYG database. You can customize your databases quite a bit, if you’d like, or you can work with very basic features. You can use most of the features with a free account, but there are additional features and reporting abilities available with a paid account.

Journey to the Right Layout

Posted in Paper

I always feel a little presumptuous, writing these “here’s how I do things” posts, but you all seem to really enjoy them. So today, I’m sharing my current notebook layout and how it’s evolved into this over the years. I’ve just started a new notebook, and this seemed like the perfect timing for the layout post I’ve been planning.

Note: Please excuse the redactions. Some info I just can’t share with the world.

My current layout.

Deciding Which Pens to Sell

Posted in Fountain Pens

This seemed like an apropos time to share this post, with the DC Pen Show going on and other pen shows (hopefully) to come later this year. Lots of us sell pens to give us bigger pen show budgets. That’s probably why I’ve seen some posts recently wondering how to decide which pens to sell. If you’ve never sold a pen, the first one can certainly seem like a wrench. And the occasional posts about seller’s regret wouldn’t help that feeling.

I give my sales significant thought, specifically to avoid that horrible feeling. On the hope that it might help someone, I’m sharing how pens end up on my “for sale” list. I love being able to sell a pen to pay for a new one. I want to make sure that I’m very clear that this post is about how to choose what to sell once you’ve decided that you want to sell pens. It’s not about telling anyone that they should sell pens.

Using All My Pens

Posted in Fountain Pens

I’ve had several people ask me how I use all my pens. I went through a few methods before I settled on the current one. It seems to be working pretty well. I’ve gone through 4, maybe 5, rotations with it so far, and I don’t see myself changing it any time soon.

The base of my strategy is separating my pens into categories. It doesn’t really matter what the categories are, you just don’t want more categories than the number of pens you’ll have in use. I keep 5 pens inked — not including my always inked pens — and split my pens into “Less Expensive” (under $250), “More Expensive” (Over $250), and “Indie Pens” categories.