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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.

Pen Rotation

OK, this is the one changing the least. I’ll still be picking my weekly pens with a randomizer app, and I’ll still use five pens a week, divided into less expensive, more expensive, and indie-made categories.

However, I now have “part-time rotation” and “retired” pens. The “retired label is for pens that have sentimental or collector value to me that I don’t want to use. These include pens like my Lamy Safari Dark Lilac — I don’t care for the nib at this point, but I won’t get rid of my first non-preppy fountain pen — and Hello Kitty Preppy.

This label does not include pens that I can’t use, like my first year Pelikan 100 that has stress fractures on the nib. It’s still “Decommissioned” because I’d totally use it if I could get a new nib.

“Part-time rotation” is, ultimately, a result of having too many pens. I wanted to trim down my collection beyond what I managed in a brutal declutter last week when I picked 16 more pens to sell. So, for some of my older pens, I’m starting a “part-time rotation” category where I only use them every other use rotation. We’ll see how that goes, and if I feel a need to put them back in full-time rotation.


I’m leaving behind notebooks to join the binder world. While working on an upcoming Plotter series, I decided a binder system — especially the ability to rearrange pages — would work better for me than my previous notebook system. We’ll see if I’m right.

I chose an A5 Kokuyo Pastel Cookie binder for my personal binder and a B5 Kokuyo Smart Ring 60 for my work binder. Yep, I’m separating them for the first time ever. I’m not positive I’ll maintain that long-term, but I need a way to more easily find my work notes, and more space in my weekly tracker for work. Also, both binders are thin enough that I felt I needed a division.

Set up for the personal binder is proving interesting. I’m sure it will take me a while to figure out a good weekly layout, how I want to organize the contents, etc. I also recreated some layouts from the Rhodia Goalbook — specifically ones I use for blog planning — and developed some new layouts I can print out to spend less time making tracker spreads. I look forward to not drawing three graphs every month.

Unfortunately, I’ve also had a setback already. It turns out that not all Kokuyo loose-leaf paper is the same. I need to test it some more, but expect a post on that soonish.


I’m also making myself a cover for my personal binder so that I have the same pockets I’m used to with my current notebook cover. I may make more later to change out with the seasons or as the mood strikes.

Wrap Up

It’s too soon to tell if the binder system will end up being better for me long term. It’s nice to be able to rearrange pages — I’ve certainly been making use of that — add in any paper, and print out layouts. However, there’s a satisfaction to finishing a notebook and setting up a new one that I won’t have anymore.

SIDE NOTE: because I won’t be “finishing” notebooks anymore, I’m going to track ink usage by pen rotation instead of by use within a single notebook.

I’ll keep you posted on how things go. Hopefully it will only be good news.

Do you use a notebook, binder, or both? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading to the end, I hope you enjoyed my post. Make sure to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram so you don’t miss any posts. I generally post at least once a week.


  1. C Wimbish
    C Wimbish

    I’m very curious about your pen randomizer process. Is this an app you are using? Spreadsheet? It sounds like a great tool for those of us that have a robust collection

    November 5, 2023
    • I manage my pen and ink collection using Airtable. But the randomizer app I use is Random Number Generator by UXAPPS. You can input a list and have it randomly generate choices without repeats until it goes through the list.

      November 5, 2023
  2. nancy

    Any images of the new notebook system? Always like to see how others are doing to see if I should try out something new.

    November 3, 2023
    • Not yet. I’m still figuring things out. Maybe in a month or two.

      November 3, 2023

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