Should You Carry a Pocket Notebook? A Free Way to Find Out

Pocket notebook EDC

Have you seen other people carrying small pocket notebooks? Some of them look cool, don't they? Have you wondered how they use them and whether you should try one? You could run out and buy a 3-pack of Field Notes, a leather cover that suits your style, a bullet pen, and give it a try. But doing so would be a bit of a gamble. It would be a shame to spend the money and find out you had little use for this stuff.

The good news is that you can find out whether it would be helpful for you to carry a pocket notebook. The better news is that you can do so without spending any money. In this post, I'll share the method I used. I'll explain how you can use it to determine whether an everyday carry (EDC) notebook is right for you.

The Context of This Post

I've been spending more time on Reddit lately. That may be because I find that using Twitter is much less appealing than it used to be. I find the subreddit devoted to EDC to be a fascinating place. I enjoy seeing the items others carry. Most of it doesn't fit my needs, but some of it gives me good ideas about things to try.

One of the most common questions people ask has to do with why others carry a certain item. "How do you use that prybar?" It often seems that they like the idea of something but aren't sure they'd use it enough to justify the expense.

To be useful, EDC gear has to fit the person and their needs. It would make little sense for me to carry items I'd never use. I don't have unlimited money or pocket space. Unnecessary EDC gear would mean I'd have to forego something I could use. That said, utility is not the only consideration in selecting EDC gear. Someone else might put aesthetics ahead of utility. That is their choice to make.

Assemble Your Free Pocket "Notebook"

Now it is time to find out whether a pocket notebook should be part of your EDC. The first thing you'll want to do is find a pen. I'm sure you must have at least a few already, so grab one of them. A fine-tip ballpoint with a cap would be ideal, but anything will work. If you have a click-pen and prefer that, go for it. Even a Sharpie will do. The point is to use a pen you already have.

Next, start saving all the envelopes you receive in the mail. Once you open them and remove their contents, set the envelopes aside. After you have a few of them on hand, grab 2-3. Fold them in half or thirds, depending on the size of your pockets. Now stuff them in a pocket along with your pen. I will sometimes use a rubber band, paper clip, or binder clip to keep mine more compact in my pocket.

You now have a pocket "notebook" and didn't spend anything on it. It isn't pretty, but it is functional. Carry it with you everywhere for a few weeks. It will help you determine if upgrading your gear make any sense for you.

How to Learn From Your Free Pocket "Notebook"

As you navigate life with your new "notebook," pay attention to how you are using it. I use mine several times a day. I use it for grocery lists. I use it to record measurements before heading to the home improvement store. I use it for brief sketches when I'm trying to visualize something. I use it to record brief reminders of things I need to do. I have it with me all the time, and it gets a lot of use.

Also, pay attention to your pen. Does it ever jab you in the leg? Do you find yourself wishing it was smaller? I did, and this led me to start using a bullet pen. This has been the perfect solution for me. It disappears in my pocket, and I can clip it to my "notebook" if I want.

While I could use my phone for these things, I'd rather not. I prefer to carry my phone as little as possible. It stays on my desk at work and in my car when I'm going in and out of stores. I can write or sketch something in my "notebook" much faster than I can with my phone.

Your experience may be different. You might enjoy using your phone. You might discover that you are never using your "notebook." If that's the case, you don't need one.

What I Learned

The first thing I learned was that having a smaller pen was less annoying. My matte black Fisher Space bullet pen is tiny, has a clip, and can write at any angle. I wouldn't want to write several pages with it, but it is perfect for quick notes. I cannot feel it in my pocket, and I've gotten in the habit of carrying it everywhere I go. It is the most reliable pen I've tried.

I also learned that it would make sense for me to upgrade to a real notebook. Notebooks have several pages and are more compact. That makes it easier to keep their contents together. I am always losing my envelopes after I've filled them up and removed them from my pocket. Because there are so many of them, they end up scattered all over the place. This wouldn't happen with a notebook. Once I filled one up, I could replace it and keep the used one around in case I needed to refer to it.

A small stack of used notebooks would be much easier to manage than a pile of used envelopes of different sizes. As much as I love my envelopes, they are temporary at best. They don't work well for keeping information I'll need later. That task is better suited to a notebook.

Finally, I learned that I don't like being without a pen and something to write on. This was not something I was expecting. I have larger notebooks at work and at home. I figured that would be more than enough, but I realized that I don't carry them around with me. Having something with me means I use it when I need it. I don't have to try to remember something until I'm in front of a notebook.

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Image by Dmitriy from Pixabay