Last Updated on June 25, 2023
Do you have a ton of half-filled or empty notebooks lying around? 🙋♀️I think we can all relate to buying a journal or notebook, being super into it for several pages, and then letting it sit unused.
But why do that when there are SO many creative ways to fill up an empty notebook and make the most of it?! These empty notebook ideas have got you covered. From self care journaling, to fun lists, to keeping track of good memories, there’s so much you can do to make sure a notebook never goes empty again!
The habit of hoarding empty notebooks is so real.
First of all, let me just say that hoarding empty and half-filled notebooks can be a real problem! I could probably bet money that you have at least one abandoned notebook sitting around in your house somewhere. And I can’t say you’re alone in that.
But you’re in luck, because there a ton of cute and creative empty notebook ideas out there just waiting to be explored! Say you bought a new notebook (and oh how exciting it always is!) and planned to dedicate it to something in particular, but you’ve fallen off the wagon.
Well, who’s stopping you from taking that empty notebook in a new direction?! There are no rules here. If you bought a journal with the intention of dedicating it to a manifestation journal but now you’ve grown bored with that idea and want to turn it into an art journal, go for it!
Or maybe you love making lists. Maybe you love scrapbooking. The sky is the limit, and this post features a tonnnn of empty notebook ideas for you to fill up all those extra pages.
What to do with empty notebooks?
45+ Things To Do With Empty Notebooks
Creative Things To Do in a Journal
Looking to get into the creative spirit?! Awesome! These empty notebook ideas will spark your creativity and get you inspired to explore the fun side of journaling for pure leisure and enjoyment!
1. Creative writing journal
Starting off these empty notebook ideas is keeping a creative writing journal! This is perfect for short stories or brainstorming for writing a book! If you enjoy fiction and have all sorts of ideas for interesting stories, you should definitely write them down.
2. Bullet journal
Bullet journaling is super creative! You can create so many different spreads for planners, lists, memories, and more. Bullet journaling is meant to be very visual, so it’s the perfect opportunity to whip out the markers, highlighters, and washi tape!
3. Vision boards
When you think of a vision board, you might think of a wall collage. But you can also turn a vision board into something to fill up empty notebook pages! You can put together a collage of smaller, polaroid size pictures that represent your dreams, goals, or happy things you love. I have a whole post on vision board ideas if you want inspiration!
4. Inspirational quotes
Inspirational quotes keep us motivated, positive, and uplifted! Keeping a collection of your favorite quotes to refer back to can be so good for your mindset.
5. Collection journal
Do you enjoy collecting stamps, stickers, or polaroid photos? You can keep them all in one place to look back on in your journal!
Similar to the collection journal idea, you can also turn an empty notebook into a scrapbook for keeping memories through photos. I have a “guinea pig family scrapbook” for photos of my pet guinea pigs throughout the years! So you can always dedicate a scrapbook to anything you want 😊
On Customsticker.com, you can custom cut die-cut stickers, holographic stickers, clear stickers, and other products for decorating empty notebooks and making scrapbooks look fantastic.
7. Art journal
Art journals are great to dedicate to fun doodles, sketches, or anything artsy and creative. I used to always practice hand lettering with brush pens in a journal!
8. Gardening journal
Into gardening or want to take it up as a fun hobby? Why not keep a journal about all the things you want to plant?! You can keep ideas, gardening method notes, or anything relating to gardening.
Empty Notebook Ideas for Self Care
Self care is a non-negotiable. Make sure you’re prioritizing time to nurture yourself with these empty notebook ideas for self care. Release your emotions, get to know your feelings, and track your mental health progress!
9. Mental Health Journal
Journaling for the purpose of checking in on your mental health is so important. Of all the empty notebook ideas, this is most crucial. I’m always proactive in managing my mental health and journaling is hands down the best coping strategy for myself and many others.
If you wish you had guided mental health journal prompts conveniently bundled just for you, you’ve got to check out my printable mental health journal!
It’s jam-packed with 33 pages of writing prompts and mental activities for understanding your emotions, overcoming unhelpful behaviors, and reframing negative thoughts. Perfect for understanding things like anxiety and depression!
10. Brain dumping
Brain dumping is the practice of letting your thoughts flow right onto paper without any prompts. Brain dumping is probably the easiest way to incorporate self care into your journal because you just write what comes to mind!
11. Self care journal
A self care journal can be used to journal about your self care journey or plan out your self care activities. Check in on where you’re at mentally or plan for how you’ll get in one small self care activity each day! If you need self care activity ideas each day, check out my 30 Day Mental Wellness Challenge.
12. Spiritual journaling
Want to focus on spiritual growth? Journal about your spiritual thoughts, prayers, practices, or anything else that applies to your spirituality.
13. Morning/evening check in
I’m a huge fan of quick 5-minute morning and evening self care check ins! These are perfect for when you don’t have a lot of time or energy to spare, but you still want to stay on top of your mental health.
You can grab my (free!) daily self care check in sheet below for this! It helps you reflect on how you feel each morning and night and how your day went.
14. Daily diary
For a longer daily check-in, try filling up one page each day about how things are going. Did you do anything fun? Have some thoughts on your mind? Worried about something coming up this week? Write it down in a daily diary entry!
15. Unsent letters
Unsent letters are useful for the tough feelings we may face in our interpersonal relationships. The idea is that you write out all your thoughts and feelings as if you’re addressing it to someone specific in your life, but you don’t actually send it to them.
This can help organize your thoughts for later if you plan to confront the person, or you can just keep these thoughts to yourself.
16. Gratitude Journal
Expressing gratitude has powerful mental health benefits like increased positivity and reduced stress and anxiety. I love using a gratitude journal to reflect on all the good in my life, and it has genuinely changed my mindset for the better!
Want gratitude journal prompts conveniently bundled just for you? My printable gratitude journal has everything you need to practice gratitude each day and develop life-changing positive habits!
Includes 12 pages to break down your gratitude practice each morning and evening, as well as weekly and monthly. Jam-packed with thought-provoking gratitude journal prompts and activities to keep you focused and on track!
17. Meditation journal
A slightly different approach to these empty notebook ideas is a meditation journal. If you meditate, you can record how each meditation goes. Did your mind wander a lot? What techniques helped you stay present and grounded? Reflecting on your ability to feel calm and at ease during meditation is great to keep track of!
18. Manifestation journal
I keep a manifestation journal myself and I love it! This is where you can practice manifesting something you’d like to achieve by envisioning it down to the specifics. This really helps me believe in myself and my goals. I have a guide on how to manifest something through writing!
19. Journaling prompts
Don’t even get me started on journal prompts because this blog is ALL about them! I’m a little biased, but this is easily my favorite of the empty notebook ideas. Here are some journaling prompts to get you started:
- 70 Easy and Fun Journal Prompts for Beginners
- 52 Journal Prompts for Self Love to Empower Yourself
- 40 Trauma Healing Journal Prompts
- 60 Journal Prompts for Self Care When You’re Struggling
Writing positive affirmations that resonate with you is another way to improve your mindset by swapping negative self talk for positive self talk.
I have a deck of 40 printable affirmation cards made for journaling! You can paste them into a journal for a powerful visual reminder or even use them as journal prompts to reflect on how they make you feel.
Empty Notebook Ideas When You’re Bored
Hey, maybe you’re just bored and wanna do something you’ve never done before in your journal! You’re in luck, because these empty notebook ideas are the best boredom busters.
21. Record your dreams
Recording your dreams dream-journal-style is a great empty notebook idea! Noticing patterns in recurring dreams might even give you a clue to something you’re dealing with that’s going overlooked.
22. Books to read
I’m always seeing books I want to read but I forget to keep a note of them! This is why it’s not a bad idea to keep a list of books you want to read so you’ll always head into Barnes and Noble prepared.
23. Memory journal
Keeping track of good memories is so important! It seems like we always forget the little details after too much time has passed, so it really pays off to record memories you make while they’re fresh in your mind.
24. Life lessons
Have an amazing epiphany where you realized something important? Write it down! This is another great way to track your self growth too.
25. Travel ideas and itineraries
I never know where I’m going to travel next because there are just simply so many places I want to go! This is why it’s good to write down all the places you want to travel, along with the specific restaurants and activities in each place.
26. Restaurants/activities/things to do in your city
I moved to central Illinois in 2020 and while I think that I’ve covered all the ground in the last 2 years of living here, I kinda haven’t! There are still so many cool local restaurants and coffee shops I’ve yet to check out, but I always seem to stick to the same 3 places. Keeping a list of where I want to try would really help me explore more!
27. Bucket lists
You’re never too old to have a bucket list. Whether it’s a summer bucket list, or just a general bucket list of all the things you want to do before you die, it’s great to have things to look forward to!
28. Recipes to try
I know some people are more adventurous than others in the kitchen, but I LOVE finding new recipes! Any time you’re craving something, write it down and find a recipe for how to make it!
29. Hobbies to try
We ALL need hobbies. If your life is all work and no play, you’ll feel burnt out in no time. It’s never too late to pick up a new hobby, so go check out my list of 100 fun and interesting hobby ideas in your 20s!
30. Funny phrases/inside jokes
Ever since middle school, I’ve always kept various notes of funny inside jokes between my friends and I! This is a fabulous way to keep memories and cheer yourself up.
31. Food journal
If you have a particular health goal in mind, keeping a food journal is a good way to stay on track and assess your eating habits.
32. Nature journal
Next time you go on a nature walk or explore a new area, take note of what’s around and write it down! I love paying attention to different birds, cute little animals, flowers, and plants.
33. Astrology journal
If you’re into astrology, you can take notes of zodiac sign traits, zodiac sign compatibility, horoscopes, birth charts, or anything that interests you!
34. Gift ideas
This idea is simply GENIUS. Don’t you hate it when Christmas rolls around and you have no idea what to get your friends and family?! If you keep tabs all year long about the things they like, it makes holidays a thousand times easier.
Empty Notebook Ideas for Organization and Productivity
Time to get your life in check! If you could use a little more organization in your work or personal life, these empty notebook ideas for organization and productivity have you covered. Stay on top of good habits and plan out the best goals!
35. Goal setting
Writing down goals is important, but don’t stop there. You want to make sure you’re writing down both your goals and the habits necessary to achieve those goals. This is probably the most beneficial of these empty notebook ideas!
To do goal setting right, you need a game plan. I have a printable goal planner that will help you map out your goals AND habits in detail so you can achieve anything you set your mind to for work, school, or your personal life!
Use lists for anything under the sun! Books to read, movies to watch, your grocery list…just all the lists!
37. Habit tracking
Habit tracking is the perfect way to keep yourself accountable. My printable goal planner offers habit tracking pages for staying on track toward any goal. I’ve found that habit tracking makes it much less likely for me to fall off the wagon!
38. Budget tracking
Take charge of your finances by taking a deep look at your spending habits. There’s likely room for improvement somewhere in there, and seeing your budget laid out in front of you can really help!
This video shows you 10 different ideas for financial trackers you can create in a bullet journal!
39. Small business/side hustle journal
Have a small business or side hustle? Want to start one up? You can jot down business ideas or keep track of business stats.
40. Social media journal
Many businesses use social media in their marketing strategy, so keeping track of social media post ideas and stats is smart!
41. Event planning
Have a birthday, wedding, or big event coming up? Planning out everything you need for it on paper is useful!
42. Fitness journal
Write down fitness goals, workout ideas, or your workout schedule.
43. Study notes
If you’re a student, you probably already have dedicated notebooks for note-taking, but study notes can apply to things outside of school too. When I’m reading a nonfiction book or short course, I like to take notes on what I’m learning.
44. Master to-do list
You might already keep a daily to-do list, but having a master to-do list of all the things you need to get around to in the next couple months is so helpful. My master to-do list consists of health appointments I need to make, fun projects I want to take on, and clothes I need to buy for certain occasions.
45. Project journal
If you’re working on a project, whether it be for work or your personal life, you can map out the individual steps and supplies you may need.
46. DIY Projects
Keeping a list of the DIY projects you want to do and the supplies needed for them is also a big help!
How to Use an Empty Notebook Effectively
There’s a couple different routes you can go when deciding on the empty notebook ideas you want to use.
You can either go the artsy route or the productive route. Or a mix of the two!
Using an empty notebook for cute artsy things might look like:
- Creative writing
- Bullet journaling
- Vision boards
- Dream journaling
And using an empty notebook for productive things might look like:
- Improving your self care
- Exploring your mental health
- Work or business planning
- Habit tracking
- Budget tracking
To name a few! Those are some areas to consider when thinking about what you want to achieve with an empty notebook. Do you just want to use your journal in a leisurely, artistic way? Or do you want to improve yourself in some way?
Final Thoughts on Empty Notebook Ideas
Were you feeling stumped on how to fill up those extra notebooks you have lying around? Hopefully not anymore! These empty notebook ideas are here to fuel your creativity and inspiration. There are endless possibilities for sprinkling a little more excitement into your journals.
It’s pretty common to run into the dilemma of “what do I write about?!” when sitting in front of a journal. But now you have a tonnnn of creative ideas for filling up those empty notebooks! So get to it and tell me what you decide to write in your notebook the next time creativity strikes!
Let me know in the comments: