Better Labeling for My Journals

When I fill up a volume of my journal, I usually stick a label on the spine. The label contains the volume number, the dates that the journal covers, and the entry number range included in the volume. I give each entry a unique number and index my journals using these numbers so it is nice to have them on the spine for quick reference. Sitting on the shelf by my desk, these labels look like this:

my journals with white labels

The problem, as you can see from the photo, is that they peel off easily. On some volumes, I’ve tapes the ends of the labels onto the notebook. On others, I keep trying to get the label to stick at least once a day. It isn’t pretty no matter how you look at it.

Not long ago, over on Facebook, my friend Michael A. Burstein was looking for a way to label his Field Notes notebooks clearly on the inside front cover. On some version of the notebook (those with lighter covers) it is easy to scribble in the information. On ones that are dark, it is harder. Ultimately, Michael’s solution was to use a pen that could be easily read on dark surfaces.

I went online to see how other people handled this problem with Moleskine notebooks. Most of them did what Michael did. So, I ordered some Sharpies that are designed for writing on dark surfaces, and this afternoon, I pulled off the labels from my journal notebooks and instead, used the Sharpie to scribble in the results. I think it came out looking pretty good:

my journals labeled using sharpies for dark surfaces

It is clear, legible, and nothing is peeling anymore. I am happy.

Incidentally, I was reminded earlier today that I have never written about how I index my journals. You can see the smaller index notebook on the top of the stack. I’m not sure if how I do it is the right way to do it, or if there even is a right way, but you can expect post in the near future on just how I go about indexing these journals. Once you see how I am doing it, I’d be open to suggestions for improving what is certainly something of a hack.

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  1. I take a black sharpie and write the dates of the journal on the edge side of the pages and then store them on the shelf spine to the back. I guess I could use the light colored sharpie on the spine. I don’t like the stick on labels either.


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