Desk, version 3For many years, I thought I needed to choose one standard size to guide the majority of my paper choices. After years of frustration (and half empty books) I finally realized that my standard size has been set for years; it just isn’t the same size for every task (d’uh). Since I’m an A5 girl living in a letter world who loves the stationary and office supply stores, it took me a while to realize this, but it’s comforting to know that—in terms of paper at least—I’m organized and consistent. It’s ok that I require more than one size to meet my paper needs. In the coming days, weeks, months, and years I hope I will stop trying to make myself fit into other systems. I hope that one day I will recognize that I know what works best for me and while it’s a different system than that of others it really is what I need to use. You would think I’d listen to myself. You see, since I began, my mantra to clients is that you shouldn’t fit yourself to the technology, but find what works best for you. If you thrive on a 2 day per page filofax awesome! If a Palm Pilot is what helps you get through the day, go with it, you won’t see me using either of these however. Please don’t make a choice just to be with the current technology*. Make an informed decision that fits you.

Following are some of the paper choices which I feel fit me best. They aren’t perfect choices yet. But I’m happy with them and when I find something more better if I really want to, I will switch. Though perhaps I should have just written a list of what I won’t use^^. That would be shorter. ;) Also please note that this list is mostly just for sizes. Paper is a whole other post …

  • 3×5 cards have their use for scrap notes, book marks (and notes) and shopping lists.
  • The personal size paper in my filofax has been my ultimate choice for my all-about planning needs for the past fifteen years. My brief adventure with A5 has a use, please see below.
  • I like to write letters on 6″x9″ paper best. I’m still looking for a narrow ruled option.
  • I like the “large” moleskine size for my private journaling needs. It must be hard covered and lined.
  • I prefer the “large” moleskine for my daily work log, but will happily take a composition book. It must be grid. I wish I could find one that has numbered pages. I’ve been looking at bates stampers/auto numberers, but haven’t made a decision about that yet.
  • For my scribbling notebook, I will either use A5 “lesson” books or a composition book. The composition book must be 9¾” by 7¾”. It must be lined. I have an eco one with light brown lines I will try out soon.
  • I like A5 for class notes. I think if I had a proper office I’d probably use an A5 as my “desk calendar” but as my space is quite limited, I don’t currently see it as an option. I’m going to try to use some Muji paper and a 2-ring binder this term. We’ll see.
  • I will use US Letter when I have to. But chances are I’ll try to fold it in half and make it A5-ish instead.
  • I like to use 11″x17″ as a desk blotter to scribble things on when I am doing long-range brainstorming. (I’ll talk about this another day, but I often use crayons here).
  • I do have uses for the “small” moleskines, but I have come to realize that do not like this size very much. I have yet not found a travel journal I like and do not really want to schlep the large one with me around and about. I’m currently contemplating a few options, but need to use up my current volume before I buy more.

Why do I prefer the A4 to the letter size? Good question. I wish I knew the answer. Beyond that I seem to be a UK girl stuck in the US (in terms of how I write dates, bar my zeds and sevens, and tend to spell by default), I think it’s the geometry and maths/geek aspect.

What does this mean this realization that I’ve set paper standards for myself? It means that I can now invest time and money in either making or purchasing covers for these standard size books. I’m looking for a nice composition book cover as I think what I want is beyond my current sewing skills. We’ll see what time and some creative googling bring. It also means I can devote resources to tweaking them to make them better and more efficient tools for me. Look for more posts on this in the future, though as to when, I can’t say.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to share this, but here you go. If you have suggestions as to narrow ruled nice 6×9-ish stationary, please let me know. I can and do write on blank paper, but am still childish enough in my letter writing to want a guide.

Are you as particular to your paper choices as I am?

* I know that it is often difficult to resist the siren call of new technology. I’ve been crackberry free for quite some time now, though I must admit to missing aspects of it (especially since I ditched texting because my plan was too expensive [I pay ~ $40/mo]). So far, I’ve resisted an iPhone ($$/mo charge) and am very happy with my 2nd gen iPod, which while it is “only” a 4giger I have yet to fill up.
However, there are times when an upgrade that will provoke scary and turbulent change is necessary and will be beneficial in the long term. Please don’t forget that (my friendS with Office ’97 in particular).

^^ I am not a fan of spiral notebooks, though the around A5 sized green “easy eye” ones I have a soft spot for. I have lessened my love affair with 3-ring binders, so we’ll see how long this A5 binder lasts in the fall term.

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One Reply to “Standard”

  1. Not to overstate it, but I think having, writing on, and receiving a variety of paper sizes is one of life’s pleasures. The whole ‘variety is the spice of life’ thing.

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