I f you didn’t catch my earlier posts about the 5 minute journaling system I use, you can read how I initially started my journal system for busy people on index cards two years ago and my even better 5 minute journaling system for 2015. When I started this project, I knew that I was going to need some way to catalog my index cards once they filled up. The berry basket is pretty much at capacity with 365 index cards – so once those are filled, they need to move out to make room for new, blank cards.

My dream was to find a way to display the previous cards so Bobby/myself/future generations/anyone interested could easily flip through and read this little journal I’ve created. I envisioned having something where I could open up to a page and (eventually) see what happened on August 12th, for instance, over the span of multiple years.

My first thought was some type of simple photo album with pockets. Of course, I knew EXACTLY what I was looking for and couldn’t find it ANYWHERE. It would have roughly 6 photo pockets on each page. Each pocket would be vertical and nearly exactly the same size as my trimmed down index cards (because, you know, it would totally make sense to have a photo album that didn’t fit the traditional size of photos). It would need to have 365 front and back pages so that I could pop in multiple years worth of cards as this project went on. I would even be willing to be flexible and split this over two books if required.

And you know what? I could not find this ultra-specific, ultra Grace-perfect photo album anywhere. What are the craft stores thinking? Can you believe this photo album doesn’t exist??

It was time for Plan B. It seemed that the convenience and professional look of photo pockets was not an option. I would have to go a more customizable route.

Enter: Moleskin notebooks.

I realized that these Moleskin notebooks might do the trick. I thought long and hard about their dimensions and played around with arranging my notecards. I figured out that I could have a full-page spread for each day of the year with room for 9 year’s worth of cards if I ordered 7 notebooks. Each notebook has 60 pages, so 2 month’s worth of cards can be pasted into each book (I’m also using the front and back cover pages as a spread) – with the only exception of pesky July and August which will have to share a notebook and have the audacity to BOTH have 31 days. (Now that I’m deep into the project, I’m going to try to squeeze them all into 6 journals – I’ll add a few pages if I have to…then I can use my extra Moleskins for gifts or other projects.)

The notebooks came in packs of three. These are the ones I found on Amazon (that’s an affiliate link if you decide to try a similar system or if you’re just looking for some amazing, quality notebooks. You can’t beat these.). I ordered three packs for a total of nine, gorgeous notebooks. Yes, there are cheaper spiral bound notebooks that could also do the trick but, seeing as the plan is for these to be treasured and displayed on a shelf, I wanted them to look the part. Plus, I’m excited to decorate the front of each notebook in some whimsical, beautiful way and the kraft paper will allow for that.

I spread my supplies out on my desk – notebooks, index cards with journaling from 2013 and 2014, and photo stickers similar to this. I wanted each card to be really secure on the page, so I put the photo stickers on all four corners…multiply four by 365 and you get a bucketload of stickers. I quickly started to cut the stickers in half to make them stretch farther. In hindsight, I should have purchased mini stickers and eliminated this step. Alas.

I put an episode of Shark Tank up on my laptop and started the tedious (but easy) process of peeling of sticker backings, cutting them in half, and attaching each card to a page of the notebook.

Currently, the pages look pretty lonely with one little card on the upper left-hand corner…

But just LOOK at what this will become as the years march on!

As I mentioned in my earlier post, the size of my cards evolved this year so I can fit a bit more onto them…so the first card isn’t going to quite match the sizes of all the others, but I’m okay with that.

The pages are substantial but just thin enough that I was able to see through them – so after I got the first card in the exact position that I wanted, it was easy to make sure all the other cards in the book were in the exact same spot on subsequent pages.

Ever since I started this journaling system, I had this nagging voice at the back of my head, pestering me about how I was going to organize my cards once they were out of the berry basket…and now the problem has been solved! Victory is mine!

Once I’ve decorated the covers of the notebooks, I’ll share those as well.

What about you? If anyone has started a journaling system or done a spin-off of this one, I’d love to hear about it in the comments! Here’s to documenting life!