My 2020 DIY Address Book

As a lover of pencils and analogue writing, I’m obviously a fan of taking the time to write snail mail. I’m all for e-mail or a quick text, but there is something special — even more so these days, given the prevalence of electronic messaging — about taking the time to write a letter or card. In order to do so, you need addresses; and in order to keep your addresses straight, you need somewhere to keep them.

Toward the end of every year, I do two things. I update my Rolodex, which is a neat and tidy place where I keep all of my addresses organized and in one central location. Then I make a new address book, so I have a portable version. However, it’s pretty hard to find an address book that I like, which doesn’t cost an arm and a leg — and anyway, considering how few people there are that actually want paper mail these days, most commercial options are overkill. So, what to do?

I get all punk rock and DIY it, of course.

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Nice paper going to waste? Make your own notebook!

The world of notebooks is fraught with peril. It seems like most of the notebooks I find with great paper come in a format that I’ll never use. Then there are the notebooks that I pick up for a specific purpose, fill up half or 3/4 of the way, and then I’m simply done — there’s nothing left to add to them. I’m sure there are plenty of other scenarios that all result in the same thing: a bunch of perfectly good paper going to waste because I don’t want to use the notebook that it’s bound in.

So, what’s a writer to do? Cut the excess pages out and make another notebook out of them, of course.

It occurred to me, while scouring the internet trying to find the perfect Traveler’s Notebook insert, that anyone can make one of those things. It’s literally just a bunch of pages folded in half and sewn together. All you need is some filler paper (see above), some kind of hardier cardstock-type paper for a cover, a cutting tool of some sort, a needle, a thread, and elementary-school level sewing skills. The hardest part is finding the right paper, but if you’re in the same boat I am, that’s already taken care of. The rest of it is easy peasy lemon squeezy. I’ll show you how.

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