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Monday, December 19, 2016

Junk Journals, an Introduction: What are they and Why Make Junk Journals?

I recognize that the term 'Junk Journal' is something I created so others may not know what I'm referring to. Here's an easy definition:

Junk Journal:
A journal made out of paper (or other materials) that would be considered junk and thrown into the trash.

I've written a few tutorials on making these Junk Journals, so I thought it was time to put everything together in an easy to-do guide on my blog. Now that I had the chance to make a few, it's easier to compile what I've done and hopefully it will serve as an inspiration to you out there.

I guess the first question would be:

WHY? Why make a journal out of used paper, or even why journal at all?

Why keep a journal?
There are many reasons for this, depending on the individual, so I'll start with my personal reasons. 

1) For Organization
This is the main reason for my work journal, which I use to pencil in meetings I'm supposed to attend, and my all-important to-do list. I do this so that I remember all the tasks I have to complete and the deadlines I have to follow. 

Example from my work journal, made from an old notebook.

2) For Reflection
I also use my journals to reflect on the day and what I have to be grateful for. A gratitude log comes in handy for this and it can be as easy as just writing down one day during the day that you are grateful for. 

Example from one week in my junk journal.

At this moment, some of you may think, "But you can buy gorgeous planners and journals to do all of that! Why would you spend so much time and energy to make your own??" This is answered by the following 2 reasons:

3) For the Environment
Ever notice how much paper we use? At the end of the work year, I cleared my cubicle of all my unwanted documents and I ended up with a pile of paper a couple of inches thick. This is after I already threw out some stacks of paper. Not all the documents were printed by me either. Some were handed to me by well-meaning colleagues who wanted me to know the content of the documents. Obviously by end of year they were all obsolete. 

Usually, we'd just throw the paper into the recycling bin and I had to do that for a lot, but then I realized how many documents were single-sided. That left the other side of the paper blank to do whatever we wanted.

That's how much single-sided paper I 'rescued' and it's a small fraction of the paper I had to throw.

This got me thinking about the amount of paper we use despite living in an electronic world. Even though much of our work has been delegated to the Internet, it seems we still cannot do without paper. What if I extended the life of these documents further, by using them for just one more purpose, before chucking them?

And so, the paper helped me to serve my next purpose...

4) For Creativity
It really all boils down to this. I like to be creative. I like to see possibilities where others see junk and I like making those possibilities come to light. So where others see paper that's bound for the trash, I see paper that can be written on, drawn on, folded, cut, painted to anything I wanted. I like working with my hands that way, which is why online journals haven't quite cut it for me. Plus I really like it when the outcome turns out good. 

Yes, I like this layout and I'm quite proud of it, I'm not ashamed to say.

Is it hard? Yes. Some journals were a complete flop and I had to throw them.
Is it rewarding? Also, yes! Once I got the hang of a few basic skills, I realized how easy it was to give old notebooks a new lease on life and to decorate junk paper into what I wanted.

Are there drawbacks? Well, yes too. These include:

The need to buy some art materials. 
I use a lot of washi tape and stickers which I buy from scrapbooking stores. Yes, I do recognize that there's a certain irony in having to buy more materials to recycle some materials -_-!!! though it does serve the creative side. However, if you really want to keep costs down, all you would really need is a set of coloured markers and writing pens. 

The need for time. 
If you really want something that will earn 10K likes on Instagram, I hope you have the time in your busy schedule to work on that art piece! If not, you can also do simpler layouts with just your coloured markers that will still look good. Most of the time, I take a few minutes on a weekend to do that and then once in a while, when the mood strikes me, I do something more Instragram-worthy.

The need for ideas.
Sometimes you just stare at the blank page and you have no idea what to do with the blank pages staring back at you. You can take some ideas from the Instagram accounts I follow who post dazzling planner layouts. These include:
Inspiring Instagrammers

Phew! I didn't realize the list was so long! There's no way you can't have a few ideas from some of these talented planner ladies! 

Have I got you inspired? The next step is to just start and try one! I'll be talking more about the materials you would need and where you can get them from next! 

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