For the most part, I’m a feral notebook hoarder and that hoard is mostly full of everyday notebooks. Though, occasionally I do find an old leather journal in my stash, and that sort of notebook needs a special purpose.

a leatherbound notebook and fountain pen sitting in a pile of leaves with the text "17 Fun Ways to Use an Old Leather Journal"

That isn’t to say that you can’t use notebooks however you see fit. But for me, I know I like to make old leather journals special. I mean, they already have a special, old-timey vibe. Why not enhance it with the notebook content?

And with that I give you some super fun suggestions for how you can fill an old leather journal.

17 Fun Ways to Use an Old Leather Journal

If you aren’t the journaling type, you can use an old leather journal for any reason, not just journaling. And because I’m a feral notebook hoarder, I have a ton of ideas for how you can have some fun with notebooks.

001: Make long lists to remind you.

Do you ever need a reminder about why you like something? Maybe a reminder about why you do what you do? Have you considered keeping a running list of movies you love?

Because the leather notebooks are the type you want to keep around for a while, it can be the perfect vessel for running lists you may need in the future.

002: Practice your fantasy map making skills.

The best vintage leather journal in the world is surely full of maps to fantastical locations full of adventure and treasure, right?

I mean, I assume they would be. That’s why you could easily use a leather notebook for drawing very detailed maps.

This may seem like silly stuff, but what a fun, meditative activity. I mean, imagine drawing the coastline, the mountain ranges, and then finding all the perfect watercolors or colored pencils to compliment your maps.

Bonus points if when you’re done, you leave this journal in a conspicuous location for kids to find so they can obsess over finding all the treasure you noted in the maps.

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003: Use it for a specific project.

I like to create a notebook for every book I start. I even dedicated One Book July 2022 to creating a notebook for a novel series I’m working on.

I know a leather notebook can feel too precious for this purpose. But remember when we talked about using an old blank journal and how you need to rip the bandaid off and just enjoy a notebook?

Just use it.

004: Make a spell book.

Are you witchy? If so, do you need a spell book?

I’m not saying you have to go all-out grimoire with it. But you could record some things that are your personal spells. Like the recipe for a good day may start with 8 hours of sleep, a cup of black coffee, and a nice morning walk.

Whatever your spells look like, they’re going to look really cool in a leather spell book.

005: Write your future vision and plans.

If you know where you want to be in ten years, the best way to get there is write down what it looks like. Then, you can make a plan.

You could make a whole vision journal with images and sketches and lists and whatever you wanted. You could even track your progress toward that vision of your future.

006: Buddy write a story.

Are you writerly with a writerly best friend? Take that old leather journal, and write one chapter of a story in it. Then, pack up that leather journal and send it to your writerly friend. Instruct them to write one chapter, and when they’re done, they can send it back to you.

After a while, you’ll have a whole novel that you wrote together. Plus, you’ll get happy mail every-so-often in the form of this growing story!

007: Make a bullet journal.

I know that bullet journaling is hella common now, but you mostly see it in a specific type of notebook. Add gravitas and prestige to your bujo with a leather journal. They look cooler to carry around, and people will automatically assume that your plans are much, much more epic.

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008: Record recipes.

Whether you get them from a blog or an Instagram Reel, you need a place to keep recipes you like or want to try. I have a notebook full of recipes that I’ve made up on the fly, and it’s great to keep them organized.

009: Plan your online content.

I’ve written all about how to create an editorial calendar to help you plan your online content. There are tons of digital tools that will work for you, but if you’re a notebook person, you need a notebook.

Remember, the best editorial calendar is the one that works for you. So if you need pen and paper and not bells and whistles, use the pen and paper. And what finer paper than the old leather journal?

010: Write a haiku a day.

I think this project would be a lot of fun, if not slightly annoying. Fun to write when you’re in the mood, but terrible when you absolutely don’t have the capacity to think about it.

So, maybe this is something that sits by your bed and you write a haiku before passing out for the night if you feel like it.

011: Write letters to yourself and others.

If you have a vintage leather journal with lined paper, it may be a good vessel for letters. You could write letters to yourself, your younger self, your future self, or to other people.

You don’t have to send them, and you could write letters to people who can’t even receive them, like relatives who have passed.

012: Make a sketch notebook.

Unlined pages are great for sketching. If you want to practice line drawings or get better at cartooning, why not use an old leather notebook you aren’t going to use for anything else?

013: Track your dreams.

If you have a vintage leather journal with lock and key, you could use it as a dream journal. (I personally wouldn’t want my dreams visible to just anyone.)

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If you like to analyze the dreams you’ve had or look at patterns in your dreams, a dream journal is a great way to do that.

014: Create a TBR tracker.

I know you have a ton of books to read. I know that you will never get around to them. But at least you can use a notebook to write them all down. And hell, you could even separate them by genre.

015: Make a brain dump book.

If you’re like me, then your brain gets so full of all the things you have going on that you have to eventually get it all on paper. A nice leather journal could be fun to carry around for such an occasion.

016: Keep a quotes journal.

If you like to collect quotes, a quotes journal is a good thing to have. Once something strikes you, like something you heard or read, you can capture it quickly.

And if you have a quote you really like, you can take an old journal paper template and put the quote on that paper. Then, print it and frame it.

You can always use more good quotes to hang up around your home.

017: Write your life into existence.

If you have a plan for what you want to do with your one wild and precious life, you should absolutely consider writing your life into existence.

What Would You Do with an Old Leather Journal?

How would you use a leather notebook if you had one? Where do you like to purchase fine leather goods these days? How many notebooks do you have sitting around, waiting to be used? Be honest…

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