What is a commonplace book and why you need one now

What is a commonplace book and why you need one now! | Petite Mélanie Here's why you should keep a commonplace book, starting today! Let me tell you exactly what is a commonplace book and why it's been missing from your life.

Welcome to the blog! This week, I want to talk to you about something I’ve recently discovered and tried for myself: a commonplace book.

Now, you might be wondering: what the heck is a commonplace book? I’m here to tell you exactly what it is, and why you will want to start one today!

But don’t worry, it’s not here to replace my Bullet Journal! In fact, they serve two different purposes and should be kept in different notebooks.

Without further ado, let me tell you what exactly is a commonplace book and why you need one!

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What is a commonplace book?

*Sources can be found at the end of the post.


noun. a book into which notable extracts from other works are copied for personal use. (Google)


Commonplace books have been around for a while, as far as antiquity, but they’ve mostly been kept from the Renaissance to the 1800s. They “are a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books” (Wikipedia). They serve as a place to write down everything the user wants to keep for a later use: quotes, notes, recipes, proverbs, thoughts, poems, prayers, etc.

Basically, whenever you come across something that resonates with you, or you hear something that moves you, you write it down in your Commonplace book.

Instead of pulling out your phone and opening your Notes App when you want to remember something you read or heard, use a Commonplace book!

Why you should keep a commonplace book

Commonplace books are a great way to inspire you and allow you to focus. They let you write down something relevant, ponder on it, and return to it at a later time.

For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.

-Michelle Obama, Becoming


However, they are not diaries. They are instead a place to safekeep little pieces of information or inspiration that you can look back on at a later time. If you are a writer for example, they are a great way to store those words you’ve been thinking of but haven’t quite been able to feature in your next novel.

Commonplace books give you a break from the fury of information that is social media. Instead, when you read something meaningful, they give you the opportunity to think on it, write it down, and come back to it later for inspiration.

Start yours now

There is no need to wait! Start your Commonplace book today. Grab a simple blank notebook (like this one from Amazon) and start jotting down quotes, song lyrics, poems, even tweets that inspire you.

We are all bombarded by information every day, it’s impossible our brain retains more than 5% of it. That’s why a commonplace book is so important. While your Bullet Journal allows you to get organized and write down your tasks and your goals, it will help you keep important thoughts, sayings and quotes.

I’ve myself just started mine, and will be posting pictures on Instagram eventually. Maybe I’ll even do a follow-up of this post with tips to help you keep a Commonplace book. Let me know in the comments below if that’s something you’d like me to write about!

Until next time!


What is a commonplace book and why you need one now Here's why you should keep a commonplace book, starting today! Let me tell you exactly what is a commonplace book and why it's been missing from your life. | Petite Mélanie



How And Why To Keep A “Commonplace Book”, Ryan Holiday

Commonplace book, Wikipedia

The Commonplace Book as a Thinker’s Journal, Kevin Eagan

Check out these posts about the Bullet Journal to get even more inspired!


  1. Kayla says:

    I never knew this sort of thing had a name… I sorta just called mine a random notes notebook, because it’s isn’t a journal and most things aren’t even my own words so, this is really cool. Thanks for sharing and teaching me something new.

  2. […] Commonplace Books, Harvard Open CollectionsCommonplaces as figures of speechA new method of making common-place-books, by John Lockehow to start a commonplace BookWhat is a commonplace book and why you need one now […]

  3. Burcu says:

    How has it been going with your commonplace book? The idea excites me but I’m not sure if I can keep up with it, or if I can find what I once noted in the notebook, or I don’t know… I am keeping up with BuJo but I used to suck at journaling. So I might feel intimidated. I wish I had an opportunity to read up your experience further.

    1. Hi there! My Commonplace book is going well, thank you! Of course, I don’t use it every day, like my Bullet Journal. Only really when I want to remember something or feel inspired! I might eventually write a post and show the inside of it 🙂

  4. […] What is a commonplace book and why you need one now – PetiteMelanie.Com […]

  5. Amy says:

    I love the idea of this because I have inspirational little notes all over the place. And having a home for them sounds awesome. Gonna start a notebook just for this! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  6. Rosa says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I recently heard the concept of a commonplace notebook and am curious about it. This was very helpful!

  7. Missy says:

    I love having a good reason to buy another notebook! But this does seriously sound great…and I retain things so much better when I actually write it down versus typing into my phone!

  8. Mint Miller says:

    I love this idea! Time to buy another notebook.

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