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The Art of Commonplacing Examples and Ideas

The Art of Commonplacing Examples and Ideas

In the age of information overload, the practice of commonplacing stands as a timeless and invaluable method for cultivating wisdom, preserving insights, and fostering personal growth. Commonplacing, also known as keeping a commonplace journal, is a centuries-old tradition that invites individuals to curate a collection of quotes, thoughts, and reflections in a single repository. In this blog post, we’ll explore the art of commonplacing and provide examples to inspire you on your journey of creating a unique treasury of wisdom.


Understanding Commonplacing

Commonplacing dates back to the Renaissance, where scholars and thinkers maintained “commonplace books” as a means of organizing and cataloging knowledge. The concept is simple yet profound – when you come across a thought-provoking idea, quote, or passage, you jot it down in your commonplace journal. Over time, this collection becomes a personalized reservoir of inspiration, insights, and reflections.

Setting Up Your Commonplace Journal

  1. Choose Your Journal: Select a notebook or journal that resonates with you. It could be a leather-bound classic, a sleek modern design, or even a digital platform if you prefer to keep your commonplace book online.
  2. Organize with Categories: Divide your journal into categories based on themes that resonate with you. Examples include Quotes, Personal Reflections, Wisdom from Books, Inspirational Stories, and Ideas for Creativity. What works really well is to have a color key (like stickers) so when you flip through the journal you can quickly see the color and therefore the category/topic.
  3. Include an Index: Reserve the first few pages for an index. As your commonplace journal grows, this index will help you quickly locate specific entries or themes.

Commonplacing examples

Consider these commonplacing examples for you to try out:

  1. Quotes that Resonate: a Common place book is a great way of collecting quotes that resonate with you.
  2. Book Excerpts: a common use of a Commonplace book is to note down passages from a book that are important to you – that can be personal or form a study perspective. Feel free to add your own notes to it.
  3. Personal Reflections: even though many would say Commonplace book is not about journaling your own thoughts, you are free to do what you want to do. So keep track of your own thoughts and feelings, or note down your thoughts about the things you are collecting.
  4. Passages from Literature: If you are reading prose or non-fiction and a certain passage resonates with you, add it to your Commonplace book and add any thoughts that might occur.
  5. Poetry: You can keep track of poems that you love and preserve in one place, very similiar to quotes.
  6. Inspirational Anecdotes: Either you hear or read about a (personal) story of someone, write it down, so you don’t forget about it.
  7. Book of shadows: A Commonplace book is very similiar to a Book of Shadows that occult practisioners use to collect esoteric knowledge
  8. Recipes: write down recipies that you self created or someone with you shared.
  9. Creative Ideas: A commonplace journal is the perfect place to keepp track of any creative ideas for perrsonal projects. Especially as the things you are collecting and contemplating are probably also the things that inspire you for new ideas.

Also check out our article about 15 different journaling techniques and our 37 ideas what to do with an empty notebook.

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Benefits of Commonplacing

  1. Knowledge Retention: Commonplacing aids in retaining and internalizing valuable knowledge and insights.
  2. Personal Growth: Reflecting on your entries can foster personal growth by providing a record of lessons learned and milestones achieved.
  3. Creativity Spark: A commonplace journal serves as a wellspring of inspiration for creative endeavors, from writing to art.
  4. Mindful Living: Engaging with your commonplace journal encourages mindfulness, as you actively seek and capture meaningful moments and ideas.

Conclusion Commonplacing examples and ideas

We hope you enjoyed our article about Commonplacing with examples and ideas! In a world inundated with information, the art of commonplacing offers a refuge for distilled wisdom and personal reflections. As you embark on this journey, remember that your commonplace journal is a living document, evolving alongside you. Let it be a testament to your intellectual curiosity, emotional growth, and the beauty of a life well examined. May your commonplace journal be a sanctuary for the thoughts that matter most to you.


Editorial Note: Morella&Ulalume Editors may earn a commission on sales made from partner links on this page, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations.
Furthermore the content of this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Prior to making any health-related decisions, including the use of supplements or dealing with decisions that can affect your mental health, it is advisable to consult with a qualified healthcare provider.


by Morella

Morella is a passionate journaler and stationery enthusiast who wholeheartedly embraces the world of art and creativity. Her boundless enthusiasm is not just evident in her colorful and beautifully decorated journals, but also in her desire to inspire others to unlock their inner artists. With a deep love for doodling, drawing and bullet journaling, she has found a perfect blend of artistry and organization. Elena’s unique perspective combines artistic expression with structured planning, showcasing the profound ways in which creativity and mindfulness can be intertwined for a more fulfilling life.

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