How To Remember Things The Easy Way

easy way to remember things

Sometimes there’s too much to remember! The easy way to remember things is to write them down!

I suppose it’s sort of cheating… but hey, who cares – it works.

It’s especially useful during times when you’re preparing for a big project or event with lots of things going on or to deal with.

You might think of things during any time of the day (or night!). The thing is, how to remember things… and to be assured of recalling those things later. So I find that it’s best to write them down — in a notebook.

Oh I know that some of you are all sorts of organized with your favorite electronic device or App. But I find that lists of things to remember written in a small notebook are so much easier (and faster — at least for me) than typing things into a device.

I can type on a standard keyboard really really fast. And I’m fairly quick on the small keypad of my phone. But there’s nothing like a written list. And that list stays in my pocket – almost all of the time.

The batteries will never go dead on the device shown above. It will never have to be charged up to view the lists of things to remember. If an EMP strikes, I can still see it. ⚡

How I Remember Things

First, I bought a bunch of small mini composition notebooks. They’re cheap.

Next I picked up a nice leather cover for the notebook to slip inside and be protected.

Lastly, I bought one of those Fisher bullet pens (the Space Pen). Actually I have several of these. I like that they’re small with a cap – to keep pen from leaking while in your pocket.

After that, I just write things down!

I keep the notebook in the left-side large pocket (just above the knee) of my cargo/tactical pants. Or similar side pocket of my shorts during “shorts weather”.

How I Use The Mini Composition Notebooks

When they’re tucked in the leather cover, these notebooks last surprisingly long.

I might have a few sections of lists (topic related or other temporary categorical list subjects) separated by several blank pages.

Other lists are simply jumbled unrelated things that I’ve thought of. At least they’re captured in writing until I decide what to do about it.

As things are dealt with, I simply draw a line through it. Every once in a while I might re-write a list on a new page. When a page is used up and done, it can be carefully (but easily) torn out and thrown away. I say carefully just because I like to tear the paper straight down the binding. Nice-and-neat.

The Trick To The Method | How To Remember Things

The trick is, to periodically look and read your lists! Otherwise what’s the point… Take action on items or decide not to (and then cross it off).

Sometimes I transfer some listed items over to my laptop (e.g. a spreadsheet list, etc..), depending on what it is. I treat the notebook list as a temporary placeholder anyway. Things to do. Stuff to buy. Things to remember.

In conclusion, since I don’t have photographic memory, I find this method useful. Besides, I’m not as young as I used to be and we begin to have increasing difficulty remembering everything!

Mini Marble Composition Notebooks
(view on amzn)

Mini Composition Cover

Fisher Bullet Pen

Continue reading: Another Survival Preparedness List


  1. I started doing this in my early 30’s. I was working with the elderly and saw how hard it was to get them to even remember to write things down. I figured that if I started to write things down while in my youth, I hoped that that habit would stay with me into my senior years when I would need it most.

    1. As a side note. The act of just writing things down seems to help me recall it better as well. Not so with typing.

    2. @Lonely Peanut. You make a very valid point. I hold the same point of view when giving crime prevention advice to the elderly. Its pointless overwhelming someone in their later years with a whole array of procedures and gadgets and stuff. Old habits die hard as you age and learning and imprinting new ones in your later years are even harder. Vidgelence and Situational Awareness are not just going to kick in by itself as you age. In fact the opposite will happen. When it starts to happen is varies from person to person. For some it starts in their 50’s and for some much later. Keeping a journal is indeed a great way to fight the realities of dementia. You are never too young to start writing stuff down, but you might just be too late to start a new habit that at first requires true determination to establish as something very natural and very useful.

  2. Making a list everyday is the only way that works for me.As soon as I think of something to do or get I have write it down.

    Also there is this women that loudly reminds me a lot. She looks familiar
    and says that we have been married fifty two years.
    Maybe but I’m not sure.

    1. I have a perfect memory. Her name is Judy.

      I worked with a doc who said med school was a breeze because he had a photographic memory but in his early 30s he ran out of film.

  3. Hey NormlChuck:
    We’ve been married 55 yrs. and are constantly reminding each other !
    (Until we forget to remind each other.)

  4. As I have aged my memory banks are overloaded with “stuff” and I find a 3″x5″ memo book and pen are valuable things to carry in my shirt pocket.I get a positive feeling when I cross off something on my list. In these times we are in, something positive is a good thing .

  5. We constantly receive note pads from different military organizations. These are used for grocery items, then those products are organized by which store they will be purchased from during a sale.
    Repairs that need taken care of immediately to the ‘honey do list’. Helps keep me on track, as there are days,, then there are days!! (run in circles)

  6. Keeping a notebook around is a great idea. Project notebooks a must.

    Might I suggest that you use a “write-in-the-rain field book” for keeping notes. These have treated pages that will allow you to write on wet pages with a pencil or the fisher space pen, or a regular pen when it is dry. They can get doused with water and not bleed. (Used them underground exclusively, as you always had water dripping on you from the back.) You can find them on A, just use Ken’s link below to get there and find them.

    With the advent of sticky note pads, I started writing notes on them, much to the dismay of my DW. I have way too many scraps of paper lying around. I suppose I should go back to the old field book, won’t lose as many ideas as I do with scraps of paper.

    1. I often use sticky notes too. I will label parts at work with them to remember who they are for or where to return them.

  7. These days when I pull out the pen and paper or pocket notebook, I frequently hear the comment: “OK boomer”

    I find myself surrounded by youngsters carrying some time of smartphone with an app.

  8. I don’t have a notebook to keep in my pocket but I do have one beside my computer at work and one beside my recliner at home. I will make notes and fold them up and put them in my pocket. Often they are getting ragged around the edges by the time I’m done with them.

  9. and no spell check to auto-correct your message into something unintended! :-)

  10. Would that be extreme to jot down what you’re going in the other room for?

    1. Chevy,
      Depends. If I am going to pick up more than say 5 things in another part of the house or the farm, I will try to jot them down first. that way I don’t leave anything out. the number of items that will propagate the list has decrease to 5 with age, used to be 10, a few years ago. LOL.

  11. Yes! My method too. Wish I could get my other half to write things down also. Refuses to do so. And this is the first thing I recommend to others who ask me about our ‘lifestyle.’ Get a pen and paper (notebook) and write anything and everything you think of in it. Then organize your lists: Projects, purchases, daily to-do, etc., etc. I couldn’t get half my day accomplished without my lists. I also schedule a day “off” now and then.

    List-makers rule!

  12. I have a notebook, but it is filled with all the darn PIN numbers, passwords, account numbers, security codes, … for all the sites we shop at. I’ll be happy when I can just use an eye scan for all of it. Can’t be less safe than all of our information floating around other there now.

    Okay, okay, I will go and change all my passwords in twenty accounts again – every month – gets real old. Some will say, password manager, but having tried that once, it seemed to be more of a hassle.

    1. Ohh I forgot the second notebook. The one with all the secret verification answers, What was your grandmothers maiden name, what is your third most favorite animal. What was the name of your third grade teacher, what were the three passwords you used to get into your mail five years age, ….

  13. Spreadsheet for full year project items, categorized by Personal, Outside, Inside and Miscellaneous (Misc.-all the hunting, fishing and other stuff). Weekly to do list updated each morning. Like others carry a small notepad when a thought hits, jot it down or it’s gone for a while. The current year spreadsheet tracks estimated and actual costs: a completed line item is cut/pasted to a closed project tab, easy to review, prioritize and track spending to the financial budget. Otherwise would be doing random sh$t and dumping dollars. Easy to review the previous years of what has been done. Easy to decide what’s important and what’s nice to do. Clears the mental clutter and frees the mind to focus actually doing multiple projects.

  14. I’m sorry guys… What are we talking about again? I forgot 😣

  15. I know I’m not the only one that took out the notebook to write down something and by the time you got your pen aimed at the paper you forgot what it was.

  16. Every since my MS Outlook took a dump, I only use pen and pad….address books are alphabetical and great for finding non-address notes.

  17. I have a few pocket-sized notepads with a leather-like feel to them and a zipper. But only for backup.

    My normal note system is a Palm Pilot (Tungsten E model) I have used a Palm for years, they are very inexpensive on E-Bay these days as it’s seen as old-tech. I have a few backup Tungsten E’s.

    A Palm is an extremely good note, memo business system to use. I carry it on me all the time. Also you plug it into the computer (USB Cable) and hit backup and the computer copies all the files on the Palm.

    If the Palm dies all I do is plug in the backup Palm and hit the sync button and it restores all the files within a min or so.

    I use it for all kinds of things, I always have a complete database of all my customers, my suppliers, cost estimates for jobs, lots of prepping files. It has a search feature that will search out any word I want and bring it up within 1 few seconds.

    I could live without the Palm (been using one since about the year 2000 or so) but with the low cost on e-bay I won’t have to.

    Before the Palm I use a Daytimer but the Palm outshines it easily as far as use. I can look at files from 15-years ago and have the info I want in a moment.

    I thought about using the note feature on my Moto smart-phone but it’s rather limited and I just don’t trust Google not to have access to my phone and all that is in it. And the Palm is without question the best portable electronic file system there is.

    Also I can put info into the Palm program on the computer, sync it up and it transfers it to the Palm hand held.

    On e-bay a Palm Tungsten E goes for $15.00 to $30.00. Yea some crazy people want $100.00 plus for one but no need to go that high.

    A few years ago I bought a new fold-up keyboard for my Palms at a garage sale (still sealed in the clam shell plastic) for $3.00

    The only problem with buying a used Palm is the battery is getting old, at least 15-years. But you can buy Palms with new battery installed by the seller on e-bay. Also you can buy batteries locally.

    I usually get 4-years out of a Palm, I would probably get more but I abuse them by always having it in my pocket (in a leather case).

  18. PS: I also have the Palm paswoord protected so no one can look at it if it were to get lost or somehow were to fall into the hands of bad people or even the Police.

    I keep some things on it that I don’t want to share with others. And if the file is password-protected on the Palm hand held it will not show up on the computer. It’s there as it will get restored to a new Palm but invisible to anyone that opens the Palm computer program.

    PPS: Palms are old and need Windows 7 or older to work on a computer.

    I have an old Win XP game desktop and that has the Palm program on it.

  19. Notes, do-lists, and passwords are only for paper & pen.
    I haven’t resorted to quill and bottled ink as standard fare yet, but someday…

    Once upon a time, the electric grid went down. Everyone learned that it was caused by an EMP. Some of the boomer generation knew how to get by: they had stored foods and emergency supplies, had farm skills, and the ability to write, spell, and communicate without electronic gadgetry. The younger generations, Millennials, Gen X-ers, and other assorted brain-dead children-of-tomorrow, were struggling to communicate without their small 3-inch x 5-inch black tablets…They stood in crowds with similar problems, pointing at an older group of people who appeared to be well-fed, and all they could say was, “Boomers”


    1. (Once upon a time, the electric grid went down. Everyone learned that it was caused by an EMP. )

      You know that’s very unlikely. Yea it could happen but not something I think we are going to have to deal with.

      It’s good to have paper backup (and I do) but it is pretty nice to use electronic things for file systems.

      I also have an older Nook E-Reader that has a LOT of PDF files on it about all kinds of SHTF subjects and E-Books in EPUB and PDF format that is also backed up to a burnt DVD.

      With the Nook I can carry 2,000 books or more and files on any and just about every subject.

      Try to carry 2,000 + books around, pretty much impossible to do. But with the Nook I can carry many times that much and it only weighs a few ounces.

      And I have a few fold up solar panels (with USB charge ports) to keep all my USB devices topped off.

      All this info is a powerful survival tool that nothing short of a room full of books can come close.

      Whatever way works for us is good, but it’s pretty hard to beat the power of electronic storage.

      And what if an EMP never happens? Why limit yourself to a few notes?

  20. I have multiple notebooks and journals, including a weather journal and Christmas journal. In addition to my notebooks, I have several lists around the house. I keep several ongoing lists; grocery shopping, chores, meal planning. I’m just not a techy person and prefer to write it down. I agree that writing things out helps us to remember them.

    I admit it…I go down to our basement several times a day, where our pantry/storage is, and often wish I had written down what l went down there for.

  21. Kinda related subject.

    Do any of you stock a well-rounded library of info on all kinds of subjects that would be handy if we ever did get a bad SHTF?

    I have thousands of files (PDF & EPUB) burnt to DVD’s so any computer with a PDF reader program (Acrobat) can read them.

    I also over the last few years have built a book library on many survival subjects. Probably 200 books.

    I like reading actual books more then a computer screen (I read a few books every week, have done so for 40-years), but electronic storage is so handy and powerful as far as content.

    If it ever were to hit the fan bad this info could go far to help people.

    1. I do, of a fashion anyway, wouldnt really call it a library cause it isnt too well organized, but have books on everything from gardening and growing food through leather working and braiding and stuff like blacksmithing. Books like the Fanny Farmer Cookbook, a few other similar, even books on edible wild plants and medicinals.

  22. Where did you buy the nice leather cover?

    Remember Palm Pilots? Since I keep this in my back pocket I call it my Butt Pilot.

    Watch out for glued bindings, they’re worthless, make sure you get the mini composition notebooks with the sewn bindings so they don’t fall apart.

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