I recently bought several Scrubby Reusable Whiteboard Notebooks in the large 8×10 size after trying one and deciding that it was right for me. Although the environmental factor does appeal to me, I’m more interested in being able to hand write as many rough drafts and notes as I’d like and then erase them to reuse the notebook rather than dumping it or sending it home while I’m travelling.
Obviously, then, this journal isn’t for those who want to keep every little bit of writing for sentimental value. (I do have a gorgeous leather journal for keepsake purposes.) For the rest of you I’ve written a review of the notebooks themselves and several pens that work with them.
- 20 sheets/40 pages, unlined
- Comes with a Staedtler correctable fine point pen (I somehow lost 3/5 already)
- Thin and lightweight
- The first thing of note is the sturdy cover. At both the front and the back is a thick, slightly flexible cover. I definitely agree with the product description that these covers could take a beating!
- The pages themselves are fairly thin and flexible, but strong. No worries here about them accidentally ripping out of the notebook.
- The cover page with the illustration is a little flimsier, but I can only nick it a little when I attempt to tear it. (I’m not great at tearing things, though.)
- The whole thing is waterproof. Sort of. I ran it under the bath faucet and the sharpie didn’t erase, but was somewhat easy to smear and might smear just from the pages rubbing if left that way for very long. Other pens would fare worse. Also the front cover page sustained a bit of water staining.
- The cover images (except “Imagine”) are created by homeless and at-risk youth and a portion of the proceeds go to non-profit organizations that serve them. I haven’t looked into this, so those who are picky about where they donate will want to do their own research.
- Easily erased. Almost too easily. A not insignificant amount is erased simply through the pages rubbing together as you carry it around.
- After one week of sitting was easily erased with both dry and wet cloth.
- After two weeks of sitting was erased with a dry cloth with some scrubbing. Easily erased with a wet cloth
- Ultimately would recommend this for people who don’t need to keep and reread what they write, but an erasable notebook with fewer pages may suit their needs better.
- With a bit of effort can be erased with your finger for a minute or two after you’ve written.
- The most durable. Hard to get off with either a dry or wet cloth after it’s set, but easily comes off with rubbing alcohol.
- Smears a LOT when erased and gets all over the cloth. Although I wanted to like it, this made it impractical for major use.
- Some colors, especially the lighter ones, rub off more readily than black. Tan in particular rubs off more than is ideal from normal page rubbing.
- After one week was easily erased with rubbing alcohol.
- After two weeks required a good amount of scrubbing even with the rubbing alcohol.
- Ultimately would recommend (black color) for people who want their work to stay intact and who don’t mind a little extra effort to clean it off.
- Somewhat pricey and limited options
- Smears quite a bit, and readily erases, when the ink is wet.
- After it sets can be erased with the felt “eraser,” but this leaves a bit of residue and can be tedious for much more than a few letters.
- Tip dries out after several seconds without use. Can be reactivated by replacing the cap for a bit or by scribbling.
- After one week could be erased with a dry cloth with some effort and a wet cloth easily.
- After two weeks could be erased with a wet cloth.
- Ultimately would recommend this for people who want a good balance between staying power and ease of erasure.
My pen turned out to be dried up, so I only got a small bit of coverage. After two weeks it resisted erasure with a dry cloth and erased easily with a wet cloth. I suspect this would be an excellent option, but would need to do more testing.
Other Erasable Notebook Options
There are notebooks with only a few pages if that’s all you need, though the ones I saw tended to have thick pages. Some of the other options are laminated paper and won’t hold up as well. There is also at least one with lined pages.
There are also microwaveable notebooks that you can reuse a few times (5 seems to be the average) before there’s too much ghosting of past work for it to be usable. While this is probably easier than erasing by hand, it seems a bit of a waste to me.
In the end I decided that the Scrubby brand notebooks were the best value for the money, but YMMV. As always, really research your options so that you know you’re getting the right product for your needs!
While they aren’t for everyone, I would definitely recommend these notebooks to anyone who wants to cut down on waste or who hates shopping for new notebooks (gasp!) or who for any other reason is interested in reusable notebooks, as long as they are willing to go to the effort of erasing them. Left handed people who have a smearing problem, however, may find that even sharpies smear too much for the notebooks to be usable.