Smash Book vs. Junk Journal Compared: What’s the Difference?

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How do you like to store valuable items and memories? While there are so many ways to do so, the most conventional and original ways to do so are to store them in smash books or junk journals.

Knowing this may spark the question: what is the difference between a smash book and a junk journal?

Smash books and junk journals are very similar when you consider how to make them, but are different in their uses. Smash books are best to store random items and thoughts, while junk journals usually have more specific themes.

What are the uses of smash books and junk journals? Which is best for you? We’ll cover these questions and more in the rest of this article.

open diy creative journal decoration

What Is a Smash Book?

A smash book is an archive of random but valuable thoughts and items.

For example, you can store birthday and anniversary cards in the same book where you can also store some of your written wishes.

Think of smash books as scrapbooks but without any theme or topic. This means that smash books are simply books to store anything.

Uses of Smash Books

Smash books are very useful. Here are some of their uses:

1. Store Valuable Items

You can use your smash book to store some items that mean a lot to you. For example, your wedding invitation card, birthday cards, or even pictures of your hiking trips. You can store all of these in just one book, so you get to see everything of value in a single book.

2. Express Your Lifestyle and Personality Without Limits

Of course, you can store everything in one book as there is no specific theme to limit what you can store in a smash book. So long as an item or thought matters to you, it can go into your smash book. You can customize all these random thoughts and items to make a beautiful book.

3. Piece of Personal Art

A smash book is your personal art. You can use it to decorate your shelf. It is personal and valuable as it contains items and thoughts that matter so much to you. You do not want to misplace your smash book.

DIY handmade decoration for journal

4. Store Anything and Everything

Unlike scrapbooks and junk journals, you can store anything that you feel like keeping in your smash book. This is the major use of smash books: to store anything.

5. It Is All About Memories

It does not matter what you store in your smash book, the major use is a book that you can use to visit the past. Seeing random items and photos can make you smile and happy as you look through the content on each page.

Now you know a lot about smash books and their uses. Let us consider what junk journals are.

What Is a Junk Journal?

Junk journals are just like scrapbooks, but the items and thoughts you store in a specific junk journal have a specific theme.

You can use random books, images, and colors to make your junk journal, but the content you add to it after making it is usually streamlined. On this note, you can say that junk journals are theme-specific.

Colorful handmade junk journal on green background

Uses of Junk Journals

Of course, junk journals have a lot of uses. Let us consider some:

1. Express Your Creativity

Just like using a smash book, you can express your creativity in your junk journal. From making the book itself to adding content to its pages, you can make precious art with your junk journal.

2. Store Theme-Specific Items

The major difference between junk journals and smash books is the specific themes. You need a theme when making a junk journal. You wouldn’t use a junk journal you use for your hiking trip to store wedding anniversary photos. These books have a theme or topic.

3. Notetaking and Planning

You can use your junk journal to keep notes. You can also use the book as a functional planner. This means that your beautiful book can serve as a tool to make you super productive while you document the past in it.

4. Gifting Others

You can make a junk journal for others. Junk journals come with a theme, so you can make a junk journal with a theme that matters to someone and gift that person the book. They will surely appreciate you for this gift.

‘I’m gonna live my life’ dusky pink rose pastel colors, planner. Arts and crafts, handmade.

5. Piece of Art

Just like smash books, you can use your junk journal as a piece of art. Keep it on your shelf or anywhere close to you so that you can view it and remember your past (in a specific theme).

Now that you know what junk journals and smash books are as well as their uses, continue reading to learn their differences.

What Are the Differences Between a Smash Book and a Junk Journal?

Here are the major differences between a smash book and a junk journal:

1. Theme and Customization

Remember that smash books do not have a theme. Everything can go into any smash book. It is simply a memory book that can show you random memories. Smash books are all-in-one, so scrolling through a smash book can always make you smile and be surprised.

Junk journals, however, come with a theme. You can use junk journals for anything that you want, but store your thoughts and items in a junk journal only when they match the theme of the book.

2. Their Uses

While junk journals and smash books have similar uses, they also have different uses. For example, you can gift a junk journal to someone, but it is best that people make their smash books by themselves.

You can also use junk journals for notetaking and planning. It is rare to see people using their smash book as a functional planner.

Monthly calendar on a bullet journal page

3. Number of Books You Need

Junk journals require more resources to make because of their specific themes. You cannot use a junk journal which you use to take notes of your traveling journal to store your childhood photos. This means that if you have a lot of thoughts and items that you’d love to store, you might be needing multiple junk journals for the specific themes.

Smash books, however, are all-in-one. This means that you can use one smash book for all your items, thoughts, and activities.

4. Items You Store

Smash books come with the advantage of storing anything valuable. If you have a junk journal, you may not properly store a valuable item because you do not have a junk journal for that type of item.

In a smash book, however, you can easily store any valuable item without thinking about themes.

5. Their Size

Junk journals have specific themes, so it might take you a long time to completely add content to your book. You can, however, easily fill your smash book with content as anything can go into the book. Smash books will usually look bigger than junk journals.

Which book do you think is suitable for you?

Journal and craft materials for designing

Which Should You Use, a Smash Book or Junk Journal?

Want to know the best book for you? Here’s a guide:

  • For Planning: If you want to use your book as a functional planner, you should consider creating a junk journal.
  • For Journaling: Just as in planning, you should get a junk journal for notetaking and journaling.
  • For Random Stuff: Do you just want to store random items of value? Use a smash book.
  • For Stickers and Images: You can use both smash books and junk journals to store your stickers and images.
  • When Traveling: If you are a traveler and want to store memories, you should use a junk journal.
  • Keep Something That You Cannot Give Up: While you can use both books to store your valuable items, smash books are best fitted for this job as they contain many random and valuable thoughts that matter so much to you.
  • Making It as a Gift: Junk journal. You can only give your smash book to very close people such as your kids. You can gift a junk journal to anyone that you like such as a friend who will appreciate your junk journal theme.

Does a smash book or a junk journal fulfill your needs?

Final Thoughts

Both smash books and junk journals are important when you consider their uses. You can use both or you can get one that suits your need and lifestyle.

Remember to store your valuable thoughts and items so that your future self can have a memory book to remember the past.


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