Although I use my Google calendar for most of my scheduling and reminders, I’ve always liked having a physical, tangible planner to keep me company. The last couple of years I’ve used a Happy yearly planner, and I loved the fantastic graphics, motivational quotes, fancy tabs, and beautiful covers. Before that I really enjoyed the coolness of the Moleskin planner as well. But I realized last year that I just don’t use it often enough to justify the cost, and the weight of carrying it around in my bag. I don’t use it consistently every week, so I end up with a bunch of empty pre-dated pages at the end of the year, and then end up buying one for the next year, only to end up with a bunch of empty pages as well.
I’m not sure how or when it hit me, but when it did, it was like a giant light bulb went off: AN UNDATED PLANNER! Brilliant! I needed a planner that I could fill in whenever I needed it. And so my search began for the perfect undated planner. I can’t remember how many I looked into, but suffice it to say that planner ads are still coming up on my social media feeds (and yes, I clicked on almost every one at first to see if it was “the one”). Although I guess all it takes to get ads on your social media is one Google search, so that’s not saying much. Let’s just say, I looked at A LOT of different planners.
And not a single one was quite hitting the spot. I wanted something I could customize and add my own templates to, something small-ish, in a format that I could switch pages in and out of. I kept hearing Jeff telling me “don’t buy something just to buy something,” which I often do just to not have to keep shopping for stuff, haha. And so another light bulb lit up: I’M GOING TO DESIGN MY OWN PLANNER. And maybe become a millionaire. This is it. This is my idea that makes me a self-made millionaire.
While I was trying to figure out what the first step is in designing and producing something on your own, I went back to going through my Bloglovin feed (I’ve kind of just switched out two social medias for another one), and I randomly stumbled across this blog post. My internal reaction was a combination of internal hysterical laughter and ugly crying. Of course someone created basically the thing I was thinking about. And of course, it’s free.
So, aside from crushing my dreams of being a self-made millionaire (because I definitely would have pursued this idea and gotten it into production somehow…I would never just let this project slide down on my priority list and be forgotten for all eternity…) I was pretty excited to discover all the free planner printables from The Handmade Home.
I downloaded some of their designs (I went with the A5 size to keep it compact), then had to find how I was going to put them all together, along with my own templates that I wanted to use.
I ended up finding this Martha Stewart Discbound Journal at Staples, but the tan version:
I also purchased tabs like these (I got the 8-tab one because I love tabs)…
And these bookmark checklists…because I love bookmarks and checklists…(these come in such a high quantity that I’m happy to share some with you if you send me your address, haha):
I was pretty excited once I found a notebook style that would work for what I had in mind. The size was right, and the discbound format meant that I could move pages around easily. My next hiccup though was getting the right hole punch so I could print out the free printables and my templates, and put them into this journal. After some Google searches and watching a few YouTube videos, I decided on this one:
I know…I know…at this point, you and my husband are probably saying “isn’t it cheaper to just buy the dated planner and throw away the left over sheets?!” THAT’S NOT THE POINT, GUYS! The point is: I want something that’s more functional for me. Plus…you know…I can reuse this stuff all the time…I’ll basically never have to buy anything again! Except for…paper.
I didn’t want to use regular 20 lb white paper, because…well… for one, boring, and for two, you can see through it, and for threes, it just doesn’t feel like a planner. But 60 lb card stock felt like over kill…by the time I added in all my pages I would still be carrying around a five pound planner.
I found the perfect compromise with the Staples Premium Ivory 32 lb Laser Paper. I couldn’t find a link, but if you love planners…odds are you also love an excuse to walk through an office supply store…(lucky for you: the paper stash is all the way in the back!).
After that, I just had to print and hole punch! Which…always easier said than done. To fit the size I needed, I had to use the “two pages per sheet” setting on my printer, and flip the page around and back and forth to get what I wanted on each side. Not the end of the world, but not as simple as hitting “print” and being done.
To make the most of the sheets, I tried to combine different templates together so I wasn’t leaving too many “blank” pages. So I combined my to do list template (which is a combination of my own preferences and a to-do book I found at Michaels) with a grid page template on one side, and an upcoming schedule template on the other. So when you’re flipping through the pages you’ll see: grid page on the right, flip and have centerfold with my two page to-do template, flip and have an upcoming weekly schedule where I can break down some of my to-do’s by day.
I left the outsides of my meal planner template blank, since I plan on pinning those to my fridge every week and therefore won’t be seeing the back side of those anyway. But I like the convenience of having these in my planner where I can brainstorm future meals whenever I want to. I’ve previously used this meal planner (just hot glued a giant magnet to the back of it) and have loved it (and it’s so pretty!), but I also love the idea of having a grocery list that already includes the stuff that I know I buy every week – and broken up by sections (if anyone wants an editable version, just let me know).
Finally, I really wanted to include some blank versions of my event planning template, so I modified it a bit to fit the format and size of my planner. I like that I’ll have these in one place instead of loose leaf sheets in my bag.
Disclaimer on my templates: they’re not pretty, and they’re not perfect (I couldn’t get them to print without giant margins, which made the font a bit smaller that I would have liked). But I’ll slowly improve them and make them nice with colors and fonts and borders. Someday they will wow me! But for now: they are functional!
Now…to find the right pen…I did find these, but if I had it in me to exchange them again I would go with a .5mm retractable pen, so I don’t have to deal with the hassle of taking the cap off.
Do you use a planner? What features do you look for?