2017: The Year of the Planner

2017: The Year of the Planner

2017, as I’m sure has been seen, was undoubtedly the Year of the Planner here at Bibliophilotherian. I spent a lot of time (and money, unfortunately) trying to find the ever-elusive *~*~*~planner peace~*~*~*, and find it, I finally did.

BUT, just for funsies, here’s a run down of all the different types of planning styles I tried this year.

Style #1: Traditional Bullet Journal

This is what worked for me throughout most of 2016, and for solidly half of 2017. I was working out of a single notebook, an A5 Leuchtturm 1917. It was everything you expected a traditional bullet journal to be. I drew out my monthly, weekly, and daily spreads, I had collections, I used markers and colored pencils and attempted (key word) to make it look attractive for the Internet. And yet, I wasn’t entirely happy with it. I hated (and I mean hated) having to draw out my monthly and weekly spreads. I am not a creative person, and so I always felt like I was falling short of the fantastic Instagram bullet journal spreads. I know this was not the purpose of the bullet journal, but still. I didn’t like that I had to spend an hour or more every week just trying to make it so I could start to plan for the week. I try to be more about function over form, and that just wasn’t very functional for me. (Important to note at this point that I had already starting doing the two-column style daily planning, and that has been consistent across all these different styles I’ve tried). Enter planning style #2, stage left, please.

Style #2: Bullet Journal in an A5 Traveler’s Notebook

Sometime in June, Foxy Fix held one of their fabulous Mystery Sales. I had been doing some research in the bullet-journal-in-a-traveler’s-notebook community for a while, and I was really thinking that this was going to solve all my planner problems. After all, the TN style gave me the ability to have an insert for dailies, an insert for collections (solving that pesky your-notebook-is-filled-but-your-collections-aren’t-complete-so-you-have-to-redraw-everything-in-a-new-notebook-every-six-months problem), and pre-printed inserts for weekly and monthly calendars, which is like the key for me.

So I managed to snag a No. 8 Foxy Fix in the Mystery Sale and I anxiously awaited its delivery to my door. Now, I’ve seen some very poor attitudes towards the Mystery Sale in the My Foxy Fix group on Facebook and in general on Instagram – everybody wants to pay half price for a FN, nobody wants to get a single-strap FN. People would legitimately be bitching about getting a crazy good discount and *~*~*~only~*~*~* getting a single. Like #1, be happy you got anything at all. #2, sell that shit if you don’t like it. #3, stop bitching that is such a first-world problem omfg.

Anyway, I digress. I got a No. 8 Sugar Cotton Candy single-strap with no stitching in the Mystery Sale and I was stoked. After all, this was just an easy and inexpensive way for me to try out the bullet-journal-in-a-TN method. I loaded up the single (managed to fit six or so inserts in it at one point) and carried it around for about a month. Once I decided this system would definitely work for me (oh, how young and naïve I was), I went ahead and invested the money into a custom-made Foxy Notebook – a No. 8 Sugar Cookie, wide fitting, with black stitching and elastics, left card slots, right secretarial pocket with pen loop, and with my initials embossed on the spine in black.

A peek at my daily in the No. 8 – not much has changed about this particular part
I really wanted to love the Sugar Cookie.

The Sugar Cookie took 28 whole business days to complete and ship, and an additional 3 days to arrive at my house, but that was fine by me. For those not familiar, Foxy Fix’s wide fitting has six strings, which means it can hold anywhere from six to twelve inserts, depending on how stuffed you like them to be. I carried the Sugar Cookie wide for about a month before I gave it up as a lost cause – I just don’t stuff them enough to make a wide fitting worth it. After I had a miscarriage in July, I went on a pity-me-spending-spree and spent way more money than I should have in a (failed) attempt to make myself feel better. That’s how I wound up with a No. 8 Boss Babe Kate, compact fitting, left and right secretarial pockets, with grey stitching, grey elastic, and my initials embossed in silver on the spine. The compact fitting has 4 strings and can hold 4 to 8 inserts, again depending on how stuffed you like them to be.

Loved the Boss Babe leather – so lush
Still keeping the two-column dailies running

The problem that I quickly realized I had with the No. 8 size was just that – it’s size! It was so big, and so heavy, and didn’t fit in all of my bags (which I hated). It was a lot to tote around and was not easy to reference when I was out and about. My solution? Planning Style #3.

Style #3: Dual Traveler’s Notebook System – No. 4 and No. 8

No. 4 Boss Babe Madison Ave

This was a very short-lived planning style. I attempted to make my No. 8 Kate my stay-at-home planner, and my No. 4 Madison my on-the-go planner. I quickly realized I cannot make a dual-planning-system work. There were things in my No. 8 that I needed at work but couldn’t reference because it was at home, and I was just not a fan of the No. 4 personal size (funny because it circles back to this eventually). While I was attempting to sell my No. 8 Sugar Cookie, someone offered to trade me their No. 5 (B6 size) Bay Blackout – a vintage Foxy Fix notebook that I had been trying to get my hands on in the No. 8 size for a while. I jumped at the opportunity, and thus we begin planning style #4.

Style #4: Bullet Journal in a B6 Traveler’s Notebook

No. 5 Bay Blackout
Still at it with the two-column dailies

I stayed in this stage for quite a while, albeit with multiple different No. 5/B6 traveler’s notebooks. I loved the B6 size – it was the perfect mix of portability and space. Dimensionally, it was the same as A5 so I didn’t feel like I was losing valuable writing space, but it was much easier to throw in my bag and go. I had the Bay Blackout, a Chic Sparrow Outlander Verona (which I loved – such a lush, thick, delicious full-grain leather. Full Disclosure: that line is now discontinued 🙁 sad), and eventually a small collection of No. 5 single-straps.

My small collection of No. 5 Foxy Fix TNs – from left to right, Wanderlust Butterscotch, Sugar Coconut, Autumn Rose, Southwestern Santa Fe, plus No. 0 Sugar Icing and No. 0 Wanderlust Licorice

I thought I was done when I had the Bay Blackout and the Outlander Verona, but then Foxy Fix released their limited-edition Autumn Rose single-strap, and my husband acquiesced to my purchasing it (I had promised time and again that I was done buying planners – the lie detector test determined THAT was a lie!). As soon as it delivered, I was a single-strap convert. I loved the compact size, I loved how everything sat, I loved that it didn’t have pockets (as it turned out, I wasn’t much of a pocket girl after all), I loved that it didn’t require the reinforced spine (aesthetically, it’s lovely but functionally, the reinforced spine sucked ball sacks). I quickly sold the Bay Blackout and the Outlander Verona and purchased three more single-strap Foxy Notebooks (much to my husband’s never-ending chagrin).

As it turned out, this, also, was not going to work. While I loved the ability to use pre-printed inserts, to have an insert for dailies, to have an insert for collections, etc. etc. etc. I hated that the only insert that would lay flat was the middle one and that the rest of them had humped pages when I was trying to write. At this point I had discovered the ring-planner community, and thought that might be the solution to all my planner problems (spoiler alert: I was right).  And so, we arrive at Planning Style #5.

Stye #5: Bullet Journal in a Filofax Saffiano Personal Ring Binder

Worked out of rings and strings for a couple weeks while I waited on my new personal ring inserts to be delivered
Waddup two-column dailies again

I joined all the ring-binder Facebook groups I could find and managed to snag an aquamarine Filofax Saffiano personal ring binder for $10! That was the perfect way for me to test whether or not the ring binder system would even work for me – after all, I had already tried a personal-sized TN and didn’t like it one bit!

As it turned out, ring binders were my thang. I was obsessed. I loved that I could still use my pre-printed weekly and monthly calendars, that I could still have my two-column daily pages, that I could have separate collections, that everything was separated by dividers, that the pages lay flat no matter where I was in the binder, and that I could move individual pages around at my leisure! This was a luxury I never knew I needed in a planning system and now I can’t picture my life without it. I started my personal-ring-binder journey in October and haven’t looked back since then! The only change I’ve made is to upgrade my ring binder – while the Saffiano was great, it just felt cheaply made (and I mean, for $10….. come on).  This brings us to the final planning style of 2017.

Style #6: Bullet Journal in a Gillio Firenze Medium Compagna Ring Binder

My Gillio Compagna undyed, the day I received it
The one consistent part of my planner style – two-column dailies all the way

You can’t venture into the ring-binder world without stumbling across Gillio Firenze. Gillio has been making high-end luxury binders for decades, and while I won’t go into the specifics (you can find details in this post specifically about my Gillio) I will say that it is 100% worth every dime you’ll spend on it. Gillio announced its release of the undyed line at PlannerCon Europe in October, and I knew as soon as it was announced that I had to have one. I marked the release date on my calendar and happily managed to snag one the day they came out. My undyed delivered in the second week of November and I have used it every single day since then. I have no desire whatsoever to purchase another planner. I love the way the undyed leather ages with use. I love the ring mechanism. I love the customizability. I love the large back pocket. I love literally everything about this binder. I will never turn back. I have truly found planner peace (and for that, my husband is incredibly thankful – shout out to you for being so awesome about the amount of money I’ve spent on planner stuff this year!).

The undyed Compagna as of December 23, 2017 – it is aging beautifully!

So, there’s my rundown of 2017: The Year of the Planner. I am grateful to have finally found planner peace and hopeful that you all find it, as well! 🙂



4 Replies to “2017: The Year of the Planner”

  1. I’m still not sold on what I want…. was hoping to get a hobonichi but that didn’t happen so now I’m debating. … I like a planner layout but not as an always book as often I like being able to have random pages…. I’m fiddling still.

    1. I’ve seen people do a Hobonichi and then cut it down and punch it to put in A6 rings – that way they’ve got the Hobo layout but also the ability to add or take away additional pages as needed!

  2. I love your story! I have always just had a fancy spiral notebook! Then I was introduced to the whole planner craze!! So I went on the hunt. Like you I wanted to try everything, but didn’t want to spend a fortune. So I found someone selling her Filofix Malden personal. I waited for it to arrive and it is so beautiful. $40 and I am stoked. Now I am waiting for the pages, inserts & paper so I can load it up and start!!
    Is the only place you can find everything you need for the inside, online? What kind of pen should I use? So many questions but I want it to look good and make it my own!! I don’t think I am a two column person like you, but I want it to be sleek, clean and about me.
    Love your writing, sorry this is so long : )

    1. Hey Julie! I’m so excited for you! Working towards planner peace is such a nice feeling! If you’re in the States, you can find inserts for personal planners at places like Michael’s, JoAnn’s, and Hobby Lobby, sometimes! They are about a quarter of an inch wider than “standard” personal inserts, but I’ve used them in my personal ring binder before with no problems! As for pens, use whatever you like best! I personally am a fountain pen gal, and I use a Pilot Vanishing Point Decimo with an EF nib for my actual planning, and then a Pelikan fountain pen my husband bought me for Christmas for everything else. Some people swear by rollerball pens like Uniballs or Signos, others like ballpoint gel pens like the Papermate Juice gel pens, and other people love felt-tip or porous-point pens like Papermate Flairs or fineliners. Luckily, you can find just about every type of pen I mentioned at an office supply store for relatively cheap and you can try them all and see what you like best! The only one I think you’d have to order online if you wanted to try would be a fountain pen, and I would highly recommend a Pilot Metropolitan, a Lamy Safari, or a Kaweko Perkeo as a good introductory fountain pen 🙂

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