Sunday, September 27, 2009

DIY Organizer/Planner

In the past I have flirted with making my own planner. In fact, last fall a co-worker and I devoted many hours to creating the perfect planner that we would have printed and bound. We managed to waste quite a few hours on it before we both just settled on the Uncalendar I previously reviewed.

In August, I had purchased a Quo Vadis planner and used it for a bit, but I stumbled across a group dedicated to organizers and it rekindled my interest in creating the ultimate planner. This has consumed a lot of my internet browsing time and creative energy for at least three weeks.

I really wanted a planner that I could use a lot of color in, customize the pages and not be afraid to scribble all over it. I wanted to feel like the space could be used for more than just the standard to-do list or appointments. I wanted to blend space for doodles, assignments, memories, quotes/lyrics and space for to-do lists into one planner. But having the space for those things is only the first step, the next is actually using the planner to record those items and not fall into just the "to-do" trap.

I feel like I am relearning how to document all of these things, as I haven't done it as extensively in previous planners. Something about the rigidity of a preprinted planner is like a coloring book, I don't want to write outside of the lines or doodle. It feels like I am messing it up. So for this first week, I tried to think about what I want this planner to be and attempted to record items in a way that supports that vision. Hopefully I can become more creative with how I incorporate all of this as the weeks go on.

I used a large, hardcover Piccadilly notebook I had around the house. The first page is the standard "if lost" info, so I left that out.

Here is the first week (blank):

And here it is, after a week of use. I created and glued in the 4x6 index card to keep track of what jobs I have applied for and if I have heard back from them.

This is next week:

And the rough outline of weeks 3,4,5

As you can see, I am trying a different layout each week. I want to see what works the best and then I might stick with it for a few weeks in row.

Week three is a copy of a planner page I saw at Barnes and Noble, it is very hard to see right now, but once I get it completely filled in I think it will be pretty cool. It is the only one where I have used a two page per week format. Week four is a basically a copy of how a Moleskine planner is setup and week five is basically an outline of my ruler, seven days and one for notes.

Here are the pens I have used somewhere when documenting this week. There may be afew more, but these are the only ones I can remember using. I only used a few of the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Set though.

Purple preppy sign pen
3 ink Hi-Tec-C, with orange *reviewed*
.25 Blue Black Slicci
Pink Le Pen
Grey Hi Tec C
Blue Sharpie RT Pen
Color Pencil Like Frixion Tea Brown
3 ink Slicci, used Lime Green
.3 Hi-Tec-C Venet *reviewed*
Sarasa .7 orange
Color Pencil Like Frixion Mustard
Sarasa .7 lime green
Lamy Safari, blue ink, extra fine fp
clicky eraser
Sarasa .7 cornflower blue
Pilot Color Eno .7 purple pencil lead
Brown Le Pen
Maroon Le Pen
Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Set

Also at the very back of the book is an area where I tested many of my pens to see how it would work with the paper before I started outlining. I wanted to avoid a lot of bleed through. I left several pages blank for this purpose, as I know my pen collection will continue to grow.

So, what do you think? Any advice on future layouts?


  1. I LOVE it!! Make me one!!! Also I think we wasted a few weeks not hours!! LOL!!

  2. I love the idea of a customizable planner, especially one that allows you to scribble non-appointment type things in it. An inspiration planner of sorts! Great post!

  3. Oooh, very cool! I really like the week 3 layout! I could imagine that one being SUPER fun over the course of a planner, if you just changed which box was to decorate each week and which ones were the dates! I like your blog! I'm gonna go read more!

  4. Love this idea and totally love your pens. It seems we have similar pen tastes. Also enjoy your blog!

  5. That's a fun idea, trying a different layout each week!

  6. I hope you still get your updates from comments here since its been back in 2009 on this post! But wanted to say I LOVE LOVE your home made planners! I have struggled with what I want to use or keep and end up switching out in middle of month.. I tried this style like above with a littler notebook but will go out to get a bigger one..I want to do it this way! Are you still doing your's this way? I went to your newer posts to look and didn't see anything new =)

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  8. The hunt for a perfect planner can be so frustrating, and you're right: I always feel like I should be neat & orderly when I'm writing in store-bought planners! This year I decided to create my own planner to keep my calendar and appointments, but also to write out lists and whatever other random things pop into my head! I used a Smash book and customized the pages for a planner layout, and I love it! I posted mine on my blog:

    Great idea, and great post! I hope you find what works best for your. :)

  9. I love that each week the layout changes! Often times I become bored with one layout. I think I'm going to try using a different layout each month! Thanks for the awesome tips!

  10. I have been looking for the perfect layout for years. I think it's because we are creative people we are always looking for something different. Nothing has satisfied me so far and I have done the same as you (made my own planner and changed the style accordingly). I recommend doing a search Planner templates and select 'Images.' Look and see what comes up and try them if you are out of ideas. I'm doing this right now and I'm getting close to narrowing down and customizing the type of planner I need. Also look up Bullet Journaling as a way to keep you planner in order and knowing where certain things are. I find it quite helpful. I wish you the best of luck and hope you find that perfect template for your planner.