DIY Planners: The Answer to My Organization Prayers?

Hi friends,

Last night, the internet helped me have a lightbulb moment. I’ve been looking for the perfect day planner for a long time, but until last night, it had never occurred to me that I could make my own. (Duh, Austen.)

I started at Hanna’s blog, with a pair of posts (a personalized DIY planner; how to make your own planner), and followed a list of links she’d curated. Before long I was checking out the DIY Planner Flickr group, admiring the wealth of printable resources at D.I.Y. Planner and thinking about how I could bring a bit of DIY planner action into my own life.

I’ll admit it: March 1st is not exactly the date you’d expect to be reading a post about date books and planners. In fact, I’m guessing most of you think I’m about – actually, exactly – two months late to the party.

True. In fact, most years, I spend New Year’s Day  (well, the part between greasy breakfast and Chinese takeout, ahem) happily updating my new day planner. But this year I left it too late to buy my beloved red Moleskine day planner and had to settle for a black one. The colour of the cover shouldn’t matter, but somehow, it just wasn’t the same.


That’s it on top of that stack. In other years I’ve used my day planners (and sketchbook, more about that later) to the point of bursting, so I knew something wasn’t right when I realized I’d barely opened the book at all in January.

Meanwhile, I read  Getting Things Done. A new day planner, it became clear, was part of the organizational overhaul I needed. Enter my friend Trudi, who runs Double Happiness Designs in Dartmouth, N.S., and who recently started selling lovely handmade planners. Good-bye Moleskine, hello cute bird planner!

newbookclosed That’s more like it.


Trudi provides a year’s worth of blank calendar pages for you to fill in, so you can start the planner anytime (perfect for people like me). There are also calendar grids, special dates checklists and pages for notes at the back. I’m already using it – and loving it – way more than the old one.

The only thing is that right now I’m carrying two books with me: my planner, and my sketchbook. I started carrying a sketchbook again last fall, after I took a class with Sarah Ahearn Bellemare. Her sketchbooks are part art journal, part to-do list, part collage, and totally amazing. Mine are a bit more workaday…


…but still essential to my everyday existence (knitting charts! grocery lists!). Unfortunately, if I keep carrying a planner and a sketchbook around in my already-too-heavy purse, ibuprofin and a personal massage therapist will soon be essential to my everyday existence, too.

So I’m going to follow Hanna‘s lead. Thanks to Trudi, I don’t need to make my own binder or daily pages, but I am going to add a few more pages to my beautiful planner. (I knew those binder rings would come in handy.) Here’s what I’m thinking of adding:

  • blank pages, for lists, doodles, charts and notes-to-myself
  • address book pages
  • a page or two to contain my “wants” – books to read, movies to watch, gifts to give and so on
  • more tabs, for faster and easier flipping to the right page at the right time
  • googly eyes, just because
  • an envelope or two, to hold receipts, stamps and treasures

Have you customized your planner? What would you add, if you could?