Monday, August 11, 2014

I Need a New Planner! : Planner-ed Out Perfect, Part One

In case anyone was still harboring any suspicions about how much of a total geek I am, let me just lay this down for you: should any kind of producer feel the need to turn my life into a reality show, at some point in time, I will be seated in a confessional booth, talking about my adoration for... notebooks. Notebooks galore. Notebooks for blogging, notebooks for writing, notebooks for journaling, notebooks for random to-do lists that I just need to get out of my head, and especially, the best notebook, the high holiest of notebooks, the Emma Watson of notebooks... the planner. 

I am a planner freak. I love lists and making plans in general, and let's be real: I've got quite a bit in my life that requires wrangling, so with a planner, I have tons of room for making sure everything and everyone is getting taken care of! So with the impending school year, I am once again faced with the quandary of selecting my new planner. Seeking my stationery soul mate, I took to the Internet to find just the right one! 


If you're in college - and if you're in the Greek System - then you've seen these colorful planners dipping in and out of the totes and carryalls of many a sorority superstar. The tried-and-tested planners come with plenty of options in both print and sizing, and are chock full of lots of goodies, like stickers and fun illustrations for each month. They're also durable, and well-loved by basically everyone I know who owns one.

And funny enough, even though it is a brand-name planner, it costs about the same as the Etsy planner included in this post, and, depending on the size, even comes down to be one of the least expensive! So don't let the fancy pedigree get in the way of all your whimsical planning needs.

However, while they are the ultimate in collegiate chic planners... that also means that everyone has one. So, without as much expense, with all the bells and whistles, but without the unique quality that would make your planner stand out against the masses, the Lilly Pulitzer planner could be a serious contender.


Patent Organiser
So, I used to think this was kind of a retro-type option for how you were supposed to organize yourself, mainly because the last time I saw one of these puppies before this summer was back at our after-school daycare, in the "Pretend Office" bucket, along with brick-sized cellphones and fountain pens long missing ink.

However, nowadays, thanks to a veritable litany of Filofax users scattered all over Etsy and Pinterest, there are plenty of options for colorful customization, from free printable pages you can insert, to washi tape decorating tips and other ways to make it your own. 

However, this is also a reasonably expensive option... your average starter Filofax runs at about $50. And if, despite those alluring freebies, all that customization adds up to an ever-increasing budget, then the professionalism of this planner system might be well out of my college-student price range. 


A close runner-up for the Lilly planner in the hands of sorority women, Erin Condrens were made for the Panhellenic girls with too much passion for just one planner: if you like to-do lists, if you like doing the readings for the homework before class, and if you like organizing your closet by color, you'll like these planners. Hence, why I was originally planning on buying one before the last school year started!

However, don't go on the company's Facebook page: it's a veritable minefield of unhappy customers at the moment... yikes! Apparently, should the reviews and complaints ring true, the customer service department isn't the best at fixing mistakes, and production quality isn't always at its top form. 

So, is the astronomical cost worth all that hype (as well as all those unhappy reviews on Facebook?).


Lauded by many as Erin Condren's knock-off cousin, and touted by many a mommy blogger, Plum Paper Planners present a lot of options, without quite as hefty a price as some of their competitors. However, you also have to take into account that these aren't subjected to the kind of scrutiny that something like Lilly Pulitzer, or even a growing cult brand like Erin Condren, are, in terms of durability and user testing.

The planners are much more simplified in terms of layout: less colorful, with less flashy additions cluttering up the place. It also allows for more interior customization, with multiple planner options available - teacher and student planners, fitness planner, wedding planner, etc. - and tons of covers. .It's all a little overwhelming to sort through, but that just goes to show how much customization they offer

Also, unanimously in the fours and fives, the Plum Paper Planners have next to no unhappy customers. However, they're still asking for quite a bit in terms of pricing, at $31.


No lie, this is how I got through this past summer: by printing out my own scheduling space, and storing it all in a 1/2 inch binder that we had lying around. Fully customizable contents, day-by-day sheets perfectly tailored to what I wanted, allowing me to micromanage my own matters to my very heart's content, my summer planner has been absolutely stupendous... but isn't really the right fit for my hectic school year schedule.


You're going to laugh. An afternoon after writing the first couple of sections of this post, I went to Target, and made a decision that my mama would be justly proud of: I went the thrifty route, and picked up a basic black Mead July 2014 - June 2015 Planner, for about $9. After so many colorful options displayed above, how did my brain rationalize such an austere, minimalistic decision? Well, let me tell you. 

With the above selections, I was perfectly ready to drop $50+ on a planner, and a part of me still thinks that would be a reasonable decision, due to the inhuman amount of time I spend with my that particular article of schedule organization. However, when I saw the Mead planner, I had an epiphany: I could spend $50 bucks on a colorful planner that was customized for me, but that I had no guarantee of liking, or I could buy a $9 planner and customize it myself! Instead of just a planner, I could now treat myself to back-to-school supplies like colorful pens, washi tape, stickers, and more, all of which I plan on using to make my new planner special. And because the planner itself already has open calendar space for the month of August, I can start breaking it in before school even starts! 

And hey, if for some reason the Mead doesn't work out, I can always buy a new kind of planner system at the start of 2015, and no harm done... but for now, I'm excited to get artsy! 

Thanks for sticking with me throughout this (incredibly long) planner journey. Look for future posts about the rest of my 2014-2015 school supplies haul, and other back-to-school topics, appearing on the blog in August! 

1 comment:

  1. Love this post!! Now that I'm no longer in college, I don't really use a planner anymore because it's easier for me to just have an online calendar, but since I'm such an organizational freak, I used to LOVE picking out my planner for school. I wish I could've had this post back then! I would've probably loved that Lily Pulitzer one, oh my gosh that's just gorgeous. I really like the Etsy one, too! It's cool that she I guess has one for wedding planning? I could definitely see myself getting one for that one day! I'm not sure if I'd be able to limit myself to only-online for a big event like that.