How long have you been a planner? I’ve been using planners since I was in high school. It was the only way I kept organized. It didn’t take long for it to become an obsession. After I had a job and further, had children, I carried one in my purse always, had one on our kitchen desk and a wall calender.
When my son was still pretty little, and my daughter was born, my step-dad gave me this planner as a gift for Christmas one year. It’s a Franklin Covey. At the time I thought it was the best thing in the world because I hadn’t ever had one this nice. I was a scrapbooker at the time, so I decorated it with paper and stickers and other embellishments and it kinda looked ridiculous but it was mine and I loved it.
However, eventually I stopped using it, and went back to regular old office supply spiral notebook sized planners similar in nature to what I had used in school. I actually really liked using them, but then I discovered “new style planners”.
The REAL Planner Obsession
Then my real planner obsession began. Circa 2012.
I discovered the Arc system (discbound) (M By Staples). Because of that discovery I found that Martha Stewart had a beautiful line of stuff at Staples that were compatible and I fell hard. I ordered a bunch of stuff, bought the Arc system punch and became literally obsessed. For awhile I truly loved it.
But then something happened. Pages started coming out of my Arc system, pages bent and I quickly got frustrated.
I need organization and that was starting to make me nuts. So I had already entered the planner world by then and kept hearing about Erin Condren.
I ordered my first one and used them for a couple of years. I was a die hard Erin Condren girl. I used my planner faithfully, it went everywhere with me. No longer did I purchase cute, stylish bags because I truly loved them. I bought them because they were cute and could hold my planner. 😉
As a natural to-do list maker, I also got really into Bullet Journaling. I still am an avid bullet journaler. I almost need to be with my job. Working from home keeps me on my toes.
During my love obsession with Erin Condren I tried several variations – Vertical, Horizontal and Hourly. Hourly does NOT work for me, because I don’t plan that way.
I used Horizontal for years, like pretty much always until my first Erin Condren, which was a Vertical. I thought that horizontal was my style. After I tried Vertical, I liked it but I wasn’t set on it.
The bigger problem is that I tried Vertical when EC tried making the vertical boxes Morning/Noon/Night. Yeah I don’t plan that way either. So I switched back to Horizontal. (this has changed completely since I originally wrote this… Vertical only now)
But then I missed the vertical boxes. Since I didn’t feel like spending a fortune on a second planner that was the style I want, I went with Create 365 Happy Planner from Me & My Big Ideas (MAMBI).
I was familiar with MAMBI from my scrapbooking days and still have loads of SB stickers from back then! haha
I liked it for awhile. It has the same ring bound system that I started with when I started my Martha Stewart style planner. After awhile, as the book got more and more used, guess what happened?
Pages started to come out on their own, I had trouble keeping them in. The heavier the pages got, the more trouble I had keeping them in.
I eventually got frustrated, and went back to my discarded EC for awhile and then 2017 was staring me in the face and I had to make a decision fast.
So, if you’ve made it this far, you might be curious what I am using for 2017. That’s where the story changes. This die hard Erin Condren girl has flown the coop. I just couldn’t bring myself to spend the $85 for a planner this year. With all the fun weekly sticker kits and other items I’d rather spend money on, I just couldn’t do it.
I did a lot of research looking at various planners. I even considered going back to the simplistic style planners I was using pre-“planning is a thing now” planning. But instead I just decided to visit Michaels.
I headed to Michaels to look at the Happy Planners again, knowing full well I hated the fact that my pages might come out. I definitely have a love/hate relationship with these planners. I love that the box size was perfect for my planning needs (bigger), they come in vertical and they have a ridiculous amount of planner accessories to customize and are extremely budget friendly. But those pages coming out were a deal breaker.
I was standing there looking at them, when I see this planner just laying to the side. For a second I thought it was an Erin Condren. In fact, I wondered if someone had left their there, but it was definitely new. I picked it up, and that’s when I became a die-hard Recollections fan.
I had a coupon with me, there was a sale and this planner was listed at $30.00. I brought it home for just over $15.00. Seventy dollars people! I saved 70 dollars not buying an expensive Erin Condren planner and buying this instead. Oh, and I forgot to mention, it was the ONLY spiral Recollections Planner in the store.
I wasn’t even sure where they had originally been for sale in the store, since I couldn’t find a single spot they should have been.
I have been using my Recollections Planner since December 26 and I am totally sold. It’s close enough to an EC to be comfortable to me, but it was budget friendly, could be purchased with a coupon making it even more budget friendly and it serves my needs perfectly.’
Since then, I purchased the Creative Year A5 Binder in Metallic Blue. I am not using it the way it was intended. I had my son remove the six rings from inside the planner, I removed the cover from my Recollections Spiral Bound planner and inserted it into the A5 Binder. I like this because it protects my pages when I am on the go all the time and I take this thing everywhere.
I get asked a lot how we did it, and I’m not really sure I can answer that. We just kinda tugged, bent and pulled until those darn rings came out. I’m not going to lie, it’s not the most gorgeous when it comes out.
There are two small holes where the eyelet connected the two pieces but my spiral kinda blocks it and I don’t see it and I’m also not that weird about that stuff. I just like knowing it’s safe, though I must admit, after two months of doing it this way, I am thinking about pulling it out of there and putting normal covers back on it just for easy of planning.
The downside is that you cannot fold the book in half which I like to do when writing. That’s been difficult.
We’ll see what I decide to do. In the meantime, that’s my planning system and while I once again bought a Happy Planner at the start of the year, I haven’t reached for it much at all, so I know that the spiral bound seems to be my system and I’m sticking to what works. (update July 2019 – I’ve been using Happy Planner since the day I posted this original post… lol I love it and I’m a die hard user!)