A million years ago, I had a small day planner I carried in my purse – when I still carried a purse. It was a cute green faux leather snap closure half sized ring binder, with inserts you could purchase from Office Max. I used it on and off depending on how organized and/or motivated I was on any given week. Towards the end, I mostly used it for storing coupons I would forget to use, to-do lists I never completed, and organizing my store cards. Two weeks before we got married, Chad and I jumped on the iPhone train and all at once, my calendar, coupons, and to-do lists went digital; and I no longer needed to tote around a little ring binder.
A digital calendar is far more effective and efficient for my life. I put appointments into my phone as soon as I make them. I share a calendar with Chad so we know if/when one or the other has plans. Changing plans is as easy as the click of a button – no messy scratch offs. I don’t have to worry about my terrible handwriting or accidentally using the wrong pen color. When I remember to put the address in, my phone will tell me when to leave to arrive on time and how to get there. And yet, there’s something about putting pen to paper. Physically crossing something off of my to-do list. And most importantly, being able to flip through the calendar and find an appointment or the last time I had the pest control people out and not find that it was erased because the calendar only keeps 6 months in the past.
Towards the end of December 2020, I kept getting targeted ads on instagram for this cute paper planner. Initially I balked at the idea that anyone would still use a paper planner in this day and digital age. But as the days sped towards the new year, my resolve started to crack. The vaccine would soon be available and life was perhaps returning to some semblance of normalcy, and maybe it was time to try something new-ish. I might want to give paper planning / journaling a try, again, after all. Not exclusively, just as an addition to my digital calendar. After an evening of a few too many glasses of wine and getting targeted by that darn ad again, I took the plunge.
The rest of that story is TikTok entertainment, but I went from being a complete paper planner novice, to something of an aficionado in a span of 4 months. After finding the perfect paper planner for me (Agendio) I also had amassed a collection of pens, highlighters, stickers, and washi tape. Me being me, I started the hunt for the best way to organize all of those things as well as have them be portable.
Enter the journal supplies storage case:
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It is roughly the same height and width of my paper planner, so they stack and fit neatly into my tote bag. It fits everything and has separate compartments, so despite my early ideas of having a hard sided pencil case type thing, this actually works perfectly. It’s also exactly as intense and extra as I tend to be. So, look out world, I’m a paper planner person now.
Early on, I purchased several Happy Planner sticker books, because I discovered them through more targeted ads and thought I’d give them a try. I use them to create appointment blocks and to-do lists, so I prefer those kinds and unfortunately those are the hardest sticker books to come by. Because of this, I spent a bunch of time searching and found a shop on etsy that sells appointment blocks in various colors as well as many many other beautiful planner stickers.
I also bought a few seasonal Happy Planner Sticker Books when I didn’t know what I was looking for and I’m using them up, but I won’t purchase them again. I like to add the occasional motivational phrase block into my week, but I don’t need a ton of flowers or silly sayings (“tangled hair, don’t care?” Yes actually, I do care, very much).
I finally found something to do with my already large washi tape collection. But of course I needed more because I found that I liked the gold foiled kinds. Several of the ones I currently am using aren’t available on Amazon right now but I’m sure they’ll come back eventually. The clear hinged boxes are from The Container Store. I added a set of small craft scissors so that I can always cut some tape on the go. It sounds like an innuendo, but I assure you it is not. Yet.
I whittled down my pen collection to erase-able pens (for iffy plans), my purple and blue sharpie S-gels, and then a set of highlighters to color code items as crossed off. Since I don’t actually like “crossing” something off unless it was cancelled or incomplete and moved to a new list. I also have a little white out tape dispenser because even the most seemingly permanent of plans get cancelled and changed. Or mispelled.
I now have a weekly routine of creating a spread with washi tape and appointment blocks, adding anything from my digital calendar, blocking off time for exercise, and making to-do lists. What I’ve noticed is that I’m less scattered, I’m more productive, and I have stopped forgetting appointments. It forces me to pay attention to my week and not spend a lot of time trying to remember to do things – and spend that time actually doing them. I certainly didn’t need a hobby that required more shit to organize, but this has been a hobby that seems to grant me more time and calm.