Girl Seeks Perfect Paper Planner.
September 16, 2015 9:25 AM   Subscribe

I can't seem to find the perfect planner for my needs, but I'm convinced it has to be out there somewhere. Help!


- About 5 x 7.25 inches, not much bigger
- Either spiral or open-spine bound so that it lies flat on my desk
- Has both month and weekly calendars
- Each month is just before the associated weeks, not in the beginning
- Does not have time-based marks on each day
- Has an elastic band to keep it closed
- Decent quality paper for using Micron and Sharpie pens (not markers)
- Can either order online or buy in the Baltimore / DC area

I considered making my own, but can't find a binder a) small enough and b) with an elastic band to close it.

Budget is $50 at the most, preferably no more than $30.
posted by youcancallmeal to Shopping (23 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh! And minimal branding / cutesy sayings / etc would be preferred.
posted by youcancallmeal at 9:26 AM on September 16, 2015

This one on Etsy looks pretty close. I bet you could ask the shop owner to take the lines out of the weekly pages.
posted by dawkins_7 at 9:34 AM on September 16, 2015

This is almost the Paper Source custom planner. It has no elastic band, though I think you could add your own, but the bigger problem for you might be that it's 9.25" x 6.75". Still, pretty close if you can't find something exactly what you want.

If you haven't already, also look at MochiThings and Paperchase.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 9:36 AM on September 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I swear by my Muji planner. It meets all your needs except for having the month in front of the associated week. Right now their online store isn't working, but I recommend checking back in later. It looks like this, just for reference if you look for it later.
posted by greta simone at 9:40 AM on September 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I can always find a paper planner meeting all your requirements--except the elastic band--at my local Target. It's not super fancy or professional looking, but it works well for me.

Usually something like this.
posted by sprezzy at 9:56 AM on September 16, 2015

The Staples "Arc" System notebooks (Levenger has an almost identical system, I think), could do it.

-slightly larger than you wanted - 6 3/8" x 8 3/4" (they might have a smaller version?)
-spiral (uses disc-like rings)
-has month and weekly
-monthly sits in front of each weekly
-no time-based divisions on their calendar
-no elastic band, BUT it stays closed, and if your issue is that you like to slide things in, they have pocket dividers and plastic zip dividers to hold extra things
-love the quality of their paper
-buy it at Staples, online, and some etsy people design custom pages for it
- easily under $50, probably much less

What I like most about it is that you can add, remove, and move the pages around without messing things up. The perforations slide onto discs, and they even (used to?) sell a hole-punch so you can design your own pages and forms. Lots of nice accessories, task lists, dividers, and many different choices for covers. The one I bought had four interchangeable covers of solids and patterns with a clear plastic protector page.
I can't get to Staples website, but here is one from Amazon: Staples Arc Notebook
posted by hiker U. at 10:03 AM on September 16, 2015

Response by poster: So far, the Paper Source one is the closest, I just wish it had a band and was smaller.

I've tried the Staples Arc thing and found them too big and didn't like the way the discs functioned.

I'd like something more substantial than the cheap-o Mead ones.

Keep 'em coming! Some of these are great!
posted by youcancallmeal at 10:05 AM on September 16, 2015

FWIW: I have a Muji planner right now (similar to this one). I don't know about the one greta simone linked to, but the monthly calendars on mine have a Monday week start, as opposed to Sunday. There was room in mine where I could write in Sunday as the first day of the week, but it was a bit annoying.
posted by Lucinda at 10:20 AM on September 16, 2015

i've got a lot of friends who are planner people. i am not that kind of person and i am full of admiration for you planner people and your multicolored pens and stickers. anyway, i asked them with your specs and one suggested belle rousseur designs in the "layout D" option. they're a little bigger than you want - the cover is 6 inches by 9 inches - but i think they match the rest of your requirements.
posted by kerning at 10:39 AM on September 16, 2015

Maybe this then: Still bigger than your specs but hopefully less "cheap-o"
posted by sprezzy at 10:44 AM on September 16, 2015

Your size might be tough. It's a bit small for planner folks. My suggestions below have a track record of having good paper that takes a Sharpie.

Have you seen the Get to Work Book? It has everything you're asking about except the elastic band. (I purchased this one for myself for 2016)

Other options:
Plum Paper Planner
InkWell Press Planner
Erin Condren
posted by watch out for turtles at 11:15 AM on September 16, 2015

I prefer the classics - Franklin Covey Mini Planner -
posted by heathrowga at 11:35 AM on September 16, 2015

The Hobonichi Techo is a really cool Japanese planner/diary/scrapbook hybrid. It has a lay-flat binding, has an extra free-form page at the beginning of each month, and the only markings on each day are a divider for 12 noon and a spot to write what you had for dinner. The covers are sold separately so you can pick the style you like the most.

The history behind the planner is interesting, too: the company that produces it was founded by Shigesato Itoi, creator of the video game Earthbound. The planner has quotes on each page that have an Earthbound-ish feel to them, which I enjoy.
posted by perihare at 12:15 PM on September 16, 2015 [4 favorites]

The Passion Planner Compact 2016 Passion Planner compact is a bit bigger than you wanted, but it has a cult following! I didn't go through all of the pages to see if your requirements are met, but you might want to take a peek.

Other planners that fit some but not all of your requests:
Present&Correct - Linen Diary 2016
Kikki K weekly planner

There was another journal that seemed like it might work out, but I cannot find the page for the life of me. It was a DIY system like the Bullet Journal, but there were journals that you could adapt in different ways. If I'm remembering correctly it originated in Japan or Korea but I'm pretty sure I stumbled on a global Facebook group of devotees. It was something like "pilot journal" or "flight journal" or something like that.
posted by barnone at 1:00 PM on September 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oh yes, I think it was this: the Traveler's notebook by Midori. You can get a bunch of different inserts, including some with weeks separated by a blank page, I believe, so you could dedicate one of those spreads to a monthly calendar. If you google the name you'll see a ton of examples on Flickr, Instagram and blogs. I'm pretty sure there is a Facebook group too. There's a large community of folks who make and share their own Midori insert templates too! She makes templates and sells them on Etsy and I bet would work with you to have something perfect for your needs!

The Leuchtturm1917 Medium 2016 Azure Weekly Planner/Notebook is just about the right size and design but I don't think it has monthly pages interspersed.

The spark notebook has a planner this year but I have no idea if it'll work for you!
posted by barnone at 1:32 PM on September 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Staples makes a (looks like a little smaller than the Arc) mini three ring binder that opens flat, has tons of calendar inserts, tabs, pockets and things available to fill it with, a couple of built in pockets, and is pretty reasonably priced. I use one daily at work and love it. It's really sturdy but small enough that it slips into a bag without issue.

One thought: you can make an elastic closure for any notebook. Doesn't have to be built in to the notebook.
posted by clone boulevard at 1:49 PM on September 16, 2015

Note: I only use notebook paper, a couple of tabs, and some extra pockets, as I have no use for paper planners. But I remember seeing them in the pile of things to fill the binder with.
posted by clone boulevard at 1:51 PM on September 16, 2015

Erin Condren Life Planner
posted by peach23 at 3:02 PM on September 16, 2015

I came in to suggest kikki k planners too: this one might suit you. I have a larger one (that I never use it - it is just too big for me) but it is very nice and seems well made.
posted by mythical anthropomorphic amphibian at 9:46 PM on September 16, 2015

This one is pretty close and ships out of Seattle. There's also a smaller version if this one's too big. I'm not 100% sure if the months are before the weeks, though.
posted by thebots at 12:11 AM on September 17, 2015

And FYI for mochithings - almost everything is on eBay and if you search for it. You might even search for planners first to see what comes up. They're WAY cheaper there. [enabling fun stationery purchases since 1997]
posted by barnone at 11:32 AM on September 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Two words for you: Polestar. Calendars.

I discovered them while I was studying at McGill and have used them since 2007. They don't fulfill all your requirements exactly, but I'm completely in love with them. Family-owned and operated, environmentally-friendly inks and papers, small pockets on the jacket covers, intriguing weekly quotes, Family, Student, Business, and Life editions, just ... Practically perfect, in every way.
posted by Devika at 3:42 PM on September 17, 2015

Response by poster: I picked up a Midori from Amazon for relatively cheap and am pretty happy with it so far. Only time will tell, but for now, I'm marking this resolved.

Thanks, everyone!
posted by youcancallmeal at 12:00 PM on September 28, 2015

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