A lot of starting points are completely arbitrary, but there’s something so awesome about flipping open a new calendar or planner that just holds out so much hope, you know?

New month, new year, new planner!

New month, new year, new planner!

Okay, it might just be me. I can live with that.

If you’re stopping by because you saw my Project Planner download in the Januar DIRT from Gauche Alchemy, welcome, and thanks for poking around a bit :) If you’re one of my regular readers and you don’t get the DIRT each month, then you might want to check out that link, there, so you can download a free, printable project planner I designed.

My custom-designed weekly planner spreads.

My custom-designed weekly planner spreads.

For the past couple of years I’ve been using Planner Pads as my weekly planner system and it was working, for the most part. The only thing was that I found myself shoe-horning in the bits I wanted into one version or another, and that gets to be a bit tiresome after a while. So this year I decided (early enough to actually make it happen, I’m proud to say) I would design my own planner so it would be perfect for my needs.

Granted, I did a pretty thorough search of what was available out there–both pre-printed as well as downloadables–and just couldn’t find the right fit.

Some things I learned about designing my own planner and putting it together:

  1. It really wasn’t all that hard. I wish I’d done it sooner. (I actually had a custom planner in mind several years ago, but I thought paper planners were becoming passe, and I just never got around to it. The format I had in mind back then wouldn’t fit me, now, but I still wish I’d gone ahead with it. Maybe I’ll give it a revamp for next year!)
  2. Paper is really important. The first go-round was on your average copy paper, but it was a little too see-through, especially with certain pens. 28# copy paper may be harder to come by (I had to order mine online, nowhere local carried legal size in that weight) but it’s worth it for the final product.
  3. A black-and-white planner doesn’t have to be boring: fun pens and washi tape tabs can liven up any page. I found a set of scented glitter gel pens while standing in line at Books-a-Million and they are ridiculously fun to write with.

    jvanderbeek_14planner-1

    I used some of the leftover cork-patterned fabric and a few heart-shaped eyelets to make the covers for my planner.

  4. You can never have too many binder rings. While I did finally find a source for small binder spines, using the last 2 holes of my 3-hole punch and 2 binder rings totally does the trick to keep this planner together. My next cover attempt might include a built-in elastic cord and a pocket on the inside cover, but other than that I think it’s perfect. I also considered using my Bind-it-All to spiral bind it, but I really wanted to be able to insert extra pages on a whim, so binder rings win!

I’m only one week in, of course, so I look forward to tweaking my layout and components over the year to find a really workable set up. And then, maybe I’ll design the 2015 and put it up on Etsy next Fall. It could happen.

How are you planning to organize this year? Are you a paper planner or strictly digital?