10 Ways to Organize and Decorate Your Planner

by Chan Vu, Apr 11 2016
With smartphones, tablets and fancy apps at the tip my fingers, there is no excuse to stay unorganized. Right? Unless my smartphone and tablet gets too heavy to carry around or crashes unexpectedly or the calendar app decides to stop syncing my multiple calendars then I'm SOL. Good luck trying to remember the appointments and its details. It has happened to me many, many times this past year. I've missed a lot of important appointments, birthdays and tasks from my un-synced calendars because technology had failed me. This is why I decided to start crafting a personal planner just for me.
Personal planners are the next huge wave of the crafting phenomenon. It's way beyond a personal size calendar notebook. I've personalized my planner to fit my girl boss needs such as having a monthly calendar, weekly calendar, budget worksheet, income/expenses list, notes and a galore of DIY decorating accessories just to keep me organized. The best part is my notebook won't crash on me. If you have a busy schedule and need a one-stop-shop, guaranteed and creative way to stay organized, then here are 10 ways to organize and decorate your planner.

10 Ways to Organize and Decorate Your Planner:

1. You can start on a planner any time of the year. I find it best to start with an a-la-cart style planner. That way, you don't waste money on an expensive planner just to buy a new one a few short months. A good place to start is to find a ringed notebook small enough to fit in your work bag but big enough to hold your big ideas. My $3.99 ringed notebook allows me to insert and remove pages as needed. I also like the six month calendar extension from The Happy Planner for $9.99. It comes with 6 blank monthly and weekly calendars, dividers and stickers to customize the starting months. 
2.You know your needs best. Figure out what you need to stay organized. For me, I need a weekly calendar to fit all of my tasks and appointment. I also need an overview of the month to see the big picture. I like having a budget worksheet to keep my finances together. That's pretty important to me. I found this simple budget book at Micheal's for $3.99 to keep track of my income, budget, expenses and savings. It comes already hole-punched to fit in my notebook. It keeps my spending under control. 
3. Now that you have the basic items to get started with your planner, let's look at some affordable but creative ways to decorate your planner. I like lots of colors in my planner. Bright colors make me happy and it keeps me excited to plan and expand my ideas. I like using washi tape to block off appointments that take up multiple days such as vacation or a week long conference. The colorful washi tape allows me to write the appointment down once instead of rewriting it for every day it repeats. Also if the plans change, I can easily lift the washi tape and stick it on another date. No rewriting needed. The colors can be coordinated based on the type of event. You get the idea. 
4. I have a ton of leftover scrapbook paper. All are colorful and full of designs. I cut the scrapbook paper in long strips to make arrows or flags to highlight an important day, event or appointment. If you don't have scrapbook paper, use colorful paint chips instead. It's free and has a ton of color varieties. I use a tape ribbon as a clean adhesive option. I don't have time to wait for the glue to dry before I can write on it. I cut the strips ahead of time and place it in an envelop tucked away in a pocket folder. 
5. Speaking of pocket folders, I made my own instead of purchasing it. One reason is because pocket folders so are hard to find. The second reason is the size is never right if I do find it. I doubled up two scrapbook papers to use as a divider, seal a pocket on both sides of the divider, add a tab and punch holes to insert into my planner. The pocket dividers were simple to make and I had all of the materials at home. I made one for receipts and another for my shopping lists to stay within budget. You can make as many as your notebook can carry.
6. Flags, clips and tabs are all great to spot in a busy planner. I like to flag my important appointments if I need to flip to that day quickly. You can spend a lot of money buying flags, clips and tabs but if you make it with some of the basic items at home, you can save money and still be creative. For example, I made these flags out of regular paper clips and leftover ribbons. Just cut 3 inches of ribbon, loop it like the hope symbol, insert the flags into the upper part of the paper clip, pull the ribbon through and cut the tips diagonally. 
7. Tassels are adorable and perfect to bookmark the current day. They hang on the notebook rings very well and can also be made with what I already had at home. I used leftover decorative ribbons to loop together and it becomes a simple tassel. You can also do this on a key ring to have something to attach to your notebook. 
8. Use stickers or stamps (if you have it) to make a day stand out. Stickers add a colorful pop to highlight a special day. It's easier than carrying my glue ribbon sometimes. 
9. I'm a list person so I make my own note sheets using scrapbook paper. I always need a list of what to buy/bring on a trip so I attached a cut-out sheet of scrapbook paper as my to-do list and place it next to the day that list is needed. When the list is checked off, I remove it from the planner and toss it away. No need to waste a fancy notepad. Scrapbook paper works fine as long as I have a clean space to write on.
10. The most important thing in my planner is the colorful pens I used to write everything. Without the right pen to bring it all together, the planner will not be colorful and decorative as I want. Besides, my handwriting is awful so if I have a good writing pen to keep my hands from getting lazy, everything will be legible. I like colorful fine point pens. It allows me to write small and the colors stand out. Pens may be a minor thing for people but for me a good writing utensil makes a world of a difference.
Now you have enough tips and tricks to start your own affordable and creative planner. The key is to make time to keep your planner organized. I put aside 30 minutes every night to update my planner if needed. It's not a lot of work for me because I love crafting and this is the ultimate crafting therapy at the end of my day. This and my glass of wine of course. 
Show us your creative planner by using #cbgplanners on social media. We love to see what you came up with.
For more unique and creative DIY ideas, visit Sweets By Chan.

budget book calendar cat-home creative inspiration decorate planner organize planner planner planner accessories planning book ribbon clips stickers tassle

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  • Reese @ DIY Reese on

    So cute! I love it!

  • Fiona on

    this was good however can you do something where you can show how to make a planner with paper plz!!1

  • Jamie-lee on

    I LOVE THIS SOOOOOOOOO MUCH ❤️❤️??? I am soooo happy I found this website . Good luck for he future and thanks for the inspiration

  • Chris T on

    Great ideas!! One more tip is to use different color pens for different categories. For example i track money i spend or bills i have to pay. I use a green pen for spent and red for bills. I am also expecting my first grand baby so everything dealing with her is pink. :) (Journaling ) I also add small photographs to my planner. It’s fun to look back through the weeks.

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