Where to Buy Planner Organizers
There may be a little confusion on 'what is a planner?' A planner can be... anything really. A planner is really just referring to the pages where you keep track of things. A planner can be hard-bound (like a book), spiral-bound (like a school notebook), softbound (like a little booklet), or post-bound (like in a filofax).
An ORGANIZER is the thing you put planner pages into. Planner pages you've printed out yourself or bought. So you can change them out however you like. These organizers are just the carrier for your precious pages. And what's nice is that you can change them while keeping the insides the same.
So we're talking organizers. The things we put our planner pages in. They can range between $1 for a junior binder to several hundreds for an alligator filofax. We're going to cover the basic organizers, and there's 3 types.
Binders are the classic, and there's a 99.9% chance you used them at one point or another in school. White & colored plastic. Large zippered binders (hello, middle school). Maybe even a cute one or two. You can find binders in full/letter size most, but also in A5/half sheet size. These binders come with 3 rings , and the punches can be found pretty cheaply.
- Super easy to use & transfer pages in & out
- Easy to find in local stores
- Comes in many colors, patterns
- Quality ranges from PVC cheapies to faux-leather & cloth
- Cheapest option - great for beginners & if you have lots of extra pages you want to keep organized (you can have extra binders to keep extra pages in)
- Can be bulky given the hard spine
- Few or no pockets for holding stickers, list pads, planning goodies
- No pen holder
- No snap or elastic to hold closed
- The hole punch goes pretty far into the page compared to the six-ring
Where can you find them?
You can find binders pretty much anywhere, the most obvious being office supply stores (if you're lucky enough to have a Staples that still has Martha Stewart for Avery goodies, check it out) & Target. Russell & Hazel has many cute binders that are at Container Store & Target, as well as their online store. You can also check out Amazon & Etsy.
A popular version of this is the Arc System at Staples & the Happy Planner shown above. The basis of the discbound system is you use a series of plastic or metal discs to hold your papers together. I've never used this type of planner, so I'm not sure how it holds up with carrying around, but I've heard from others it does well.
- Less bulky than a binder - you can buy different size discs, so you can use the same pages but increase disc size for more storage
- Interchangeable pages
- Customize-able - you can change the rings, the covers, etc.
- Quality range - from plastic discs & cover to metal rings & leather covers
- Nature of binding means you can make it any size you want
- Various sizes - basic includes full/letter and half/a5
- More expensive hole punch (& fewer of them)
- Not as widely used - not as many options for colors/patterns
- No pockets for planner goodies & no pen loop
- No snap closure (though you could probably add a closure band)
Where can you find them?
The most widely-used system is the Arc by Staples system, as is the Martha Stewart discbound system at staples. Levenger has their Circa line that you can customize by using your own pages. There is also The Happy Planner, which is a pre-made planner that you can edit how you want - it comes with super adorable gold or hot pink discs. Check out #happyplanner on Instagram for some inspiration. You can find it online or at Hobby Lobby & Michaels (you can probably use some killer coupons on it). In addition you can always search Amazon & Etsy for 'discbound planner' or 'discbound notebook'.
These are my favorites. These are the classic leather or leather-type planners that have a snap, elastic, or zipper closure. The most famous is Filofax. They're undoubtedly the favorite of most planner addicts, but they're also the most expensive option of the 3. That said, if you want to carry your planner every day (especially if you keep it in a packed tote/purse), this is a great option to keep everything looking great, plus they come in sizes that you can carry around easily. Planners come in a variety of sizes - the most common being A5/half page & personal size, but also in full/letter (full size mostly comes in black or brown faux-leather for more corporate types - great if you have to carry around for a specific reason but not great as a daily planner), compact (a Filofax size that is the same paper size as personal but smaller rings), mini, & pocket. Each size has it's own pros & cons, but that's for another time. Also some companies do American sizing (Full page, half page, personal, etc.) and some do International sizing (A4, A5, A6). I know. Check out this blog post for a bit of companies have what sizes. Anyway...
- Keeps everything safe & sound
- Variety of styles - from super adorable & kawaii to corporate conservative style
- Variety of quality - from faux-leather plastic to real high-quality leather - and every degree of build quality with every degree of material quality; also available in canvas
- Almost all have pockets and/or zipper pockets - some have few, some have a ton
- Variety of sizes (listed above) to fit your needs & uses
- Variety of price-points
- Variety of sizes can get confusing, and if you own multiple sizes you'll need different size inserts & different hole punches
- Most expensive option
Where can you find them?
Filofax is the most common brand. You can find them at their online store, amazon, & ebay. They have a wide variety of styles & prices, but all are very well made. I'm saving up for an A5 Malden in brown. The styles don't change much, but the colors will change season to season. Another very popular brand is Kikki.K . Their large is A5, medium is personal size, and planners come in a variety of colors & styles and with either snap or elastic closure. They come out with new styles rather frequently so if you don't see something you love just wait a few months. These planners are a bit more expensive - the medium starts at $65. They have a ton of desk/stationary goods that are very cute. You can also find Kikki.K planners on ebay. For both of these brands my advice is if you don't see something you LOVE, just wait. They change out the styles frequent enough that you should be able to find the perfect one sooner or later.
In the realm of super-high quality planners are Kate Spade planners (currently only found on ebay, though the office supplies on the Kate Spade website are amazing), Van Der Spek (customizable - more classic than cute, but beautiful) & Mulberry (classic style). I've also seen Louis Vuitton organizers.
My favorite is the reasonably priced planner category. You can try your local thrift store to see if they have any pre-loved (or even unused) planners - often you'll find the classic styles in brown & black, but you never know. You can also find brown/black more corporate styles at Staples & Office Max/Depot and occasionally at Target & Amazon/Ebay. Franklin Covey is a popular time management you can find on amazon & ebay at very reasonable prices, but be forewarned that some of the planners have 7 rings instead of 6.
Now that that's out of the way - the cute & cheap(er) planners. My jam. These are faux-leather & canvas planners that can still last you years if you treat em right. You can find these on Etsy & various stores. A cute brand is Love Doki, which had a lot of different styles in A5 & personal sizes. They look similar to Kikki.K and I love their options for zippered personal size planners, perfect for a planner/wallet. Another popular brand is Webster's Pages. They only sell wholesale online, so you'll have to buy through an Etsy seller or another website. They only have 1 style, but a variety of colors and they just came out with A5 planners in addition to their classic personal size. They have adorable dividers as well.
Happie Scrappie sells a variety of planners at great prices, though you have to jump on them fast because they quickly sell out. Marion Smith designs adorable planners, but you have to get on a wait list as she only designs them one at a time and then they sell out. FindingNana is another adorable shop with a good collection of planners (lots of mint colored ones). You can look through etsy, amazon, ebay, & aliexpress for affordable planners.
I compiled all the planner organizers currently being sold on Etsy here.
So that's my huge compendium. Hopefully this will help you decide what system is best for you in your quest to be more organized.
What's your experience with organizers? Have a favorite type of planner? Favorite brands or shops? Share your knowledge with your fellow planner addicts below.