The Great Planning Saga

Warning. If you’re not a planner or a lover of paper, you likely will not understand/enjoy this post.

I have a great passion for planning. I am a list-maker, a note-taker, a paper hoarder, and an organizing enthusiast. Recently, I set out on a mission to find the perfect planner for 2015. The one I used this year was great, and I started by looking for the same kind or at least one from the same brand. After weeks of searching, there were none in stores and none online that I liked. Most of the planners I found in stores were still academic year calendars, and I was a little peeved that there weren’t any for 2015 yet. (I know I probably plan ahead too much, but surely someone else has need for the next year’s calendar a few months early?! I always need one for booking weddings so far in advance.) I turned to different options, different brands, and I went through an exhaustive search in countless Targets, Wal-Marts, Etsy shops, and Office Depots. I like the fancy planners that Emily Ley and Erin Condren sell online, but I can’t justify spending $60 on a planner, particularly one that doesn’t have everything I need in it.

And thus, the great planning saga began. I decided to play around with designing and printing my own. Printing thick, pretty pages full of color and detail gets crazy expensive when you go to a professional printer. (Like over $100 crazy.) I experimented and was pleasantly surprised with how well my ghetto printer worked with some nice card stock I already had on hand. ;) I worked on several drafts and finally came up with a workable design, and shortly after, went completely mad. I sat at the computer for hours, re-adjusting files, printing pages front and back, reprinting, reassessing, and I probably have developed some form of back problem from how many times I leaned down to feed paper through my printer. (In hindsight, I probably should have moved my printer to the top of my desk rather than leave it under it.)

Needless to say, it was exhausting, but most definitely a labor of love. I created a cover page, a verse for the year, monthly spread pages, weekly spread pages, and so on. I even made a section in the back for budgeting, prayer lists, party planning, and extra notes. THE ORGANIZATION WAS PERFECT I TELL YOU.

After finally completing my magnum opus, after finishing all page designs and completing the printing process, I went to Wal-Mart for some groceries. They were out of the bubble mailers that I ship my session discs in, so I tried Target. Four minutes after entering my beloved Target, I felt defeated and peeved beyond reason. I stared at this display of the exact planner brand, color, and style that I had been looking for over the last several weeks that was previously nowhere to be found. EVEN THE COVER was incredibly similar to the one I had designed for my homemade planner (the striped one in the middle). Where were these a week before I went printing crazy!? I begrudgingly bought one just in case I couldn’t get my giant chunk of cardstock bound properly, and I left feeling like I had just wasted half my life.


GOOD NEWS THOUGH. I came home and researched a method of using two planners efficiently, and I have figured out a solid way to utilize both without going insane. I took my giant chunk of homemade planner to Staples, and they bound it for me with a coil binding and vinyl back cover for $5. SCORE. (They were super friendly and awesome, btw…I definitely recommend them.)

The planner from Target, much like the one I had this year, will be my traveling planner – the one I take with me everywhere to confirm/book appointments, shoots, etc. and keep track of daily tasks. It’s smaller, so it’ll be nice to just toss in my purse. My homemade planner will be my “at home” planner to keep track of dates/appointments from home and used for more in-depth planning, like grocery shopping, meal planning, household chores, etc. It’ll also be helpful for budgeting and just getting life in order. It’s much bigger and heavier, at regular paper size and close to 100 pages, so it will be convenient to mostly keep at home.

I’m pretty excited. I realize this whole post is probably an absurd thing to several of you, but I know you OCD planners are probably shaking your head in agreement and virtually fist bumping me, am I right??

And here, I give you the fruits of my labor…the great homemade planner that sucked all the creative energy out of me and possibly gave me scoliosis.


$5 binding from Staples for the win.


The first pages are important dates and a favorite Bible verse.


Every month has its own two-page spread to keep track of the big picture.


Following the month spreads are the individual weeks, each with a different quote or verse to keep me amused. ;)


These PaperMate flair pens from Target (also available on Amazon) look great on the card stock, and they don’t bleed through to the other side.




I think May might be my favorite…I love the sailboat and the color scheme. :)











After the months and the weeks, I have a look at 2016 and a single page for every month to doodle on if needed.



I was looking through Emily Ley’s free printables and came across her prayer lists, and I loved the idea of including prayers in my planner! I made my own version to include in the back.


She also had a party planning page, and I did my own version of that as well.


I have a big notebook where I keep track of our budget, but I thought it would be easy to include in the planner for next year.


Several of the last pages are for notes or doodling…just in case. :)


Before the nice lady at Staples told me about their vinyl back covers, I had planned to just have this page with my name on the back cover. I still kept it in there at the very back because I like the font. ;)



And here it is with my planner from Target. Whew. Come at me, 2015. ;)




7 thoughts on “The Great Planning Saga

  1. I am currently driven myself MAD about my planner for next year. I love the day designer from this year (got it on sale!) But its so heavy to tote around. Ugh! I want a smaller daily portable day designer…is that so much to ask universe?
    Also (because I love planners!) What’s the one you got at Target/would you’re be willing to sell a psd file of your planner? (Its almost perfect for me..) I totally understand the planned madness. :)

    • I know, right!? A perfect planner is hard to find!! The smaller one I got at Target is from a brand called Sugar Paper, and I use it as my “take everywhere” planner! They had quite a few options, but I got a navy and white striped medium sized one. It fits well in my purse but I still feel like it’s big enough to be able to write stuff in.

      And I’m actually thinking about selling files on Etsy! I had several people ask about that today after I posted this blog on my Facebook, so I will be doing a few free printables in the near future for fun and hopefully within the next couple weeks will be putting some printable options up on Etsy after I get my files organized. I’ll blog about it when I do! :)

  2. OH. MY. GOSH. I am one of those paper/organizer people and this is literally the perfect planner. I would LOVE to buy this from you on Etsy if you sell them?! Please feel free to email me lauradille14 (at) if you are interested in selling!!

  3. Pingback: Yays and Nays – December | AbsolutelyBositively

  4. Hello there! I love your planner! I get so excited about planners and all things organizational. Staples- I love that store. Unfortunately, I live in England now and there is no such thing as $5 binding. …I mean, living in England is not unfortunate- just the lack of US stores, like TAGRET (!!) is sometimes depressing.
    What program did you use to design your planner’s pages?

    Happy New Year!

    • Hi Becca! Thanks for your kind words, and I am so sad that England doesn’t have $5 binding or Target!! I designed my planner pages in Photoshop using mostly shapes and patterns. Hope that helps! :) Happy New Year to you too!

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