I have the attention span of a gnat, and I love every new, great, and shiny thing that crosses my path, so it doesn't surprise anybody, least of all me, that I've tried three planners in the past few months. I wanted to share my thoughts on the different planners that I've tried in case you're trying to make a decision! So, here we go!
The three planners I've tried have been the 7x9 Plum Paper Planner with the Horizontal 1 Layout: Notes and Days, the Classic Happy Planner, and the undated Mini Happy Planner (specifically this planner).
Plum Paper Planner
So I forgot to take individual pictures of the front of each planner....oops. The Plum Paper Planner is the teal one with large flowers on it. It's 7x9 inches, and I think it's a perfect size. The cool think about the Plum Paper Planner is the amount of customization you can do - they have six different layouts, a bajillion different covers, and multiple sizes. You can even get your name printed on the cover or put an image or something! You can also start it in whichever month you like. So, if you need a planner for March, you can get a planner for March. I like this because then you aren't wasting months of a pre-dated planner that starts at the beginning of the year.
I was turned on to the Plum Paper Planners by a co-worker, who sold me on the notes and dates horizontal layout. I LOVE having a page for notes, and a page for days. This works perfectly for my work planning, since I can have a to-do list with tasks that are general, for the week, and I can also list deadlines and meetings on the daily page.
One of the first things I noticed about this planner was the paper. It is really smooth. Even though it's really smooth, I don't notice any smearing with the pens I use. I use the Pilot Fixion pens (affiliate link here) and I love them because they're erasable!
As with most planners, the Plum Paper Planner also has a monthly spread, and a page at the beginning of each month for monthly dates/goals/etc. At the beginning of the planner, there's also a page with the year-long calendar (mine had 2017 and 2018 since my planner spread across the two years) along with pages for special dates for each month, and ideas/goals/etc.
The page with the goals and birthdays and such is on the back of the monthly tab page. Then there's a page for notes, and then you flip it open to see the full calendar. It's a little annoying that you have to flip a page to get to the calendar, but also, not the end of the world. Then there's the pages for the weeks, and then a few notes pages at the end of each month.
Like I mentioned, the customization aspect of the Plum Paper Planner is awesome. I added a to-do list page at the back of each month. (Though, in retrospect, I should have gotten the tabbed section at the end with all the to-do lists in one place.) The only downside is that with all the color coordination, the to-do list pages are all a purple color. Which I like, but doesn't match each month.
At the end of the planner, there are also pages with the next year's calendar and upcoming holidays, as well as pages for online usernames and passwords and contacts. Last, but not least, there's a small pocket in the back of the planner!
While I love love love my Plum Paper Planner, there is one downside - once it's created, that's pretty much it. Because of the ring binding, you can't really add or subtract anything. However, I love the heft of the planner, and the size is just right. Since I don't carry it around very much (it mostly lives on my desk at work), it really works for me, even though it is kind of thick.
All in all, the Plum Paper Planner really works if you know exactly what you want going in and you don't plan on changing your mind at all. The cover is sturdy and I feel like it would withstand being thrown around in a purse or toted around, and it is super customizable so you can make it exactly what you want!
Classic Happy Planner
The Classic Happy Planner was the planner I used both at home and at work before I got my Plum Paper Planner and my Mini Happy Planner. While I really like it, it just didn't work for what I needed to use it for.
The Classic Happy Planner has a vertical layout, which is great if you're into the Erin Condrin Life Planner and want a cheaper alternative, but I find it doesn't work perfect for me. I ended up splitting the boxes into different functions - top box was social media and blogging, middle box was actual dates/appointments and bottom box was school assignments or other to-dos.
The classic Happy Planner is about the same size as the Plum Paper Planner, I believe it's just about a half an inch taller. One thing I liked about it was that it's a little more fun than the Plum Paper Planner. The Happy Planner has pretty images for each month's tab, for example, while the Plum Paper Planner just has tab pages that are a single color with a circle and the first letter of the month on them.
One upside (and downside) to the Happy Planner is that it's based on the ring-bound system. Therefore, you can insert and remove pages as much as you want! They sell "bookmark" type pages with tabs on the top, and blank lined pages, as well as folders. The downside is that none of these things come with the planner, so if you want to customize it to the amount you'd customize your Plum Paper Planner, it starts to get a little pricey. However, it was nice to be able to take out the months I wasn't using at the moment to pare down the planner a little bit.
The ring-bound system also has the unfortunate effect of not feeling as sturdy as a coil-bound planner, in my opinion, which is the downside. But, I liked the ability to add pages as I needed them, and not be pinned down by choices I had made months ago.
Mini Happy Planner
The vertical layout of the Classic Happy Planner started to get on my nerves, especially after I tried the horizontal layout for work and loved it. So, I picked up a Mini Happy Planner (let's admit it, it's also because it was SO CUTE) from Michaels. I wanted something that was more easily thrown in a purse and taken with me places, and I definitely found that in the Mini Happy Planner.
The major downside to the planner I got was that it is undated. So I had to put in all the dates myself.
The other downside is that it's a little tiny! It's about half the size of the Classic Happy Planner. I mean, "mini" is in the name so it's not that I was surprised, but it doesn't leave much room for writing. I don't use the monthly spreads on most of my planners, but least of all on the Mini Happy Planner. I do like the pages that precede the monthly spread, with room for writing in birthdays. They're cute and don't have extra space for information I am not going to use (like monthly goals or what I'm thankful for that month).
The horizontal layout is great. I don't need the notes page like I do at work, so it ends up being just enough space. You have to write kind of small to fit everything in, so if you have messy or big handwriting, this may not be the planner for you.
As you can see, I color-code my notes. I use Ganssia erasable pens for my planner at home since they have a smaller tip than the Frixion pens and more color options. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find them on Amazon anymore! These do need a few seconds to dry though, or they will smear, which is kind of annoying. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find them on Amazon anymore. An alernative would be these thinner tip Fixion pens from JetPens.
The Mini Happy Planner has all the benefits and downsides as the classic happy planner in terms of the ring-bound system. I like being able to add and remove pages, but it doesn't always feel as sturdy. And for the Mini Happy Planner, the pocket is TINY! Obviously, but it's hard to fit much in it.
Overall, I've found different planners work for different things. Having a small, portable planner to carry around? Definitely the Mini Happy Planner is perfect for that! Customizable planner for work purposes? The Plum Paper Planner works great! Even the Classic Happy Planner is great - we're now using it as a meal planner for my family, so we found a purpose for that one too!
What is your favorite planner? Did I miss something important about the Happy Planner or Plum Paper Planner? Feel free to chime in in the comments!!