Monday, February 2, 2009

DIY Planner

In my quest to find the planner just for me I did some perusing this past week at office supply stores, Target, etc. I found the office supply stores to be the most expensive, with the least expensive price being around $30 for the planner size I wanted (a medium, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2") all the way up to $80 - yes, $80! Target had more reasonable prices - around $22 - for the style I wanted, but by that time, I had discovered something hiding in a cabinet at home and had decided to make my own.

After returning home from the office supply store I got to thinking that I knew I had a little binder the same size as the planner I'd wanted. In looking at the planners at the stores I knew that they had quite a few more and different categories than the ones I really wanted. So at home, I went ahead and took a look for that little binder and found that not only did I have one...

... but that I'd also, at one point in time, used it as a little planner. I'm sure this was right before making my homeschool planner, which I'd thought would replace it by being an all-in-one sort of thing, but as you'd recall from my previous post, it has proven to be to unwieldy for carrying around with me.
The one I had already had plenty of paper for notes, which is one thing I definitely needed, as I have found that my to-do list has become my Brain-on-a-Page. An aside here: While I do know that our memories become more challenged as we get older, I also think that - at least at this point in my life, as a newer forty-year-old - that essentially, my mental hard drive is just OVERLOADED. I feel like I have SO many things to keep track of at one time that if I don't write down all the minutiae of my day, little things easily get overlooked. Thus the Brain-on-a-Page.
I even had an address book already in there too! Now all I needed was a monthly calendar for starters and I would be set. I say, "for starters" because I plan to add categories as I decide I need them, just as I have done with my homeschool planner. I have thought about having a section for books titles that I come across and want to read. I think I will have one, because something I like to do when I am out shopping is to write down titles that I see in gift shops, bigger discount stores like Target, or even book stores. I am not much of a book buyer unless I find it is a title I want to come to again and again - reference books, books on design, or art techniques, and a few, rare pieces of fiction. Mostly, I use the library or will occasionally pick up something at the Goodwill bookstore. I find the book list is especially helpful when I am looking for titles for the girls. Children's toy stores or book stores are especially helpful in this area, pointing me to new and popular titles I might otherwise miss.
It's not that I never buy books. I do like to buy books for gift-giving, but for myself with my budget and my space, I prefer to borrow rather than buy. And with the looks of my regular library fines (sigh) - even at $0.50 here and $2.00 there - I actually do spend money on books.

Back to the planner. I knew I wanted my planner to be pretty. I like pretty things around me - especially if I am going to be using them daily. I don't need things to look "professional," which is a nice thing about being a homeschooling mama. So, I can make them look how I please.

I picked up two sheets of the top paper at .59 a piece and one page of the dotted paper on sale for .39. I got these and the alphabet stickers, $2.99, at Michaels. Then I got the calendar refill pages at Target for $6.99, the most expensive thing on my list. I thought about making my own monthly pages - and I might do that for next year - but I wanted the tabs and I couldn't think, off-hand, how to do them myself. I found a few plastic ones that I could use for other categories, but they were $3.99 and weren't that pretty, so I didn't want to spend the money on that this year.

I happily set to work when I got home. I covered the front and back with the paper. I glued it to the cover with some matte medium and covered it with contact paper. I had planned to used the dotted background page to cut out a little rectangle to have on the front cover with the title of my little book - I was going to call it, "Every Day," but once I'd gotten in on there, I decided I'd preferred the look of the cover plain and so just used the stickers to add my initials to the bottom corner.

And then I added the dotted paper to the binding just for an added touch.

I really like how it has turned out and hope to put it to good and steady use. It makes me happy to see it when I use it and even happier knowing that I put it together myself.
My mom, bless her heart, actually found an old (1999) Palm Pilot for me at a garage sale this weekend for $2.50! Of course, it couldn't be hooked up to either of our computers. It would have worked on its own just as a calendar and address book. It was confirmmed for me, though, when looking through the instruction manual, that this type of system isn't for me. I have a bit of an aversion to the tiny type - the tiny keyboard and having to learn a new alphabet to input the information with a stylus. I thanked her, of course, and after looking it over, decided my older daughter would really love it and so she has a new toy of sorts to keep track of whatever a 12 year old might want to keep track of - mainly her friends' phone numbers and addresses.
Thank you to everyone who shared organizational ideas with me! It was fun to read how you keep your lives running smoothly. Marie mentioned a product similar to an iPhone, but that would require having a cell phone and another monthly bill - neither of which I have or want at this time. I'm pretty happy with my old-fangled phone card for long-distance, costing me all of $60 a year. I buy 1000 minutes twice yearly and this seems to work quite nicely for us. That's not to say that I won't ever, ever get a cell phone someday. But right now my home phone and answering machine are all that I need. I've only ever thought it would be nice to have a cell phone when I'm running late for something and am stuck in traffic or something like that. But then, I just show up late and explain and apologize and it's free. ;) And mostly, I don't always really want to be found. The people who really need to get ahold of me usually know where I am and others just leave me a message and I call them back. Since cell phones have been invented I have never been in a situation in which I have said, "If only I'd had a cell phone!" Again, that's not to say I won't ever have one, but every time my husband and I consider it, we still maintain that things are pretty comfortable without one. It's similar to living without a microwave... but that's another post for another day! :)

Hope your week's off to a good start!

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