Pic above shows my A5 Filofax Chameleon in Raspberry and the Erin Condren 18 Month Planner
I have a colourful past. At least in regards to my planners hehe…I’ve tried a myriad of styles, brands, sizes and formats. One thing that I really do prefer and cannot let go of is the ring binder style of planner.
I’ve been asked quite a bit through comments on my Life is Crafted YouTube Channel, Facebook Page and emails about why I prefer Filofax to Erin Condren (which really translates to why I prefer Ring binder/loose leaf page organizers over bound planners).
I love the designs and colours of some brands of stationery notebooks and diary planners. Unfortunately, even though some of them are truly beautiful, they just aren’t functional for me. When I’ve used them in the past I just found myself ‘hacking’ them to suit my needs which often ended up messy and disorganised.
Here are some of the aspects to look at when choosing between a bound planner and a loose leaf ring binder organizer (and I admit I am totally writing this with an obvious bias…).
Okay this is where the bound planners could have an advantage! Bound planners are often thinner than ring binder folders because…they don’t have rings…it’s really just the width of the pages.
It can mean they are a bit more portable in relation to their similar-page-sized counterparts (ie an A5 Filofax is larger than A5 but an A5 bound diary is generally A5 plus a couple of millimetres). Unfortunately if they don’t have a section where you can write down your notes and lists you may end up carrying another notebook around with this information in it (or it could just be your phone!).
The bound planner below has 18 months worth of pages so it is thicker than normal!
This is where I feel the main advantage lies in ring binders. We are all different and have different planner requirements. With a loose leaf planner you can add the pages you want and remove the ones that aren’t useful for you (which can make it lighter or perhaps heavier, to carry around).
There are a lot of different types of pages out there. Packs for travel, medication, finance, health, menu planning, family specific pages etc are available. Invite the ones into your life that are relevant and helpful.
PRINT YOURSELF PAGES
If a certain type of page that you would love to have doesn’t exist yet, you could put something together yourself. With just a little bit of creativity and something like word or excel you can have your own unique pages. All you need to do then is print, holepunch and add it to your loose leaf binder.
CONTROL OVER SECTIONS AND ORDER
Some people want note paper up the front. Others don’t need to have an addresses section. They want a fitness tab at the back and their goals section up the front. The ring binder planners allow you to organise and arrange the sections in an order that works for you.
Get some tabs and name them whatever you want them to be.
You finally have a place where you’ve collected everyone’s birthdays and special dates. Plus you’ve spent numerous days collating and brainstorming your lists. Then the year ends and you have to spend hours transferring all the info into your new bound planner. Arrrrrrrgh!
With a ring binder you keep all your carefully crafted birthday and life lists and just add in the new year’s calendar pages. Yippee!
LOOK & FEEL AND DECORATION
We love adding our own touches to things – we decorate with stickers, include pictures of loved ones, add gorgeous quotes that inspire us and have a page or two of our inspiration or mood boards. This is all more easily done in a binder.
There are a lot of accessories you can add to your planner to make it what you need to be. Rulers, business card holders and index tabs are just some of the items you can add or take away as your needs change. I love having pictures in the business card holders and use a few rulers to bookmark important sections.
I’ve found it hard – when I’ve jotted lists, scribbled notes and planned project on bound planner pages – to process and archive them . Bits of information that may still be relevant or could be better collated together with similar information, is all over the place. With the folder organizers I can just remove the relevant pages and put them in another part of the planner or in a separate file where they make more sense. Then I just archive the old calendar pages in another folder or box.
So, if you like being able to craft a planner to suit your individual needs I would recommend a binder style. Filofax is one brand of many, with its own pros and cons, but I love my Filofax Chameleon in A5!
Are there any advantages or disadvantages of bound vs ring planners that you’ve found? What do you prefer and why?
Life is crafted. Craft yours.