Friday Five: 2014 Planner Reviews

August 1…that means fall is coming, my friends! I adore fall, because it kicks off the seasons when I don’t have to worry about the struggle between covering all of my skin to avoid sunburn and making sure I don’t overheat and die. This struggle has never been more real.

Planner ReviewsAnyway, with fall comes an obsessive need for many people, myself included, to check out school and office supplies and select the all important PLANNER. I keep a few digital calendars (outlook for work, g-calendar for personal) but, like a lot of people, I really like keeping a paper agenda where I can write things in like birthdays, assignment due dates, dinner plans, grocery lists, etc. This leads to struggle numero dos for this post: which agenda to choose? Luckily, I’m here with your Friday Five, prepared to check out my five front runners for an agenda for the upcoming year.

Emily Ley Planner

via Emily Ley

  1. My first option is an Emily Ley Simplified Planner. EL’s planners are as adorable as they are functional: there is a calendar for each month, and then a page for each day. Each day has room for to-do items, as well as an hour-by-hour planner, room for notes and a dinner planner, and a quote of the day. The entire thing is about two inches thick, and sandwiched between heavy duty covers, and is held together with an elastic band. I used an EL planner this year and, while I love it, I don’t think that I have enough going on to warrant a page for each day, and it’s mostly blank; it was also a bit bulky to actually carry around. She’s offering a weekly version this year, but it won’t start until January (it’s 12 months rather than 17) so…I’m considering it, but am not sure it’s my best option.

  2. Then there are the Erin Condren planners. These planners have a customizable cover, so you can add your name for easy reference. There are a few special sections in the front (perpetual calendar, notes page, etc) and then each week is laid on in a spread, with sections for morning, afternoon and evening for each day; there’s also a column for weekly goals and notes. Also included are some stickers, a ruler and a zip top pocket. I’ve read that the pages can bleed with some pens, and I don’t know how I feel about a laminated cover (doesn’t it get bent/destroyed in other people’s bags?) but I do love the smaller size of this binder,the fact that it covers 17 months, and the monthly view in the corner of each page, so you don’t constantly have to flip around. At $50, this isn’t cheap, but might meet my needs.

  3. Next is Kate Spade’s planner. Mainly, I love gold polka dots, and this planneris covered in them. Sold. Seriously,though- there are two side options for this planner, 7.75” x 5.5”, or 9” x7”. Both sizes feature hard covers, gold spiral binding, and an elastic band closure. There are a few pages for notes and tabs for each of 17 months with clever sayings. The weekly spread shows Monday-Wednesday on the left, and Thursday-Sunday on the right. This isn’t really my favoritelayout- I don’t think I would be happy making notes like that. On theotherhand, it’s really gorgeous and, at $30, less expensive than the previous two options.

  4. Oh, Lilly Pulitzer. I don’t think I understand the obsession with this brand, yet, but the LP agenda seems to come up every time I ask for recommendations, so I thought it was worth a look. This planner comes in four sizes, so everyone should be able to find something that works for them in that perspective. This planner features a thick cardstock cover, with heavy duty spiral binding and an elastic band closure. It’s crazy colorful and fun, with monthly tabs, stickers, notes pages, a horoscope section, and a few other interesting parts. This might be my winner, but it has the same weekly layout as the Kate, neither of which are really useful to me for planning. Still super cute, but probably won’t meet my major needs.

  5. Plum Paper Planners. Is this a case of saving the best for last? Maybe. First, the basics: this is a 7.5” by 9” planner with a clear frost plastic cover, with a personalized front page. Included is a contacts page, 2 notes pages for each month, and 2 sided pocket folder. While it’s only a 12 month calendar, it can begin on any month you choose, and you can also choose to add extra months for a small charge. Yep, that’s just the first awesome thing. Beyond that, there are four weekly spread options (morning, afternoon, evening spots; 30 minute increments; days with just lines; or lines notes pages instead of a weekly breakdown) and then different options for style: regular planner, wedding planner, meal planner, fitness planner, teacher planner, or student planner. Pretty much, something that’s perfect for everyone for $31 (and $10 in shipping…). There’s a bit of research left to do, but I’m pretty sure I’ve found a winner.

So, what say you all? Have you found a planner you love? Or are you a normal person that goes to Target and picks out a reasonably priced planner, without worry about all the bells and whistles? I’d love to hear what you do to keep yourself organized!

  • Jennifer Walker

    I’m so picky about my planner and, after a couple years of almost perfects from PlannerPad.com (no affilation) I just gave up and designed my own for 2014 that does exactly what I need it to. It’s worked quite well so far and I envision only a few tweaks needed before solidifying my 2015 version.