The Best-Laid Planners

In the midst of my organizing spree, I found myself wandering down a YouTube tunnel of DIY planner and binder videos, art journal tutorials, and all manner of other creative pursuits.  You can learn all sorts of art techniques from YouTube.  What caught my eye, though, was the idea of a DIY planner made from a cheap composition book.

I’ve been trying to find the right planner for most of my life.  It had never really occurred to me that I had the skills to just up and make one.  Videos like this one show how easy it is (it’s a series of I think 7).

Easy, cheap, with room for all sorts of creativity and personalization.  So I gathered up a bunch of decorative paper and bits of things I had around, grabbed a composition book, and went to town.

front cover

It’s true that the paper is very thin, but honestly it’s only a tiny bit thinner than a Moleskine notebook page.  I created mine for June through December, so I could give the idea six months and see if it works for me, and after that I might upgrade to a nicer notebook or something.  But the nice thing about the comp book being so cheap is that you’re not messing up some fancy book – it’s not intimidating to draw and color and glue all over the pages because even if you screw the whole thing up you’re out, what, five bucks total?


Inside the front cover I created a gusseted pocket using a poor forgotten old file folder I scrounged from a file cabinet at work that I don’t think had been opened since the Reagan administration.  For instructions on making your own pocket like this go to the video series above and find the one that shows you how.


The first section of the book is the month in view; each two page spread has a calendar for the month glued in, with lots of room all around it for making notes, making lists, drawing little pictures, or whatever springs to mind.  Right now it looks a little sparse, but just wait until the end of the month!

june divider

In my wanderings I found a nifty site called Secret Owl Society which features all sorts of printables, recipes, lifestyle shifting advice, and more.  That’s where I found the above, a series of steps to take once a week to help make the next seven days run more smoothly.  I thought it was a great list, so I pasted it into my planner on the divider for June.

Speaking of Secret Owl, one of the free printables they make is a beginning-of-the-month sheet; each month has a different design but all are basically the same concept.  You set goals, make plans, make lists.  I thought that was also a great idea, but I wanted mine to be a little more tailored to me, so I made one that includes my monthly Tarot reading.  You’re welcome to take it if you like and use it wherever – it’s a png, and is an appropriate size to glue into a composition book.  I also made an end-of-month form as well so that I can reflect on the goals and plans I made before.

At the front of the book are the two-page month spreads; after that, each month gets a divider, and within it are the two sheets I made, then a page for each week with space for each day to write down events, feelings, insights, whatever.  I might just draw in one or color; I might keep track of my bipolar symptoms.  I’m only preparing these pages one week at a time so each one can be its own creature.

week view

This Month

In Review

I’m working on a YouTube playlist of all my favorite art and craft tutorial videos.  Have one you’d like to share?  Do so in comments.  I’ll post the list next week (hopefully).

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