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Personal Organization 101: What do you really need?

September 11, 2017

So I’ve come to accept that I’m less on the crafty side when it comes to planning.  Ive made it a point to get back to basics and it’s helped to keep my planner working as a productivity tool. After a couple months of  experimenting, I finally have a system that is both structured and flexible for my ever-changing needs.

Whether you’re a student, parent, professional, or some combination of the three, here are some supplies you’ll need establish a solid organizational system:

  1. Well, a planner. Think about your needs because size matters. A few things to consider:
    • Is it something you want to carry out and about or will it stay in one place?
    • How much do you write and what size is your handwriting?
    • How important is personalization to you?


I chose a ring-bound personal sized Filofax Finsbury for my EDC (every day carry)  because it’s portable and doubles as a wallet. My handwriting is average in size and I don’t need to write much –  anything I need to say can be summarized in 2-4 words. Another perk about personal size is that it’s easy to find inserts and accessories.

My work planner is quite the opposite of my EDC (large, A4 size) because I need plenty of space to make detailed plans. Portability isn’t much of a concern because it stays at work.

Personalization is a must, so the rings give me the freedom to change my system as often as I want.

2. A quality pen(s). Find something that writes smoothly and won’t bleed through your paper. If you want to color code, just about any kind of pen will do. Don’t think you need to get the latest and greatest from an office supply store – Dollar Tree has an impressive selection!


My all time faves are Pentel R.S.V.P.  ballpoint pens. They’re comfortable, write smoothly, and are narrow enough to fit in most pen loops. Fine point pens are a must when using small planners.



3. Sticky notes. These are handy for recording tentative events or writing tasks that can be moved around during the week. I also use these to pre-plan.  If I have an event coming up in the next week but I’m not ready to write it down in my planner, I write it on a sticky note and place it where it belongs.   Post-It brand sticky notes are my go-to because of the bold colors and quality.

4. Tabs.  I don’t know why, but these are like GOLD to me. Tabs, especially very bright ones, make it easy to organize and locate information in your planner.

5. Highlighters. You can use these in a couple of different ways. In the past, I’ve used a highlighter to note incomplete tasks and spot them easily the following day. You can also do the opposite and highlight completed tasks – they accomplish the same goal, which is to make the important information stand out.

 More recently, I’ve come up with a color coding system that is working out well. When everything’s been coded, I can quickly glance at my pages to see how busy I’ll be and where I’m spending my time. These Mildliners are perfect for my personal planner – they come in a mix of bright and cool colors and a single one fits into the rings of my personal planner

6. For ring and disc planners, a hole punch: I love printables and making lists with graph paper, so this six-hole punch has been invaluable. I chose this one  because it can punch A5, personal, and pocket sized paper.  A single hole punch works just as well for small amounts of paper.

7. A page marker. Anything can be a page marker: a paperclip, binder clip, ruler, or even another tab. These make it easy to flip to the day/month and also keep unused pages out of the way.

8. Correction Tape.

9. A pen case (optional). This may be more practical for students as something to carry on a daily basis. I store my most important supplies here and they’re ready to go when I travel or just want plan outside of my craft room.

Lihit Lab Pen case
That’s all you need.

I wouldn’t like planning quite as much if it didn’t involve a little bit of decor, but these are the essentials that keep me organized and efficient through the week. If you’re a planner noob, start with these basics and figure out what keeps you productive – there’s plenty of time to add embellishments later.

What are some of your essentials? 


Happy Planning!


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