I began the process of crafting my own custom daily planner simply because the store-bought daily planner that I’ve been using for the past 18 months cost a hunk of money and yet wasn’t quite everything that I needed to be.
In fact, nothing was.
But that’s the thing with store-bought, isn’t it? You pay money for it, and in return you receive a product that you have very little say in, from the composition of the paper (Recycled? Unbleached? A very light lavender in shade?) to the construction of the entries (I don’t WANT Saturday and Sunday to share a single box–I have separate errands to record on each of those days!). Sure, it seems fine, and you can make it work, but when you’re a crafter, you come to realize that not only can you always make something of better quality than store-bought, and often make something cheaper than store-bought, but you can also make something that is exactly, and I mean EXACTLY, the way you want it to be. You’re never going to get that kind of power when you’re just one in a million being marketed to.
So whether you’ll punch your pages and put them into a three-ring binder create your own multi-folio hand-bound book, I encourage you to consider crafting your own daily planner this year. If you’re still on the fence, here are some of the types of pages that I’ll be including in my own planner–if the thought of all these handy organizational tools that I’ll have at my fingertips makes you jealous, then you’re halfway to a DIY planner of your own:
- Weekly Calendar: A good daily planner has, at its essence, the perfect weekly calendar. I like a tiny day/date label, individual entries for Saturday AND Sunday, and plenty of room to write appointments and time-sensitive chores. I’ll be creating my weekly calendar in Adobe InDesign (and by “I”, I mean my graphic designer husband), so that I can add birthdays and our fancy Waldorf holidays before I print it onto store-bought recycled paper; however, if you’re less adorably obsessive than I am, consider using a free downloadable weekly calendar template–I really like this printable weekly calendar from Perideau Designs.
- Blog Calendar: I blog daily in my personal blog, which is rather free-form, but twice weekly here at CAGW, which requires forethought–especially the tutorials! For regular bloggers, a weekly blog planner, such as this Free Printable Blog Calendar from Living Locurto, can be indispensible. I plan to print my CAGW blog schedule directly into my weekly calendar, which will allow me to plan ahead several weeks at a time.
- School Schedule: I write my children’s projects and homeschool work into a weekly chart like this Homeschool Weekly Subject Planner from The Peaceful Mom. Families whose children go off to school, thus leaving them in peace for a little while each day, can use this same chart to record homework assignments and larger projects. One chart bound into my planner for each week will allow me to record schoolwork done even when we’re out and about.
Meal Organization Planner
- Weekly Menu and Grocery List: Sometimes I like to plan a week’s worth of brand-new dinner recipes an hour before our grocery trip, and other times I like to figure out a week’s worth of simple dinners based around what we already have in the pantry. What I do NOT like to do is walk into the kitchen at 5 pm and think, “Hmmm, what should I make for dinner?”. A menu page like the Organized Eatery page from Life’s a Journal is brilliant, because it has the space to write seven daily dinner menus, and a space to record the groceries that you need to make them, broken down by department. I plan to include a weekly menu/grocery page for every week in my DIY planner.
- Lunch Box Planner: My girls only need lunchboxes for the odd field trip or day camp, and yet I still struggle to find anything to pack them that they will eat on their day out. During the two weeks last summer that my younger daughter attended a drama day camp that forbade peanut butter, I resorted to packing her a vegan corn dog every day and simply waiting for Child Protective Services to come calling. Fortunately, A Little Delightful has this problem solved with her Lunch Box Planner Printable, which allows you (or your child!) to plan an entire lunchbox menu in advance, to be shopped for or simply prepped by whoever has that job. Since our own lunchbox planning is sporadic, a Lunch Box Planner Printable printed onto sticker paper, ready for a menu to be cut out and stuck onto a particular day as needed, sounds like just the trick.
Fancy Stuff for Your Daily Planner
- Envelopes: Appointment reminders, time-sensitive coupons, permission slips, slips of paper with addresses or phone numbers or lists of library books to be returned–I currently keep these in a million different places, and never in any particular place where they’re easily found. This Make-Your-Own Envelope Tutorial from Simple Stories, however, results in an attractive little envelope, made from recycled papers, that’s the perfect size for gluing into a planner. After I’ve bound my planner, I plan to glue one envelope per month, without the brad, into a blank page inserted at the end of each month.
- Kid Calendars: Kids like calendars, too! If by some miracle I finish my DIY planner before the new year, my goal is to make a simple children’s planner for each of my girls, as well, which would include a monthly calendar, a daily page similar to this wonderful Daily Calendar Journal from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten (with the number of days left in the year substituted for the number of days in school), a journaling, page, and a scrapbook page for photographs that can be added later.
[November calendar photo via Shutterstock]