Getting Started with Planners and Printables

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Okay, friend! If you are new to planners and printables, or even if you just have a few questions, this page is for you. I’ve got lots of resources here on my site to get you started.

For starters, there are so many planners available today, and I wish I could tell you “this is what you need,” but it is really up to you and what planning style you prefer. However, I can tell you what I love when it comes to planning, and why.

For the easiest route to getting organized with printables, you can take a simple 3 ring binder (I prefer the thinner 1-inch options), and print out letter size printables. You can grab tab dividers from Amazon, Walmart or Target, and you are set to get organized. Letter size printables are easy to print, there are a ton of free printable options online, and they are super simple to get started with.

Creating a binder planner, or as many call them, a “household binder” is perfect if you are a “no nonsense” type of planner. They are also the most budget-friendly option available, too.

Next, let’s talk about some of the “fancier” planner options.

Let’s start with spiral bound planners. There are lots of spiral bound planners, but the one you are probably most familiar with is the Erin Condren Life Planner. I love all of Erin Condren’s products. I don’t use a life planner, simply because I like being able to add pages to my planners. However, I do love her simpler Deluxe Monthly Planner for planning my budget, my content calendar, and more.

The Deluxe Monthly Planner has monthly planning pages and a ton of notes pages. This planner is really great for me for work because I take so many notes throughout the day, and I can use the monthly overview pages to write down deadlines, due dates, and more.

My alternative to the Erin Condren Life Planner that I love is the Happy Planner. The Happy Planner is a “disc-bound” system. You can add pages to these systems, and I absolutely love being able to take my printables and add them to my planner. I have a tutorial here on how to resize printables for the Happy Planner, and then you can use this hole punch to punch holes into the pages for your Happy Planner. I just love the beautiful, creative designs of these planners, too.

My next planner system that I recommend has a few different names. It is a “ring-bound” planner system, A5 planner, or half size “binder.” This planner system is completely customizable and you can put any “half-size” or “half-letter” printables, or physical printed & shipped planner inserts into it. You may also see printables that are “A5 size.” Half letter and A5 sizes are interchangeable, you can use either for this system. There are a lot of smaller ring-bound systems, traveler’s notebooks, etc… but I prefer the larger A5 size ring bound binders. I find that these are the easiest for printing my own printables and putting them into. It is easier to find these planners in store- such as at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and more, and it is easier to find dividers and other accessories. They are just simpler to use, in my opinion. When it comes to planning, I do prefer a system that is simple to put together. My printables include a half size option that is perfect for these.

If you are new to A5 ring-bound planners, here is a great post to get you started.

I love that with an A5 binder setup I can add dividers, create sections, and more to organize everything. I’ve got a tutorial on making your own dividers with a Silhouette machine, here, and an even easier method of creating dividers with some cardstock or scrapbook paper, here.

My current style of dividers that I’m using are these that I made with clear laminating sheets. I can use this set of dividers and change out the paper behind them any time I want. I like changing up my planner with the seasons, so this is helpful and easier than creating a whole new set of dividers each time.

Lastly, while not my favorite planner style, another ring-bound option is a Personal Size binder. They are smaller than the A5/Half Size, which leaves less room to write, but they are pretty popular. I have a guide to setting up a personal size planner here. These are customizable just like the A5 size, you can find personal size printables for them, create your own, or purchase physical printed & shipped personal size inserts to put your planner together.

So, if I had to tell you my two favorite planner styles, they’d definitely be the Happy Planner (Classic Size), and an A5 binder or ring-bound system. While there are a whole lot of planner options out there, I love that these can be totally customized, they offer plenty of space to write, and are perfect for planning and getting organized. However, to keep it simple, a 3 ring binder will definitely do the job.

Have any questions about getting started? Leave them in the comments below!

If you have already dived into the world of planning, you might like our post on the best planner layout ideas.

If you are interested in planning with printables and customizing your planners, I have another great post here on How to Organize Your Entire Life with Printables.