*2015 update: Unfortunately the Martha Stewart planner line has discontinued this year. You can check out the planner I am using in 2015 and also use a $10 off coupon provided in the blog post! Thanks for dropping by!
So I upgraded to a Martha Stewart disc bound planner for 2014 from a spiral bound BlueSky planner from Target. After using it for 2 months, I thought I'd share how I feel about the planner, because when I was searching for detailed information about this planner before I bought it, I couldn't find any!
The color, first of all, is just gorgeous. It's the thing that drew me into the planner in the first place. Being a Martha Stewart product, you can be sure that apart from the color, it's also a sturdy, quality product.
The pockets on the left side are nice sizes. They work great for business cards, receipts and letters you may need to look into. I keep my son's doctor appointment information in it, along with his immunization form.
On the right side, I added my own 2014 goals list. It helps me stay focused. I wanted to stray from the same old checklist style and do something a bit more unique. Also, since this is the first page, it's easy for it to get torn over the span of one year. I therefore reinforced the side of the paper with washi tape.
(The notepad paper is from Erin Condren)
I needed to punch holes for the disc bound planner and also cut out strips of paper from the edge for it to be inserted. The whole point of the disc bound system is that you can take the pages out and insert them back in within a few seconds. There's no need to open any rings of a binder and no need to tear out pages like in a spiral bound notebook. It's very easy to personalize.
Here are the tools I used to make my own inserts. You can also by a hole puncher which is made for punching 8 holes in one go along with the strip at the edge cut off, but it costs $50 and this costs a small fraction of that price.
Fun side note: see the purple pair of scissors? I bought them when I started first grade and have used them every year throughout my school life, then in university, then after marriage, and still using them regularly after becoming a mom! The stories those scissors could tell... :)
I added these tabs to my planner. I love the look of it! The can be found on Amazon or at the Container Store. Apart from the 12 months, it also includes tabs such as Notes, To Do, Travel, Contacts a few more.
Martha Stewart's 2014 inserts, which I am using this year, have some great info pages in the beginning of the planner. They include Personal Reference, Holidays, 4-Year Reference, Special Dates (that you can add), Clothing Sizes and Conversions.
The 4-Year Reference page is great for tracking vacations and planning ones in the future.
Here's a look at my month-at-a-glance from January. I like how on the right hand side there is space for extra notes and you can also refer to the last month and next month easily.
Yes. I color code. But you knew I'd do that.
Now for my biggest problem with the Martha Stewart planner. Her lovely tips.
I'm the kind of person who uses the month at a glance section more than the daily section. It's just easier to refer to a specific day and see what's going on. However, some days don't have that much space to write in because of her long tip of the days. And I need that space!
I mean, I love Martha Stewart. She is the epitome of creativity. But...I can't go to the farmer's market on a random Monday in June just because it says I have to in the planner and I'd rather write stuff I actually WILL do that day. Sorry Martha :(
Ok. Moving on.
So one fine day I decided to "decorate" my planner pages because it was the in-thing to do. Yeah, as you can see, not for me. It was fun while it lasted, but I'm going to stick to just writing in different colors for different tasks rather than "drawing".
One thing I love about the planner is that Martha gave 2 extra boxes on the bottom which are blank and you can add anything you want in them. They could be fitness related, goal related, work related...anything really. I made one of the boxes for Meal Planning. Always easier to know in advance what you're cooking rather than on the day itself. And in the second box I write "Highlights". I want to write down a positive memory I have of the day so that I can look back some day and remember all the blessings. It's great because at the end of the day it makes you look on the bright side of the day.
Finally, the planner provided a large pocket which was removable. I added a couple of post it notes and I picture of my favorite little man.
So, the verdict? I enjoyed trying out a new system, that being the disc bound system. It makes it easy to move the pages around. The cover is very durable and just a stunning color.
The inserts are ok. They get the job done. For month at a glance I would prefer no tips, just a blank calendar and some extra space on the side to write notes, which is provided here. As for the daily pages, I personally don't really need a separate section for Morning, Afternoon and Evening, but I know some people do.
If I had a second chance, I would use this beautiful cover and change the inserts inside. Some of the ones I love are I Heart Organizing's, A Bowl Full of Lemon's and Erin Condren's. However, I was afraid of going through the hassle of printing the first two planners double sided, then punching holes in all of them. And Erin Condren is spiral bound so I'd have to trim the edges and punch holes in them too. Too much work. With a toddler. Not happening.
And so I stuck with Martha Stewart's 2014 planner.
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