Thursday, January 29, 2015

Honest Erin Condren Planner Review and How to Personalize SIMPLY!



Last year, I did an in-depth review of the Martha Stewart Planner. This year, I'm SUPER excited to do one for the Erin Condren Life Planner! I had been wanting this planner for 2 years and finally got it for 2015. It arrived at my doorstep in its gorgeous packaging. Along with the planner, you receive little freebies like postcards, stickers, tags and quotes.

There are so many pretty covers to choose from but I decided to get the Platinum Foil cover in Turquoise. The pens I use in this planner are Foray Stylemark from Office Depot. Highly recommend! 

Here's a look inside:


I have personalized the planner in a few ways. Will discuss them in this post!

I missed the pockets in my Martha Stewart Planner for holding business cards and my son's vaccination card. The Erin Condren Planner didn't have it, so I stuck in these pockets that I found from The Container Store. I also made sure to add my contact information in case I misplace the planner.

During this past year, Erin Condren's team came up with an amazing new product - the EC coil clips. If you order the planner MAKE SURE you order the add on item of clips. My only regret is just getting one pack instead of two because they only stick to one thing and are not repositionable. There's so much you can do with them! Here, I have added an old envelope I had and I use it for receipts I want to keep track of. Much better than scrunched up receipts lying around in the purse.

After the envelope, I have used another EC clip to snap in my 2015 goals list.


At the back of the goals sheet, I stuck a post it of an important reminder I keep tending to forget:
My baby is growing up and almost ready for school! Need a constant reminder :) 

I then made a dashboard for sticky notes and paper clips. I used transparent Project Life papers for the backing and used EC coil clips. There's a detailed how-to of the dashboards here.


The planner has a handy overview of the 2014 and 2015 year at a glance at the beginning: 
I find this helpful for planning vacations 


Now, on to the actual planner pages! There are inspirational quotes scattered across the planner. That's one thing that sets the Erin Condren Planner apart from most others. 
My cover was printed incorrectly when it was sent to me - I had asked for 2015 to be written underneath my name. To be completely honest, this is a recurring theme with this company: mistakes in planners and sometimes delays in delivery. However, the quality of the products are outstanding and customer service always sends store credit or an offer to replace where the mistake happened, so all is not lost. I was given $20 store credit to buy a new cover, so I took the opportunity to buy a few add ons along with a cheaper planner cover. The above is a Snap-in To Do List. It is laminated, so you can use dry erase markers to write on it. However, I find that to be messy so I just use post it notes on it and it has been working great!

A look at Month at a Glance:
On these two pages, I write down main tasks I have to do that day, or jot down any special occasion. Washi tape is used for events that last more than one day. To take a look at how I use the letter post its for brain dumping, you can check out my older post here.

Here's a closer look at the key that I use to color coordinate:
This was super simple to make. I stuck a sheet of decorated notepad paper with double-sided tape on to a spare paint chip sample from Lowe's. I then used an EC coil clip to snap it in and I can move it from month to month.

Next, we have Week at a Glance:
The days are divided by Morning, Day and Night. I wish we were able to personalize the categories on our own. I would have preferred Home, Work and To Do, or something along those lines. I know there are some planner enthusiasts who actually go one by one and change the categories using stickers or stamps, but I couldn't see myself doing that. Hopefully the website will have an option for this in the future! 

At the bottom of each day, there are some extra lines for you to use as you wish. Some people menu plan here, buy I chose to use the space as a section for highlights of my day. It's great to look back and read all the positive moments I've had. Really brings a smile :)

During busier weeks, my planner looks more like this. In this particular week, I had family staying over for 5 days, so I planned out all the meals in these two pages. I added post its and used paper clips to add in extra double sided notes. I also stuck in my grocery list for this week on the planner pages. 

On top you can see there's a Today sign sticking out. This is a Project Life card that I snapped in using an EC coil clip. I use post its to change the tasks and can move the card around from week to week. Having the Today sign peep over the top also helps to bookmark which week I am on so I can easily turn to the page.

An example of a not so busy week:

You can easily make your planner pretty by using washi or paper tape. I only use them for events that are longer than a day long, but be creative and use them how they suit you the best! I got these specific ones from a store called Paper Source.

At the end of the planner, there are many lined and blank pages that are empty, so it's up to you to decide how to use them. I have only used a few of the sheets so far:
I usually just meal plan in my mind rather than writing it down. However, when I have guests coming over I make sure to meal plan at least a week in advance. I plan to use this section for either that, or if I'm stuck for ideas and need to quickly check my go-to meals. I use repositionable stickers provided at no extra cost at the back of the planner, so I can easily move them back and forth from this Snap-In Meal Planner. The snap in was another purchase I made with the $20 store credit given for the mistake on the cover. 

At the back of the snap in, there's a section for writing your grocery list. Again, this is meant for using with a dry erase marker, but it would be messy. Instead, I used post it notes from the Dollar Spot at Target to write a list of items that are staple in my house. These are items I use on a regular basis. I plan to make grocery lists based on these two sheets of paper so that I can skim through and don't miss out on something important. It happens sometimes when you're doing groceries with a toddler!

On the next page, I made a section for new meals to learn in 2015. I hope to fill up this entire page with new meal ideas. Please comment below if there's an awesome dish you can provide a recipe for!

On the next page, I made a Wish List for 2015. These are some of the bigger items. 
Next to it I kept a quote provided by Erin Condren reminding me that if I don't get the things that I wish, it doesn't matter...it's the people who do. Just helps to keep things in perspective!

Then there are calendars provided for 2016 and 2017. Could be useful for vacations, wedding planning or planning your semesters at university.

These are the stickers provided for free towards the end of the planner. They are repositionable. If you pay extra you can get customized stickers in this section as well.

There's a pocket that helps to keep little pieces of paper together. I kept the freebies provided by Erin Condren in here.

Here's another item provided with the planner: A Perpetual Calendar and Contacts Booklet. It's useful for moving from year to year in different planners. 

Finally, there's a zippered pocket at the end of the planner. Inside, there are personalized tag stickers for gifts which is a nice touch.
Another thing provided was a matching band to go around the planner to keep it shut. Wish I had known about this earlier so that I didn't buy extras! You can also use the band to bookmark which page you are on in the planner. I also bought this pen holder, but it was not needed because you can just stick a clip on pen inside the coils of the planner. I added a large binder clip at the back of the cover in case there are some bigger pieced of paper like brochures that I want to keep in my planner.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I am definitely pleased with this planner. Yes, it is rather pricey, but if it is a thing that you use day in and day out for 365 of the year, I find it worth it, for at least a year in your life. I personally use a new planner every year just to see what's out there in the market, so trying the EC planner this year was a nice breath of fresh air. 

Another thing to note is that Erin Condren is a small company with not too many employees, and their sales just escalated very rapidly in recent years. They sell high quality products, but unfortunately making mistakes in orders is not unusual in this company. Just be mentally prepared for that and don't look glum because you always get great store credit if there are mistakes from which you can buy even more quality products! Suits me!

In conclusion, because of the price I would not buy this product year after year. But I am SO glad I bought it this time. It makes me happy to look at it every day :)

If you're interested in buying this planner or any other product from the Erin Condren line for the first time, you can use my referral link for $10 off your entire purchase. Also, just a note that this is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own and the company has no idea I'm writing this post :)

How do you personalize your planner? I would LOVE to read your comments! If you're on Instagram tag me @simplyincontrol to show me your awesome planners!

I hope this post was helpful to you! Don't forget to Like this Page on Facebook and Follow me on Pinterest for more updates! 

Linked to A Bowl Full of Lemons

44 comments :

  1. I loved this blog post, I love what you did with the planner, I've always wanted an Erin Condren planner but I couldn't get myself to spend the money for a planner lol, but this gives me ideas on how to plan and decor my $10 Target planner ;) Thanks for the tips... Check out my blog sometime www.Sincerelysaida.com

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    1. The price is one of the downsides unfortunately :( I had been wanting it for over two years so I finally gave in to the temptation this year! I've always used the $10 Target planners and you can do a lot with them! Check out Belinda Selene's YouTube channel, she shows how to pretty the $10 planners up amazingly well! Thanks for dropping by, will check your blog soon iA :)

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  2. What planners do you use besides this one? I still haven't found the perfect one.

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    1. Hi Dusti! So far I have used the BlueSky planners found at Target and the Martha Stewart planner which has discontinued this year. What are some of the features you are looking for in a planner? Maybe I can help.

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  3. You seem to have it filled up already! (smile) love that you added you made it yours, it's vibrant and interactive. I agree about the making your own categories. I normally have home, family, blog,work personal and misc. Love your site.

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    1. Thanks so much for leaving a comment, Kareema! I absolutely love filling up the planner everyday. I find it really relaxing :) Wow you have a lot of categories! Which planner do you use?

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  5. Love this! you've inspired me to get a journal and organize :)

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    1. That's great Adeela! If you're on instagram make sure to tag me @simplyincontrol to show me pics, can't wait :)

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  6. this post came in time. I have always been a day-by-day kinda gal but as responsibilities pile I've recently decided to finally invest in a planner. I read the whole thing and as usual, utterly astonished by your organizational skills. So my question: can u get this planner outside the US, if not wat purchase would u recommend (and smthg accessible that I can get from amazon for example) ...thanks Seher always a great help

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Samah I would recommend everyone to get a planner, even if they're a stay at home mom. Maybe I should do a blog post on that too!

      Yes, you can get the Erin Condren planner outside the US. Shipping might be pricey though. There are tons of planners available on Amazon. I want you to be able to go through them and search for what suits you best. Make sure there are both Monthly and Weekly views in the planner you choose. If I hadn't gotten this planner, I would have opted for a planner called Sugar Paper, which is also available on Amazon. A few other popular brands are Filofax, Daytimer, Bloom, Lilly Pulitzer and At-A-Glance (my husband uses this one). There's one called Plum Paper Planner that is similar to mine but more reasonably priced. Literally hundreds of options out there!!

      Along with a planner you should also get colored pens (I hear Staedtler is the best, but any company would do) and some washi tape. Do this when you order from Amazon!

      I also found an article that compares top planners: http://kaysepratt.com/2014/12/ultimate-planner-review.html

      Keep me updated! Excited about your planner journey

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    2. I just stumbled across this on Pinterest (love your planner ideas, BTW!), and in case anyone else has this question: Yes, you can get them overseas. International shipping is a flat rate of $19.95. However, if you're lucky, there may be a free shipping sale, which lops about half that off. I just bought the Erin Condren teacher planner. A colleague wanted one as well, so we ordered together (flat rate, after all!). By splitting the shipping during a "free shipping" deal, we paid $5 each for shipping. Pretty sweet deal since NOTHING ships cheaply to Korea!

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  7. Even though I now use an electronic calendar only, I still love learning about different planners, and this one is new to me. This is a few years old but most if not all the products are still available: http://organizedassistant.com/paper-planners-the-showdown/

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Janet! I couldn't function with an electronic calendar, lol. This planner company just started up a few years ago so it's relatively new. Will check out your blog post!

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    1. This made me laugh! You evidently haven't seen the elaborate planners. I mainly use different colored pens to organize my planners rather than purchasing all kinds of stickers and stamps. That's why this is a more simple approach! Check out Pinterest for other planners and you'll see what I mean. Thanks for the comment!

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  9. This is such a fantastic review! I keep going back and forth between and EC Planner or the Inkwell Planner. Your planner looks so nicely put together and organized and that's exactly what I'm needing!

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    1. Thanks so much for leaving a comment! I'm glad you found this post helpful. I have heard so much about the Inkwell planners. Will definitely check them out :)

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  10. You have such great style! Both planner and home. I love the way you plan and write in your EC planner. It's neat, clean and very visually appealing.

    Just reading this post and looking at your amazing photos has just sparked inspiration for me to start a Pinterest board of my "Favorite EC Planners".

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    1. Thank you Adella! Really appreciate you taking out the time to comment :) I followed your EC planners Pinterest board, looking forward to keeping up with your favorites!

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  11. I can't find those decorative corner pockets on The Container Store, do you have a link?

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    1. Hi Karen, I'm sorry I'm not able to find the link either! I bought it from the store itself but it was a couple of years ago. Sorry I wasn't able to help!

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  12. Have you heard of the PlumPaper Designs Planners? They let you customise the headings and layouts and things, I've noticed a lot of parents choosing them over the EC planners. I just ordered a planner so I've been reading a lot of reviews to see how people use theirs, hehe. Just thought I'd let you know!

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    1. Hi Kerri! Sorry about the late reply. I have pretty much heard about every planner there is lol. Yes I like how PlumPaper Planners are more customizable, but I read that the paper quality is worse than Erin Condren so it feels cheap/low quality when you write in them. The new EC planners launched in June 2015 have a lower quality paper used too. I will be purchasing an Inkwell Press planner for 2016!

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  13. This is my second year using an Erin Condren planner and I absolutely love it! I decorate with stickers and washi tape and have done several plan with me posts and one on how I use my planner as well. I'm always interested to see how others use their planners to see if something they do might work for me. Great post!

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    1. Hi Rosy, that's awesome! Did you purchase the planner at the new launch? I heard the quality decreased :( I will be switching to Inkwell planners for 2016. Will check out your blog posts!

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    2. I have not yet purchased the new ec planner. I do plan on sticking with it for 2016 but will wait until later this year to actually purchase.

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  14. Stumbled across this post on Pinterest. You have such great ideas! My second Erin Condren planner is on its way. I agree, the price is pretty steep. I wouldn't ever pay full price for this planner although it is nice looking. I think starting next year, I'll buy an ECLP from a Staples nearby that sells them.

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind comment! How are you liking the new planner? It's actually a good idea to get it for cheaper at Staples. You probably have some interchangeable covers already I'm assuming!

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    2. Thanks so much for your kind comment! How are you liking the new planner? It's actually a good idea to get it for cheaper at Staples. You probably have some interchangeable covers already I'm assuming!

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  15. I ordered the new one last month when they released them. I'm excited to get it, since it won't say morning, day and night. In which that will be great for me since I usually never divided my day by that. Just by adding what I usually do with work, school, and so on an forth. Being able to write on the spot what you want it to be titled is going to be extremely nice.
    http://emilymaiko.blogspot.com/

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    1. Hi Emily! That's great that the new planner will work out for you! I don't use stickers and I can't imagine writing the titles in the boxes for the entire year though :( If they have us an option of typing out what we'd like to have printed and sent it to us individually personalized, it would have been perfect! But alas, we don't live in a perfect world ;) Going to check out your blog!

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  16. Love the idea of using the re-positional stickers for meal ideas. I would never have thought of that! FYI though, you are meant to use a permanent marker, not dry erase on the snap in lists. A cleansing wipe will take the ink back off or some people use a wet magic eraser.

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    1. Thanks for the tip! I still feel permanent markers don't look as neat as sticky notes though...to each their own! Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog :)

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  17. Love your ideas! Thanks for sharing. This is my second year with EC and decorating is the best part! Especially love the new custom cover option for the life planner. Thought you might like some of my EC cover designs! https://www.etsy.com/shop/GoldenPetalDesigns?ref=l2-shopheader-name

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    1. Thanks so much for leaving a comment, Brittany! Just checked out your covers, they're all beautiful!

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  18. I have purchased this planner in the past, then again I have purchased many planners in the past! I really like hers because they are great quality and they are beautiful. No matter what planner I buy though, its like I get overwhelmed and I just stop using it and end up just trying to remember everything again anyways. I don't know how you do all this, because it looks like you are very details and make it so fun, you do a great job and I wish I could plan like you do!!

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  19. Love the review post!! They have launched their 2025-2016 planners and the new vertical layout comes w the box heading blank so it can be personalized!! Thought you would like to know! I didn't read all the comments to check if someone already mentioned it or not!!!

    I haven't bought an ECLP yet and I've been going back and forth with the idea and honestly it's the price that stops the decision each time! I think if shipping was free versus having that cost on top of the already pricey planner and then extra accessories it adds up very quickly!

    Thanks for the honest review!! Hope you loved your planner

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  20. I love bringing my planner next to me. It's really awesome and cool to use a planner.

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  21. I ordered one and delivery took 3 weeks. I exchanged six emails with customer service and they would not refund my $9.95 paid for 3-5 business day shipping. Horrible experience for an overpriced product!!

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  22. On this website you will find Excel spreadsheets for Architects, Contractors, Civil and Structural Engineers (professionals and students). Its content is under intensive development so check regularly, or subscribe to the yearly planner, to stay up to date with the latest releases. See below for a list of currently available spreadsheets.

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  23. Try using wet erase markers instead of dry erase. If you wait a second after writing they don't smudge. Just be careful if you're hands are wet. Also when you go to wipe it off be extra careful. The colors will smudge onto regular paper and not come off. I've been using them to write out my menu and grocery lists and they've worked out really well

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