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Living life from cover to cover

Plum Paper planner review

I had been wanting one of those fancy planners for years now. YEARS. I never bought one because I couldn’t justify the cost to myself. It’s a planner, for fuck’s sake. A place to write things down. But then I fell victim to all the pretty pictures on Instagram and Kathy’s posts about her planners and Kristen’s post about hers and I thought, you know what? Treat. Yo. Self. So I did. And I bought a Plum Paper planner. 

I don’t ordinarily do product reviews because, let’s face it, no one cares how I use my planner but Kathy asked for one and so here we go. If you’re bored, send her all the hate mail. 


The ordering process could not have been easier. The website is functional and simple to use and there are a ridiculous amount of choices. SO MANY CHOICES. You can customize your planner however you want and the company is upfront about the pricing (it can get quite pricey if you’re not careful). There’s also coupon codes all over the internets if you’re inclined to look for one (I was). I hated paying for shipping but what can you do?

What I got

Anyone else singing that Sublime song now?

I wound up ordering a 14 month planner with extra notes pages not only in each month but a whole bunch at the end, too. One of the biggest reasons I opted to buy this kind of planner was for simplicity. I’m tired of having 8 billion notebooks and never being able to find what I need in them or on the dozens of sticky notes littering my desk. I figured condensing it all into one place would help keep me more organized and less lost, particularly when it comes to blog post topics or work related information.

Blue and purple polka dots. The most perfectly Jana pattern that ever was.

Blue and purple polka dots. The most perfectly Jana pattern that ever was.


In a moment of ambition, I also added a 12 month fitness tracker. I have to consciously remember to use it on a regular basis and I feel like this is going to be the only part of the planner I regret adding. 

False ambition is present on this page.

False ambition is present on this page.

What came standard in the planner was not only some pockets to hold paperwork (like my daughter’s competition schedule because god knows I have to keep that thing in 9 different places and in as many forms), contacts and passwords pages, and, at the beginning of the month, a highlights page to write down goals, important dates/events, and things to remember. I feel like it’s a bit repetitious for how I already use my planners, and I’m awful at writing down goals, but it’s a nice thing to have in the event I want to start doing it. I do love the tabs separating each month so no worrying about pesky binder clips or paper clips or dogearing pages to know where I am. 

I ordered the larger, 8 x 11 planner instead of the smaller one. It doesn’t fit in my purse but I have a shit ton of room to write my notes and to-do lists and appointments and all the other things I need to remember, and that’s more important to me than portability. I also opted for both the monthly and weekly (horizontal. None of that vertical, column shit) views as I like to be able to look at the month on the whole and then break it down. 

The pros

I absolutely adore all the notes pages! It’s working exactly as I’d anticipated and while I love a good notebook, this works better for the way I function. Having the monthly and weekly views is something I had with my previous planner and I can’t see ever going back to just monthly or just weekly. I love all the room to write my to-do lists or phone numbers I need to call (if they’re not already in my phone) and the space at the top gives me a place to write post topic ideas for the week or reminders for the week or whatever else comes to mind that isn’t tied to a specific day. 

Please excuse my piss poor photo skills.

Please excuse my piss poor photo skills.

It is also helpful to have a place to write down contact info and passwords, especially passwords, since I forget them pretty easily. I know you’re not supposed to write them down but my planner isn’t leaving my house so I’m not worried about anyone stealing them. Plus, if someone wants my information, they’re going to be insanely disappointed. I’m quite boring. 

I also like that, should I ever figure out a way to use the stickers I’ve bought in a way that makes sense, there’s plenty of space to do that without interfering with what I need to write down. I don’t like when information gets all smushed on top of itself. Sort of defeats the purpose.

The cons

It weighs a fucking ton. And due to the size, it’s cumbersome to move around and flip pages and all that, unless it’s laid out completely flat rather than folded in half which is annoying, especially when I’m writing my daily to-do lists in advance. I need to know what I’ve planned for Monday when I’m planning on Thursday and if it’s laid out flat, the binding gets in the way but flipping it is like a fucking workout so finding a middle ground is taking some effort. I think it’s because I definitely went overboard with adding on pages and underestimated just how big it was going to be. That’s my fault, though, not the fault of the company. Next time, I’ll leave out the fitness tracker pages, probably back off a bit on the notes pages, and only do a 12 month planner. I might also move down to the smaller sized one but at this point, I doubt it. 

Big ass monster planner

Big ass monster planner

Besides that, the main complaint, and it’s petty, is that I prefer gel ink pens and they can get smudgy on the pages. It might be the paperstock, it might be my pens. I don’t know. It’s a bit annoying to have to switch pens when I’m writing in the planner but it’s such a first world problem and I’ll deal. 

What does it all mean?

Well, right now, it means that I have a very large, very heavy planner that I’m very happy with. I think I might try some bullet journaling (should I remember but let’s face it, that’s highly unlikely) with some of the extra notes pages. I paid for them; I want to use them. Same with the fitness tracker. I’m thinking I might wait until January to start using it because why not wait? Starting now would be ridiculous. I might also try to use some stickers that I’ve bought (damn you, Michael’s and your sales and coupons and my impulse purchases) and make the planner functional AND pretty. 

We’ll see how it all goes. 

Do you guys have any tips or suggestions for me for using the planner or prettying it up? 

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  1. Femme Frugality

    Glad you did this! I had a professor literally offer is bonus points for ordering a like planner in college. My grades were good enough and I was broke enough that I didn’t bother, but as the years go on it’s taken me a while to find a solution on how to balance and schedule everything. I hate Google calendars so that’s out. I use Asana for work. But for family stuff I still rely on an old school calendar that I have to update when I get home everyday after scheduling things, hoping that I didn’t double book. (I’ve gotten pretty good at the mental tablature, but occasionally it fails me.)
    Femme Frugality recently posted…Curated Black Friday Deals 2016My Profile

  2. kathy @ more coffee, less talky

    Finally! I was wondering when you’d post this!

    I love that you pulled the trigger on a planner; it took me years to do that as well since I had trouble swallowing the prices for bound paper but I’m glad I did and now I’m all “can’t stop, won’t stop” LOL.

    Washi tape and planner stickers are your friends. Michaels has some really good, practical ones that I love by Recollections. They’re also having a massive pre-black friday sale where these things are 30% off PLUS another 30% off coupon for all sale items so that’s practically free.

    If you’d like to try using washi tape before committing to buying, email me your address and I’ll send you a couple of rolls to try. Washi tape is amazing – it has a gentle adhesive that doesn’t tear the paper but it’s totally removable and sticks well. Sharpies work well on them. If you have favourite colours or patterns, let me know (ie. flowers, chevron, polka dots etc).
    kathy @ more coffee, less talky recently posted…Looking back, counting my blessingsMy Profile

  3. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    This reminds me I should get my 2017 planner in order. I have one, not sold on it, and since it was a cheapy $12 thing, I’d be okay with getting another.

  4. Stephanie

    Well I’m thanking Kathy because I love planner posts! I just love seeing what everyone else gets and how they use. LOL at starting the fitness tracking in January, I totally hear you on that one. I had a plum paper for last year and I added the ‘blog’ add on pages and totally loved those for planning. This coming year I’m working with the Emily Ley Simplified Planner but I’m always changing each year so I appreciate seeing what the Plum Paper updates look like.
    Stephanie recently posted…My Year Round Capsule WardrobeMy Profile

  5. Tanya @ A Mindful Migration

    I am find these planner posts fascinating. I don’t use a planner because I’ve bought way too many to have them sit unused on my desk. Plus, I also have the most boring life. 9:00 PM remember to watch This is Us. 11:00 PM feed Max bedtime treat (like he’d like me forget). Midnight: Snuggle with Max (like I’d forget this!). LOL! I do like your planner because of all those notes pages. My daily life is pretty dull, but I do doodle and have too many notes on random pieces of papers and post-it notes. I’m glad you like it overall – I think it’s very pretty and Jana-like!
    Tanya @ A Mindful Migration recently posted…Happy ThanksgivingMy Profile

  6. Kristin

    Love this.
    I’m trying to decide between PP and the Happy Balance planner for 2017.
    I did EC and liked it well enough. I did NOT like Emily Ley at all. It was cheaply made with see-through-ish paper and just not user friendly.
    I like my $10 Target planner but it only goes until summer anyway.
    I like the idea of adding extra notes pages. My issue is that I see them there and don’t use them enough and still have scraps of paper everywhere.

  7. Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders

    So I’ve bought paper planners for the past few years, but I never seem to actually use them! I try them out for a few months and then I just stop using them and resort back to my phone. I have a feeling that it’s because they’re so big that I don’t carry them around with me all the time. I might have to give Plum Paper a try though because they do have a smaller size!

  8. Nadine

    I have never been able to justify a fancy planner either because I tend to quit using the cheap ones after 2 or 3 months. I feel like if I paid more for one that had better page quality and functionality I might stick with it longer. Especially now that I am responsible for another human’s doctor appointments, etc as well. If I order one it is going to be a Plum Paper thanks to Kristen and Kathy and the million other bloggers out there that love them. I would do horizontal like you but the smaller one so I would be more willing to carry it around. I never though about adding more months than 12 bulking it up but that makes perfect sense!!! Now I know I will stick with 12 and just re-order sooner or whatever. I debated the fitness pages and if I would actually use them or not. I mean, I need too…but you know…will I? Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  9. kristen

    yayyy!!! i love this post and i love that you love your planner. that’s a bummer about the pens though. the fitness tracker sounds pretty nifty, but i probably wouldn’t use it either. i hope you do. i get overwhelmed with stickers and things. i have them, but i’m like, afraid to use them. which is ridiculous, i know.


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