Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Alternative Decorative Planners (and my September spreads)

Followers of my Instagram know about my Thing about planners. Yes, I'm a planner nerd. I've written about planners on this blog before in a more practical capacity but my recent love has been decorative planning. Now, there are lots of ways you can decorate a planner. You can use colored pens to color-code or doodle, you can use stamps, you can use washi tape, you can use stickers, you can use craft paper, you can use paint. There are tons and tons of variations on styles. If you're me, that means Goth.

First, though, the basics: why would you use a planner? Well, if you're like me and many other people, you live out of your planner. I check mine multiple times a day to keep track of my blog, my school work, my social life, and more. Without a planner, I'm a mess. It's fairly common knowledge that using a paper planner helps you to remember more efficiently than just keeping it in your brain, or even using a digital planner or calendar. So, yay paper planners!

So, you want to use a planner, but why decorate it? If you use a planner as often as I do, it's nice to be able to have it look nice when you open it. Just like using a screensaver that inspires you or using a pretty bookmark, making something suit your personal style encourages you to commit to a planner. A vibrant community has sprung up around decorating your planner, especially on Instagram with a lot of Etsy stores that specifically sell stickers. If you want some inspiration (most of it not-Goth, but still great) check out the instagram tags #plannerlife #planneraddict #plannercommunity. and #plannernerd. People use all kinds of planners and all kinds of decorations.

Not everyone will decorate as much as I do, I enjoy my planner as a combination planner, scrapbook, and craft project. It's a fun activity for me, if you just want to stick a Nightmare Before Christmas sticker in the corner of one of your spreads that's perfectly fine! Don't think I'm trying to tell you that you must plan a certain way. My planner is on the expensive side (I committed big time to this hobby, not everyone will, obviously) but you can plan using a dollar store planner if you like. Evil Supply Co will be coming out with a Gothy specific planner for the new year, so keep an eye out for that. 

My planner cover, which is a protograph I took of Glasgow Cathedral in 2014.
My basics: I use an Erin Condren vertical life planner which is coil-bound and has both weekly and monthly pages. I primarily use just a plain black pen (I find color-coding distracting.) I use a lot of washi tape, as I've said before, which I mostly get from Michaels, Amazon, and Etsy. I also use a lot of stickers which come from anywhere that sells stickers, including Etsy, dollar stores, Michaels, Five Below, Amazon, eBay, or wherever else I find them. Halloween is a great time to pick up planner supplies for me, as you might imagine. 

This is what my monthly view looks like. I was unsure of how I wanted to use the monthly view so I just went with "big events, birthdays, and prettiness." All of the months in the Erin Condren planner are color-coded and September's colors are purple and gray, which is great for us spooky types. I started by using black glitter washi from Scotch over the last days of August and first days of October, then using a diagonal stripe washi from Michaels over the two birthdays I have this month. Then I marked some important days, such as the first day of Autumn, when I left for college, and some academic due dates. Then, lots of meaningless stickers and washi. Because I can.

Erin Condren's vertical view is divided into three sections (they used to be labeled Morning, Day, and Night but now they're blank so you can divide them however you want), which is kind of hard to see in this first one.  Each day is the column, not the row. I personally label them Blog, School, and Personal, but other people have sections for work, for their families, for their hobbies, etc. so it's a pretty versatile system.

Let's get to the weekly views:

August 31 - September 6th : Let me start by explaining that this is an impractical week. It was more decorative and fun than anything else because I was still on summer vacation and didn't have much to plan. The theme I wanted to go for, because this is the first week in the planner and the week I was returning for my fourth year of college, was a kind of explorer, cartographer, Steampunk-y spread. Hence all the maps. I dunno, I thought it was cute, if impractical. 

September 7 - September 13 : Next up was my first week at school so I did a relatively simple black and purple Gothy theme. Here you can more clearly see the columns divided between Blog, Personal, and School. I also went to Salem that Saturday, which was fun (and I wrote about that here.) In this view I started to use the sidebar to keep track of packages I was waiting for but that's not consistent across the whole month. My favorite detail is probably my convocation day (a school event) on September 8th because I got to use a beautiful Haunted Mansion fullbox sticker. 

September 14 - September 20: This week I tried to go for a Maleficent themed week in purple, green, pink, black, and gray, inspired by the little Maleficent stickers and the Maleficent silhouette up on the top left. I thought this was a fun week and the pink definitely added a refreshing pop of color. As you can see I started experimenting with a little bit of scrapbooking by adding the sticker I got from the Salem Witch Museum the previous week to the side bar. Once again I used the sidebar to track packages that I was waiting for.

September 21 - September 27 : This week is my black and gray Gothy themed week and its absolutely one of my favorites. I love the washi, the main kit that I used, and all the extra stickers from everywhere else. My sidebar section this week are little reminders of things I need To Clean, To Buy, To Go, and To Do which works out really well for me. Overall this is probably the most gothy themed week I've done and I'd like to do something similar probably in November.

September 28 - October 4 : Here's what a week looks like just after I've planned and before the week has properly started and things get messy. This week's theme was YAY! OCTOBER! HALLOWEEN! and lots of fun, bright colors ensued. This week I relied pretty heavily on the dollar sticker books from Michaels which I would really, really recommend for anyone wanting to get started with planning without wanting to drop a lot of money. The house, candy, bats, witch, and owl in this spread are all from those sticker books and I am definitely looking to pick up more. I ended up revising the sidebar to track packages after this picture was taken but for now it looks so bright and cute.

Now all that's left is to start planning the month of October in earnest. Here's a preview of what my planner spreads look like before I start slapping down stickers (I usually reserve the planning process and putting down stickers properly for the Sunday before I start using that week so I can theme the post all together.) These post-it notes are from the Dollar Tree, the smaller ones are events I have to do and the bigger one is notes about the theme I'm going to go for this week.

Do you use a planer? If so, do you decorate it? If yes and you use Tumblr, Twitter, or Instagram be sure to use the hashtag #gothplanner to show us your spreads! Any kind of planner or level of decoration is welcome. If you want to see more planner spreads, detail pictures and the shops where these came from, sticker and washi hauls, and more, follow me on instagram at @theeverydaygoth


  1. When I was in high school and then in college I doodled on all my planners. I've kept them cos they are like amateur pieces of art.

    1. Nice! I also doodled and made little notes in some of my early ones, it's great to look at past planners to see what you were thinking!

  2. I love it!! *-* Awesome!!I hope I could be as creative as u! ^_^

  3. Oh man, these are adorable! It's probably too much visual clutter for me, however; I find enough excuses to ignore my deadlines without being dazzled every time I open my diary.

    1. That's a good point! I think it's easier to look and understand when you're the person putting it together but I can see where you're coming from.

  4. Thank you for this post!! A girl at work brought in her Erin Condren planner the other day and I was drooling over it. But when I went to the site, I was like, ok, clearly this is all too girly for a broad like me. But you nailed it! And now I can safely order my planner, knowing I can totally customize it to make it more me-style :)

  5. I was looking for something like this…I found it quiet interesting, hopefully, you will keep posting such blogs….Keep sharing .

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