Happy Planner 101 – Advice from the Planner Newbie

Posted by TacieJ on November 4, 2017 in craft ideas, Instructional, tips and tricks |

First … DON’T PANIC.  Getting started with Happy Planner (HP from now on) and planner journals can be overwhelming.  Take a deep breath, have a piece of chocolate and plunge on.

I’ve never been able to keep a planner for more than, say a, month.  But as the husband & I are traveling more, I needed to keep a calendar.  I have my iPhone, but honestly that is so … calendar.  My HP is more of a scrapbook than just a calendar.  Or a picture journal with places for appointments.  Either way, it’s fun and I hopefully will be able to keep it going.  I’ll check back in a couple of months.

I did not research planners or how to plan or anything like that. A person in my one Facebook group had a HP, and I jumped in feet first and THEN decided to do my research.  It worked out ok.  I’m happy with my choice.

Look around to see what kind of planner will suit you. You might want to go fully DIY or you might want to buy something like the Happy Planner. Next you need to choose a size that works for you.  This site by Amber Downs has the dimensions of the HP very clearly laid out.  And of course there is the HP itself – they come in just the planner or planner kits.  I started with a planner kit because it had stickers and everything I needed to start.  Michael’s & Hobby Lobby seem to be the big retailers.  I got mine through Amazon.com because I get most everything through Amazon.

There are no wrongs for planner-ing. Only preferences. And some really good suggestions.  But do what feels best for you and you will have a happy journey.

Here’s what I’ve learned:
Happy Planners & their accessories are overwhelming. There are so many choices and so many things download the brain explodes with the possibilities.  Just DON’T PANIC and don’t go crazy in the planner aisle…. yet.  You want to figure you where you are going with your planner first.

Read, read, read.  Well, skim until you find one that gives you ideas for a direction.  me & my BIG ideas have great ideas.  Heather Kell’s website Kell of a Good Time (specifically this post) is a must read. Heather’s post on how to use HP is a good read for ideas on direction.  I googled “how do i use my happy planner”. Happy As Annie is another good one to read – in 3 parts!  Take notes and bookmarks sites so you can go back later.

The one thing that is consistent from blog to blog is the advice on pre-populating or decorating your planner (don’t for the most part) and using sticky notes (do use them).  The suggestion is only add activities that won’t change such as birthday’s and holiday’s. For anything that is subject to change (appointments, dates, outings) use sticky notes so the event can be moved easily.  Decorating your planner should be done week by week and one month at a time.  One main reason for me would be between January and June a ton of new stickers & washi tape will have come out.

As some point during this process I decided on a planner/scrapbook idea.  I don’t want more that one 1 planner because I’m bad enough keeping 1. Plus the scrapbook part will keep me from getting bored.

When I look at all the planners with the perfect handwriting, I don’t want to write anything in my crappy old handwriting. I’m just going to take a breath and write on anyway. Since it’s my journal it should be in my crappy old handwriting!  Plus it will give me something to improve as I go on.

Here’s the big OVERWHELM. There are a million stickers and a million more downloads.  And then we get to the free stuff. First DON’T PANIC.  Don’t buy a ton of stickers until you know the direction you are taking. Download to your hearts content – but don’t print yet!  Again it’s all about your direction.

Honestly there are a million sticker choices.  But that also can be a good thing.  There is a sticker already made for almost every event.  Victoria Thatcher has wonderful stickers. I googled “happy planner free printables” and “happy planner free printable stickers”.  Like I said before, download to your hearts content, but don’t print until you know where you are going.

Free download or just download have an advantage over purchased as they can be reprinted over and over.  They have a disadvantage (unless you have a sticker machine such as a cricut) in that you have to cut them by hand and they may not look as good that way.

Pinterest is a good place to keep your planner sticker choices & planner ideas. You can include stickers you are on the fence about or ideas that are interesting but your not 100% sure about.

Download and keep the stickers you plan to use. When you download them, name them something that makes sense to you. Put stickers that you will use over and over in a special subdirectory.  These (link & link) I will use every year.  Don’t forget to Pin or bookmark pages you want to go back to.

Splurge for the good sticker paper. The better the paper the better the stickers.  This Avery Paper is recommended by many – including me.  Consider spending the money to have the stickers printed at an office supply store. Buying sticker from Etsy or a store is a good thing. Someone put a lot of work into creating the stickers and monetary compensation is a way of saying thank you.

Washi tape – I’m still not convinced I need this. But all the resources seem to think I do. I’m not ruling it out, I’m just not rushing out to get some either. I’m sure eventually I will find it useful, just not now when I am first starting out.  It all goes back to how are you using your planner.

Things You Might Need:
If you are going to expand your planner and add pages you’ve downloaded you will need a hole punch. The referenced on is for a classic (or medium) planner. You might also need expansion rings if you are adding a lot of pages.

This is my wish list of thing I want to add:
pocket folders
pen holder
inspiration card
paper clips with flags (maybe i do need washi tape)


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