17 September 2009

Filofax Time Capsules

In various posts we have talked about archiving used Filofax pages in storage binders, shoe boxes, and envelopes. Every year I put all of my calendar pages and other pages pertaining to that year in a storage binder, which I label with the year. Looking back through each binder is like revisiting that time in my life. There is nothing like seeing the daily minutiae of your former life to help you remember what your life was like back then.

But recently on Flickr, I came across a quote that made me think beyond storage binders, and instead using your entire Filofax as storage for that year. NHgrrl on Flickr was discussing her older Filofaxes and said, "I confess the planners not in use anymore still have the old pages in them from when I stopped using them!! They are sort of like time capsules.”

This is an interesting idea to me. Normally I use my Filofax binders from year to year, if not actively as my planner then for some use or another. But, I do have one planner binder that is similar to NHgrrl's "time capsule" Filofaxes. Way back in the day when I was using a Cambridge version of a Filofax personal size binder, I abandoned it for something else, then eventually bought my first Filofax. I still have the Cambridge, and sometimes I like to look through it to remember what my life was like at that time (as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal). It is indeed a time capsule. In it are the addresses of the most important people in my life at the time. Most of those friends I am no longer in contact with. In it are lists, notes, and my daily planner. It's fascinating now to remember what I was thinking during that time, what my day to day life was like, and how I envisioned my future plans (which are now long past!).

During that time I filled many books with my journal writings about my impressions of the country, what I thought my role was or ought to be, people I met, all the usual stuff. But a look inside my planner gives a different view. It's not the musings of my mind. It's the nuts and bolt of each day, the business side of my life.

Inside that binder are things other than the pages themselves that give clues about what was important to me. Inside the front cover was a photo of my sister, who I missed terribly. Other scraps of paper and small random things now speak volumes.

Has anyone else preserved a Filofax, or other planner, in its entirety and kept it intact after you stopped using it? Do you ever look back through it?


  1. My mother passed away 2 years ago from cancer. I have her planner (a Dayrunner, but who's keeping track) from the final year of her life and I treasure it.

    As you mentioned, it contains the "nuts and bolts" of her last year on this earth. Her handwriting, occasionally her doodles as she was jotting down notes from Dr's phone calls, the flowery-themed inserts she chose.

    After she first died I thought about storing the contents and using her planner as my own. But the more I thought about it, the more I decided to just leave it be as a reminder of when she was still here...

  2. I have an orange pocket size dorset stuffed in a drawer that I used for about 5 years and has my son's early drawings on the inserts and one of his first handwritten notes to me. Even though I don't use the pocket size anymore, I still refer to addresses in it every now and then.... I bought the filofax sticker set and thought of how easy to read over the pages once they're archived away.

  3. For much of the 1990s, I used a personal-size DayRunner organizer (their name for this size was RunningMate, which I thought was really cute). One Christmas my brother gave me a Coach leather binder in the same size. In 1995, I abandoned this size and for the next few years used A5 size in FranklinCovey. I took the Personal size and tossed out any unused pages, just keeping the ones I had written something on. I used PalmPilots from about 1999 until 2006, when I went back to paper. I found that 1995 Coach organizer in a shoebox with a few years' worth of used calendars and other pages.

    The most interesting thing was seeing which of the goals I had written down I actually accomplished or exceeded in the intervening years, which I'm still trying and failing miserably at, and which were just random fantasies that are no more relevant now than they were then.

  4. Inky, I'd love to see both the RunningMate and the Coach binders. =)

  5. YM, so sorry about your mom. I can't imagine how precious her planner is to you, to have that link to her. I'm glad you've kept it.


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