10 March 2011

I'm gonna buy a new Filofax every year.

There, I said it. Let the controversy begin!

I was recently fretting, as I tend to do, about archiving my Filofax pages. I'm wary of even starting to use a Filofax now because I've been burned badly in the recent past by lost Filofax pages. I'm not good at faithfully archiving my pages, and lost pages drive me crazy. And even when I do manage to get my pages into the archive binder, I still tend to get rid of random notes on pages that don't seem important at the time but could be useful as a reference later.

A bound-book planner doesn't have that problem; everything that's in it stays in it. I was thinking about how I could re-create that with my Filofax. How could I keep all the little newspaper clippings I tuck into the pockets, keep my diary and notes pages intact and in order, and archive all my contacts for that year in a way that I can find everything again? I want to preserve my entire year encapsulated within my Filofax.

Then it occurred to me: the perfect way to do this is to treat my Filofax like a bound book.  Everything that goes into it STAYS in it. Then at the end of the year, the entire book goes on the shelf.


Yes I know what you're saying: that's a little expensive, isn't it?  Well, yes and no. First of all, I spend so much money on planners each year that buying just one Filofax instead of 10 different planners would actually be cheaper.  And second, if I limit myself to non-leather Filofaxes, it's really not that expensive considering they come with the diary, addresses, and other pages included.  If I bought a Filofax archive binder and a new diary insert, that's only a few dollars/ pounds cheaper than a new Domino with the diary insert included (plus lots of other pages and inserts). So, it's not quite as extravagant as it sounds.

Steve had a great idea awhile back, actually I think it was last year when I was moving, that something a Filofax is great for is not necessarily using it for a calendar year but to use it for a particular period of time. Then at the end of that period of time (for example after my move is completed) I can archive the now-irrelevant pages and put fresh new pages in my Filofax.

So I was thinking I could use, and subsequently archive in its entirety, a Filofax for each "era."  For example: my husband's contract in Indonesia is 18 months, with the possibility of extension for a further 3 years.  If at the end of the 18 months the project is not extended, we could find ourselves moving again.  I could easily use my Filofax for the 18 month period we are there, then switch to a new, empty Filofax at our new destination. That way my Indonesia time is archived in the one Filofax, and when we move to our new place I can start a new Filofax without any irrelevant leftover information.  I really like this idea.

I've never personally heard of someone archiving their entire Filofax each year, but it seems like there must be someone who does this.

Do you?


  1. Ahhhh. Makes sense. No lost pages. So far that is how I am archiving my pages. In my old Botanic.

    Let me top your statement. I'm gonna buy a filofax whenever I damn well feel like it!

    Isn't that we do anyways?

  2. That's an interesting idea. I would love to be able to buy a filofax every year or whenever I felt like it...but alas, I'm a broke college student and will probably stay with my new Metropol for years and look with longing on the others. :)

  3. oooh i totally love that idea. i tend to remember best by colour so i could see thinking ultra-violet=indonesia or something like that. can't wait to hear how it goes!

  4. Hi Laurie,

    I applaud your decision. I have no idea as many systems as you try how you are able to keep track of anything, but, obviously you seem to be able to do it, I could not.

    One thing that you might consider, and maybe you already have, and that is to look ahead not to next year, but 25, 50, or 100 years from now.

    You and your family have an extraordinary life, and yes, many of us are envious. What you are doing now as far as planners, journals, and whatever else you use, these are the footprints of your life. I don't know how old your children are, but the same footprints are theirs also. Your notes, planners and journals will be important to not only them, but there children and on down the line. I would urge you, and your husband, to create a written record of your travels over these years. At some time after you are long gone, one of your children will be looking at this valuable record and say, "oh I remember that!" Now they may not remember without your "cue cards"

    What vessel you use to hold these treasures really doesn't make any difference, Filofax would be great, but there are many more out there, heaven knows, you are much more well informed than I, but the idea is to pick one for the family record, and use it every day. Your children will love you for it.

    I have both my Dad's and Grandad's journals and they are one of the most valuable of the things I have.

    Good luck with this WONDERFUL endeavor.

  5. the magic 8 balls says..."all roads point to yes!"

    i think it's a great idea...and fun for us readers who will get to enjoy the reviews too : )

  6. LOL everybody!

    CP yes I guess we pretty much do buy a new Filofax whenever we feel like it. Just in the past year I've bought at least 3. Not to mention about a dozen different planners. So if I manage to stick with just one Filofax per year that would be a record!

    crofter, I agree, I would love to create a record of our lives. A major hazard of my short attention span is that our records of the years are scattered throughout dozens of books, a bit here and a bit there. I desperately want to find something that works for me and then stay with it consistently. I get so tempted by other systems! But it would be nice to have just one book per year to look through and remember our lives. I'm so bad about journaling anymore that my planners are the record now.

  7. Laurie, I have been told that I have the attention span of a bartlett pear. Guess that is why I need to make lots of notes!!!

  8. It makes perfect sense.

    In retrospect, I should have created a Filo per child to track their memories and information. Their baby books are half full anyway, and the baby memories are fleeting and fading. (my dear children are ages 8, 6, 5, and 3, by the way).

    Yes, I can justify purchasing additional ones... ;)

  9. I do archive all my filofax pages like this...http://www.flickr.com/photos/54020897@N02/5004028488/

    I used to use the filofax binders, but let's say it loud...filofax binders suck. You can't open them and list in them.

    I thought about Laurie way in past, but never had the courage to do it.
    Good for you Laurie

    I found one great picture on purse forum. Those are not filofaxes, but OMG !!! Unfortunately you can only see it if you log in. But it's worth to register in.


    Let's say it's like Laurie project in 70 years :o)

  10. Laurie - I think this is a great idea. Just looking at the binder will remind you of a certain year in your life.

    Was it Oni who said it was like a little time capsule of your life?

    It would be great to look back on over the years, even the binder colours will show what was 'in' that particular year.

  11. Great excuse for a new filofax each year!!!! I love the idea of creating a history for your family. You get to choose a great new colour for each year/trip.

  12. I think it's an excellent idea since these binders aren't going to be tossed into some landfill - they will be treasured mementos of a time and place in your life! Even the style and color of the binder will have some association because of its tactile nature. Each one will be part of your "story."

    I just read a bit in the book "Creative Journal Writing" that reminded me of you and your Filo collection: "There will be times when you reread something you regarded as 'nothing much' or as dull while you were writing it, if you thought about it at all, and now find something in it that seems astonishingly helpful or new."

    Go for it!

  13. Thanks everyone! I knew I could count on you all to enable (I mean SUPPORT) me in this endeavor! ;)

    Robin I love that quote! That always happens to me. At the time, something that seems very mundane later is very revealing of what my life was like at that time in that place.

    Crofter, I remember that you have a great planner/ notebook/ journal system, but I forget exactly what it is and how it works. Would you mind telling us all again what you use? Especially, what do you use for your planner? Thank you!!!

  14. OT@skhen: I know the feeling! So this year I've chosen an XS Moleskine DPP diary and note one or two sentences for each of my kids (they are aged 10,8,6 and 4). It's wonderful. A sentence might not have a great meaning on the day you write it, but looking back from a few weeks you can still relive the specific events. Love that!

    I also have a pitiful attention span. I have journal pages in my filofax, and if I don't write everyday, I simply forget about the day. For example: it's impossible for me to remember what 3 days ago was exactly like. Makes me feel I "lost" that day entirely!

    @Laurie: wonderful idea! Especially if you decide to stay with the Domino. I can already picture a bookshelf full of bright colored Domino's ...
    For what's worth: I wish I only had 1 Filofax for every year. Then I would have 2 or 3 filofaxes right now. Which ... ehm ... I don't.

  15. Hi Laurie and all,

    I'd be happy to relate my system, of course there is a risk here of people falling to sleep before they finish!

    I use a day timer do2p for my planner. On the left hand page there are spaces for appointments from 0800-2000. Since my days frequently are much longer than that, at times I use FF undated planner pages to supplement that. Below that is the to do list with space for 11 items. If need be I will start another column besides that so in essence I can have 22 items on the to do list. Knowing myself, and my propensity to keep plowing up snakes, I very seldom have more than 8-10 items, just one item that has complications can render the whole list worthless. Items that are completed get a slash through them, items undone get a circle and are transferred to the top of the next days list.

    On the facing page is where I make my notes. Appointments get an alpha designation, to dos have the number that they are on the list. If a to do is related to an appointment they get both, for instance A1 and so on. If there are more details than I have room for, that entry also gets a * which means more detail can be found in my journal. I show the journal volume and page number for that day at the bottom of each page. That way, I can quickly and easily find every detail about most things that happen each day.

    One thing that I have started doing in just the last few years is supplementing the journal with pictures using the little Polaroid portable printers. The pictures are calling card size and have self adhesive backs so you can put them in wherever you want. Sometimes, pictures really are worth a thousand words.

    I don't keep a separate journal for work and home, simply because there are no set hours for either one, they are very much intertwined, as it should be with someone in a agrarian profession.

    As a side note, I also use Filofax as a herd record of my cows. Each cow gets her own sheet just like a checking account. Expenses are shown like a check, calf sales are shown as a deposit, and that really shows me which cows are the best and which ones to look very closely at when I am choosing my replacement heifers. But that is a whole different story.

    If anyone has questions, I'd be more than happy to answer, as there other details, but in the interest of brevity I don't want to take up to much space.

  16. Thank you crofter for the insight into your system! I love your Filofax system for tracking your cows, I'm intrigued by the way it easily shows who is producing well and who isn't. And I absolutely love the small photos idea, I've never heard of those but I may have to find such a thing to add in my journal.

    Not to probe you too much, but how do you archive your DayTimer pages? Do you bundle them annually? Thanks!!

    And PS this just shows the extreme flexibility of Filofax that people of so many different lifestyles and professions can use a Filofax to keep themselves organized!

    Crofter, would you be interested in doing a guest post on Plannerisms with the full details of your system? If you can be bothered to write it all out, I would love to have an entire post about it.

  17. Oh Crofter say yes please to Laurie! It would be fascinating to read. :-)

  18. Hello again,

    Yes I archive, and have them all back to the early 70's. I never could get to excited about bundling. To me, an archive should be one that is easily accessible from which you can go back and pull information from easily and quickly. A bundle would be as useless to do that with as a boat anchor would be, and would weigh approximately the same. I use the FC 3" binders, they come in two colors, burgundy and black. I use the burgundy for planners, and black for everything else. I have a whole book shelf full of them as you can imagine going back that many years. Each is dated and kept in chronological order.

    Why archive? Here is a quote.

    "For want of records, much information is continually lost. Though many many individuals have derived advantages to themselves from experiments, but few have recorded them. Even those that make experiments are liable to forget them so as to give incorrect representations when they try to relate them."
    Lennard E. Lathrop 1826

    This from my commonplace book in, yep, you guessed it, another Filofax.

    Laurie, I would be glad to do a guest post for you, it might be awhile as this is a very busy time of year, but I will be in touch when I have something ready for you.

  19. Yay for a guest blog from Crofter. I hope it contains LOTS of pictures from your Filofax insides!

  20. I'm arriving at the party a bit late, but this is great!! I cannot wait to show my wife this thread. She thinks I'm the king of rationalization, but I am humbled by this thread. I bow to the greatness herein.

    I'm new to FF and have a basic newbie question. I guess it's a bit off topic. I'm trying to decide between a black Finsbury Slimline and a black Finsbury Personal. While I'm confident you could spin me a story to get both and have me convinced, my question is does anyone find the larger rings in the Personal intrusive when writing? My dilemma is the Slimeline's rings are a bit small, but I don't want to be bothered while writing by the larger rings of the Personal. Thank you.

  21. dear dapv - i just bought a compact chameleon in black. the compacts have 15mm rings (slimline 11mm; personals - 23mm) i love the compact! not too thin, not too thick. and the rings are close enough that it's not too bothersome while writing. from my understanding, this year there are 5 compact styles offered - the chameleon being the least expensive. i think the leather is similar to the finsbury it just has a sort of snakeskin embossing as opposed to a pebbled leather embossing. i think it works well for either male or female. i have pictures of it in my flickr:


    i have a slimine finsbury as well from awhile back that i love - it's just a little small. being somewhat new to filofax, i would go for the compact first and see how that works - you can always sell it later if you don't like it and get a new one...or just get a new one heh heh

  22. Thank you, SNARLing, very helpful. I do like the Compact, and assume it takes the same paper as the Slimline and Personal. I will let you know. Best regards.


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