17 August 2017

Pocket size organisers

Pocket size organisers are still very popular. For a lot of people they are a very convenient size of organiser.

The paper size is 120mm by 81mm which falls somewhere between A7 and A6. The organisers all have 6 rings each spaced 19mm apart. I'm not aware of any other configuration in this size apart from the older 4 ring pockets, see this post for those.

The rings sizes vary considerably with the range of sizes between 11mm and 20mm, we will cover who sells what size in a moment.

I think pocket size is a compromise between the super small Mini and the regular Personal size, it still gives you a usable page size in a size of organiser that will easily fit a small bag or normal size coat pocket.

Naturally the internal layouts vary quite a lot on Pocket size organisers. Some for instance have the full width back pocket, some don't. This can be very useful if you are using the organiser as a wallet as well as your planner. [Video link]

The Filofax Malden Pocket does have the full width back pocket as well as 19mm rings.

Internally it also has a useful zip pocket which can be used for coins. The Pocket size is taller than the width of a normal credit card, so you might be happier to use a Credit Card insert to hold your cards more securely.

The Filofax Holborn has the full width back pocket and 15mm rings

Internally it has an excellent layout with correct size vertical card slots. The zip pocket is tucked away in the back cover which isn't so easy to access in a hurry!

The Filofax Chameleon is unusual in that the pen loop is on the inside front cover. But this means it is out of the way of the zip pocket in the rear cover.

It also has a reasonable number of vertical card slots and 15mm rings.

The Eton Pocket is one of my favourites just for its luxury in them cramming in as many features as possible! The leather on this model is super soft and delicate!

There is no full width back pocket on this model, but it does have high quality 15mm rings. Ring protectors, two pen loops, five card slots which are a mixture of top and side entry ones in the front cover. A zip pocket in the back pocket, also large gusseted pockets in the front and back pockets. So you can hold a lot of things in this one.

A pocket I have shared with you before is of unknown make, but it has small 11mm rings

The Gillio Compagna Pocket comes with 15mm rings.

Internally it has a very usable pocket layout

Van der Spek Junior (Pocket) come with either 16 or 20mm Krause rings. Of course the Van der Spek Custom models can have all sorts of internal layouts. Including full back pockets, secretarial pockets, second pen loops etc etc the list is almost never ending.

Van der Spek also sell their Junior Touch Me organisers which is an 'off-the-shelf' model in a limited range of 5 colours, all of them come with 20 mm rings and a full width back pocket and a very good internal layout too.

Both the Gillio and Van der Spek use rings that are removable/replaceable. I'm often asked can the 15/16 mm rings be swapped for 20mm ones. Sadly the mounting points are different spacing, so the swap isn't very straight forward. The backing plate needs to be changed and that requires the leather of the organiser to be unstitched to replace it.

This is only an overview of what is available in Pocket size, there are of course a whole lot more models and makes out there.

Do you use pocket size on a regular basis or have you used it in the past?


  1. A fabulous post. Thank you Steve. I'm about to set up my Crimson Pocket Malden as an ingredients guide for an assortment of recipes, just with the recipe title and list of ingredients needed. It is going to live in the front pocket of my wheelie old fashioned shopping trolley. I don't drive, so these are my wheels!! My first recipe ingredients page is going to be for meat loaf, USA style, sent to me by my great friend Rebecca, a fabulous cook and so kind of her to share it. I plan to build the planner up gradually and that way, if an ingredient is reduced in price, in season, or on special offer in the supermarket, then I'll have hopefully all kinds of recipe ideas readily to hand and not forget a vital ingredient or two. Recipes are on one note on my laptop from internet pages, so easily printed off for the cooking step by step part if they are complex. It's just I normally stand there in the supermarket aisle, humming and hahing and thinking lamb, reduced this week, but what on earth can I make here? I have a shopping list to hand and weekly menus planned, but sometimes something is such a bargain that I want to change meals around. Going to trial it and see how it goes. Coupons and supermarket tokens will live in the zipped bit and receipts in the front too. Hope it works out both for shopping and weekly menu planning ideas. Very much looking on it as a workhorse Filofax. I also aim to try one new recipe a week, as I am getting stuck in a rut here, almost to the point of it's Tuesday, so it's veggie chilli night. So a supermarket binder feels like a good idea, set up over time, so no rush! I'll also add opening times in there for local shops. I don't have an i-phone, so Filofax it is. xx

    1. Best of luck with your recipe Filofax! My personal has a section devoted to recipes, ingredients, ideas, etc., and it gives me great peace of mind. Saturday or Sunday mornings are for the weekly menu planning. It's a great way to get yourself out of a menu rut.

  2. I love pocket size because you can completely stuff the larger rings (like with the Finsbury or Malden) and it is still small and light enough to carry with you everywhere. I use one as my main planner and it is very functional.

  3. My experiment with the Pocket Lockwood Downsizing to the Pocket Lockwood wasn't a huge success and I soon reverted to Slimline and A5. For me, I struggled with having to keep credit/business cards vertically, which seemed to add bulk. Also, printing information pages seemed fraught with problems and the font sizes ended up too small to read at my age. I will try again in the future, because it's a great size to throw in a rucksack or keep in the pocket of a cycling top.

    1. I've also seen it used as a car binder with details of mileage, route directions,petrol log and costs, servicing details and questions and mini maps. Also restaurant names for new towns, B and B/Travel Lodge numbers in case of overnight stays. AA and RAC rescue cards/ numbers,contact phone nos/notes needed on journey. Also silly things like windscreen washer blades bought and parking loose change for car parks in the zipper pocket. I can't remember where Tim, but I've seen magnifiers that will fit into a pocket size for reading small print maps etc. May have been in the Filofax range, or possibly somewhere like a National Trust shop. Hey, and just the right size for your cyclist's Kendal Mint Cake stash too Tim. Hee heee!! xx

    2. Thanks Jane - I've got one of those magnifying glass things, which I use in restaurants when I've forgotten my reading glasses (frequently - as I didn't need them until I was 50 so still don't think about them). I've cut right back on driving since being self-employed. Indeed, taking the train everywhere led to a big renaissance in my Filofax use! Trains are just great for paper use!

      My life is perhaps still too complicated for Pocket, but when I retire (a good way of yet, alas!) and only have the next bike ride into the Yorkshire Dales to plan....

  4. I successfully downsized from personal to pocket sized at the beginning of this year, only to switch back to personal size when my personal life got much more complicated. After next spring and my move across country, I plan (no pun intended ) on going back to pocket. One thing that is very important to me is that I am able to comfortably write in the planner, which requires that it lies fairly flat when open. I did a small comparison : http://www.sharondippity.com/2017/01/pocket-sized-planner-flatability.html

    1. Ha I'm laughing at how the spacing was applied to my last statement. Makes for a dramatic effect.

  5. I use one as my wallet. Great to fit in a purse and so much more organized with the use of a card insert and a zip-lock insert for money. Takes care of wallet and notes all in one.

  6. I have long used pocket size as wallet and main planner. But she was feeling the lack of space to write. Today I use the pocket as wallet and purse planner, but I can reuse it as a principal in the future. But before that, I want to test a Hobonichi Weeks.

  7. I have been using a pocket size planner as my main planner for years (I only use two personals for work purpose). I often thought the rings were getting to small for all the information I needed to carry in it (and it's not a wallet, only a planner). Then I discovered the custom VSD planners and the possibility of having 20mm Krause rings in a pocket planner. That has changed my life! Three years and two VDS custom pockets later, I can happily say that I will never go back to smaller rings or to a bigger planner!

  8. Love pocket size as a wallet, but just for a rudimentary "appointment only" diary, scribbled quicknotes and some emergency contacts. Basically as a nice simple way to always carry some notepaper around.

  9. I've successfully used a Pocket Chameleon (amazing model) when on vacation/holiday. It's the perfect wallet/planner combination for my needs.

    But when I try to stuff every day life into it, doesn't work. My handwriting is too large and even daily pages are too small. I tried it as a wallet, and it was okay. I can carry my most needed cards in the slots, but the Pocket card holders don't work as well as the Personal ones do, and they take up all the 15mm ring space.

    So I keep it ready for travel planning - packing lists, future trip tips. I archive the pages from each trip with our travel memorabilia.

  10. I've been using a Slim Pocket Topaz in brown leather (11mm rings) for several years now as my main planner/wallet. But unlike the week per page it came with, which I found too small, I've opted for the week on two pages diary. The difference is I only fill it with 6 months at a time, using a 6-month per page fold-out extension at the back for advance planning. This undated 6-month page was included in a Chronoplan (Germany) Zip New York that I had tried and abandoned as being too thick for my front pants pocket or inside jacket pocket. I just copy the 6 month pages every year and punch them to fit in the Filofax. The Topaz has 3 card holders, and two vertical pockets, one front and one back, as well as a pen loop. Never carrying much cash, I have found it sufficient, holding a debit card, medical insurance card, and Driver's License. There's even enough room for four tabs (Raymay Davinci)which extend at the top of the planner, rather than the right side. Calls, Chores, @Computer, Errands. Yes, I've read David Allen's book.

    Recently I've augmented this set-up with a regular Raymay (not the premium Davinci) planner which I carry in my shirt pocket, along with a mechanical pencil, since the Raymay (Japan) doesn't have a pen loop. 8mm rings, and I fill it with pre-drilled 6-hole lined paper from Mead. This also has 3 card holders, and two vertical pockets, front and rear. I use this as a page per day daily planner, and also as a notebook and journal. Since it holds my 3 essential cards, it also serves as my "minimalist" set-up, when I don't want to bother carrying the Topaz.

  11. I like my cover with pockets because of the compartments and size. The material of the cover is sturdy and flexible. The product remains open or closed without pressure on the pages or a fastener.

    I drew my weekly format on the sheets of a bound notebook and I have used it since the beginning of the year. The notebook looks worn. I must decide the number of pages after the weekly ones for each topic. It is inconvenient when I require thirty pages instead of the twenty I determined initially. I want the versatility of removing and adding sheets to the rings of a binder. I will not use a binder instead of my cover though. I may have a way of implementing the flexibility for my cover.

  12. Thank you for this write up about pocket ring planners. I use a Filofax Malden and an Original, both in personal size. I'm just wondering about what I've noticed as "pocket ring planner craze" in social media. Can you please aprise me how this started? 😄

    1. A few years ago I noticed a trend of people swapping to pocket size in the summer. But at the time was when there were more blogs around than there are these days.

      I put it down to people wanting something smaller because of the warmer weather, lighter clothes, smaller bags etc.

      This was my original post from 2010, not sure how many of those links still work! :