02 February 2024

Free For All Friday No 795 by Laurie

Recently I saw a Filofax "in the wild" and I was so excited! Luckily the owner was happy to talk to me about it. It was a black pocket size Cavendish, well-worn with a gorgeous patina on the smooth leather. She said she has used it for years and years and loves the portable size.

I don't know if I could ever go all the way down to pocket size (I'm an A5 user because I need the big pages), but lately I've been wondering if I might be able to downsize back to personal size in my empty-nest life later this year.

Have you ever successfully downsized your Filofax?

As always on Fridays, feel free to ask and/ or discuss anything ring binder organiser related!


  1. Hi Laurie, The only way, I was able to downsize, was right after upsizing to A5. After about 1 1/2 years, I felt A5 was too big for me to have it with me (customer‘s office, my office, home). So I downsized and went back to Personal. Although I really enjoyed the enormous space, the Time Management inserts with day on two pages gave me, which are - by the way - not available from Filofax anymore. But in the end, I have always used diary inserts with one or two pages per day since then. So, it‘s a bit of A5 feeling.

  2. Hi, Laurie. I'm very much at my happiest on A5 paper, but this year I'm experimenting with a Personal, and I've gone with a page-a-day diary format. Initially I was going to carry 3 months + some to do lists and lined paper, but I find I still need A5 paper for serious notes, and jottings can just go on the diary pages. So I've changed to carrying 6 months of diary and a couple of to do lists. I started using the Personal Holborn in December 2023 so I'm two months in and I have had one wobble, but generally I'm finding this size is okay. I'll be interested to see how far I get through the year before I cave in and head back to A5. The main issue for me is portability - I'm getting too old to lug around an A5, my heavy work laptop, a packed lunch, and the few bits and bobs I need/want for a day at the office.

  3. I got given a pocket filofax as a kid / young adult but never used it. Decades later in my 40s I bought into bullet journal and a filofax personal metropol to get myself straight on the organisation front. Bullet journal took but filofax became my file of record for passwords and family stuff in the diary while mostly using the bullet journal.

    Now in my 50s and a new, proper job I'm working off outlook calendar but I got my first leather filofax, a finsbury A5 secondhand. I loved it at first because I could actually write on both sides albeit with a gap near the rings on the left. I got amazon lined paper that was a lot better than filofax paper due to wider spacing. I set it up rather messily with a random collection of inserts from 3 months day to a page, lined notes projects, contacts sections, etc. I even bought a password insert from filofax until I found out it was only the notebook insert. I cut off the holes and punched the other side, it worked out.

    I then realised my work supplied laptop rucksack was too small for laptop, finsbury A5, notebook, pens, waterproof trousers, bike lock, cables, laptop, headset, paperwork, bike lights, etc. So I bought a Holborn personal. It's good for my on site days but I am mostly work from home so still use my A5 more. It's a pain keeping two filofaxes populated and up to date but with work ppe included in my rucksack I can just about manage with the smaller filofax on its side stuffed into the top!

    My biggest issue is day to a page with 3 months rolling is too bulky but WOTP with appointments is just too small. I need two days to a page with Saturday and Sunday OK one page to half the number of diary pages. But I've not managed to modify the closest diary insert in here to get this l think I might need to switch to WOTP afterall.

    I'm also thinking about buying myself a bigger work bag for my office days. I only go in when needed although there's talk of one day per month in with extra days as needed. So I'm really not sure on either way being best. I like both but once I've got my personal diary sorted so I can get enough other pages in to work on I think it might be my best option.

  4. My problem was that personal just wasn't a good layout. I love my true A6, sorry not filofax but still beautiful. Because its half of the A5 the ratio is still the same just smaller. Althoygh i do carry a mini as my wallet too

  5. A5 > Personal > Pocket > Personal > A5. I’ve been on this roundabout for more than thirty years! I’m still using all three sizes and can’t decide which is the best compromise!

    1. With you on that. As a kid I loved my zip pocket filofax gift but I just couldn't write small enough to get things into the tiny diary space so lost interest. Many years later persona,l, recently A5 and back to personal. I'm even thinking of using my pocket again!

      It's a merry-go-round of sizes. One day I'll get off and enjoy my forever size!

  6. You haven't tried A4 or Mini yet!

  7. I keep trying to downsize for everyday from personal to pocket but I just can't get to grips with the pages. They are so so small. Also I have a regular domino and I'm almost convinced it's as much I don't like the cover as anything. My other 2 filofaxes are both Malden's so much squishier. So at the moment I remain in my personal for on the go and my A5 for work. I am thinking of a clip book for work so I don't have to carry my A5 into the office... Its so heavy... And that way the pages are transferable..

  8. I'm still trying to downsize from A5 to Personal and decide what are the values of each which make me want to use them. It's not been a great week for my Personal (feeling cramped again) and I did move back into A5 for a couple of days, before the inevitable portability problem too over. Overall I'm still resolved to give Personal a real go, and to get it right.

    The one thing I've decided is that I really can't manage in 25mm rings, so if I'm going to make a go of Personal it will be in my Cavendish with its 30mm rings. I love that binder anyway so it's not really an issue.

  9. My first Filofax was an A5 FSO Windsor, and as a business user, I stuck with that size for about 20 years, up until 2013, when I finally realized that, after having shut down my consulting business at the end of 2010, I wasn't carrying my Filofax regularly anymore, due to its size. So, I changed to a Personal, made it my wallet to ensure I would always have it with me, and have stuck with that for 11 years, now.

    I did formerly use a Pocket size exclusively to track vehicle mileage and expenses when I was consulting, so I knew a Pocket was too small for my daily needs, but I did at one point examine the possibility of moving to some intermediate size between Personal and A5 (such as B6), or between Personal and Pocket (such as A6 or "Senior"), and even at one point designed what would be the smallest size I felt would be fully functional for me, but concluded that although I could use a custom size slightly smaller than Personal, the expense and effort involved in trying to make that happen was too great, and the compromise of dealing with the slightly larger Personal was a compromise I was willing to live with.

    I do also use a B5 Deskfax, but only for my songbook of lyrics and chord changes, because I am a musician. I may have to change that to Letter size, now, as my eyes are not what they used to be, but for now, I'm sticking with B5 for that purpose. However, my primary personal organizer is and will likely remain Filofax Personal, 171 mm x 95 mm.

  10. I always used a personal Hamilton but found it too big so downsized to a zipped pocket Hamilton. Still found it too big due to the zip! I then recently bought a pocket Malden but found it too fat! I knew that people used a mini as a wallet and I thought "Thats it! One Filofax for 2 uses!" I searched Ebay and came across a pocket Finchley and I have never looked back! Best downsized I've done.