23 February 2024

Free For All Friday - No. 798 by Anita

When I was growing up my parents ran their own business, so there were periods with minimal disposable income when things weren't going quite as well. Therefore, my late Mum and I loved getting bargains at charity/thrift shops or car boot sales.

I volunteered at a local charity shop for about 5 years, but in that time very few organisers came in and more often than not, they would be unbranded and cheap ones. Some of them looked potentially interesting on the exterior, but once opened, they obviously weren't great quality as the cards slots were rubbish and the interior looked a bit like plastic. 

One exciting find, when I'd been sorting the new donations, was a new looking burgundy Winchester! (my colleague was very amused at how delighted I was) However, when I carefully opened it up, most of the leather sadly cracked and flaked, so it was put in the bin. The same charity shop used to have a system where you could leave your contact details and what you're interested in, and they'd call you if something came in. I eventually took my details off their list, as sadly no Filofaxes came in over a number of years, and they reckoned it was because more people were selling online.

So, despite looking, I've never actually purchased an organiser from either a charity/thrift shop or a car boot sale, as either they've been overpriced or not one I'd actually want anyway...

Have you found any bargains recently? 

And as always on Fridays, please feel free to discuss anything organiser related. I hope that you have a great weekend.


  1. A fair few years ago I found two identical Filofax Regency compact personal organiser's, one unused and the other barely used. The local charity shop charged me £2.50 each as I recall, but it could have been less.
    I gave one to a friend, and the other I still regularly use.

    1. Wow, that was an amazing find & very kind of you to share with your friend!

  2. I still think my Finsbury A5 filofax bought off vinted for £20 was a bargain. Mint condition and does the job well. I'm still using it with my new from amazon Holborn personal as my edc. Is extra work to keep two synced but I can't decide which to use there's a little of the first "proper" leather filofax thing about my cheap finsbury that gives it an advantage, even though it's a beast to carry.

    There's also a little bit of smugness every time I use it because month after I got it prices for finsbury A5 were £60+ for one that were scuffed and in B standard state. We all love a bargain don't we!

  3. All the charity shops around south west London never have any Filofaxes, or anything else of interest. They are smelly places best avoided at all costs. Seriously, do not go to any charity shops in my area looking for Filofaxes, Stay away. Thank you, 😉

  4. After using a Filofax-compatible binder for several years, I bought my first real Filofax in 2001 at a TJ Maxx. It was a beautiful black, Italian leather personal size Buckingham, which was presented in a lidded box, for only $25. At that time I think they normally went for about $100 so that was a real bargain, especially for the quality of leather it had: thick, smooth, wonderful. At that time I was a broke graduate student. I laugh when I remember holding the Buckingham in my hand standing in the store deliberating purchasing it and thinking to myself, "Will I use this enough to justify spending $25 on it?" Little did I know that purchase would be my gateway to Philofaxy, Plannerisms, and the entire online (and sometimes irl) planner community, not to mention onward to a job I did and loved for 9 years. That one bargain purchase changed my life in ways I couldn't have imagined at the time.

    Since then I've purchased several bargains online: pre-owned Filofax and Franklin Covey binders, and new deeply discounted ones. The internet is great for searching the world for something you want, but there's nothing like the rush of holding the bargain in your hands and checking it out before you buy, then taking it home with you.

  5. A couple of years ago as we were walking around Lichfield, just opposite the cathederal was a little charity jumble sale. All the books outside were 50p. In amongst those books was an A5 Raspberry Finsbury which was packed with "The Canterbury Church Book and Desk Diary 2022" totally unused, so it was brand new. It must have been donated by someone from the cathederal. Of course, I snapped it up. 50p eh? Bargain of the century

  6. I found an iris a5 malden last Christmas in Home Sense. It was £25. I walked away and went back and it was still there. I don't use A5 and had nonidea how it was going to fit in. I didn't buy it. I hope someone else got the thrill of finding it. It was a stunning colour

  7. I walked into a British Heart Foundation charity shop a while back and from 20 paces spotted the unmistakable silhouette of a Filofax, made a beeline and was initially disappointed to discover a Personal Kent for £3. It's turned into a valuable storage binder, with classic lines and nice 'hand feel'.

  8. TK Maxx have had some stationery items recently, including Filofax organisers, and Moleskine notebooks.

    I have picked up a Pocket Identity for £4, an A5 Clipbook for £4, an A6 Notebook for £3, a Personal Patterns for £10 (last weekend). My local branch currently has some A5 Saffianos (in a lovely Kermit green...) and a Pocket Patterns, £10 each. I have also picked up a couple of ~A6 Moleskines for friends who bujo...

    For the charity shops, I have found a Daiso B7 (pretty close to Pocket) for £3, and a vintage leather 'GE Seaco' Personal Slim address book, for, IIRC, 50p...

    None of these are used for 'organiser' functions... I use them for my outdoor instruction bullet point notes (I volunteer as a DofE instructor/supervisor/assessor). These notes have evolved from 11 short pages on A7 in 2012, to more than 340 pages today, with an automated document preparation system that allows me to assemble manuals from a number of raw text document sections (using a very basic markup annotation), and create chaptered documents for online use (PDF, with automated contents page), and printed documents from A7 to A4. When the notes grew to more than 100 pages, the stitched A7 'aide memoires' got a bit unwieldy and hard to update, so I switched to using ring binders, of various sizes.

    The printed documents are automatically laid up onto double-sided A4 sheets so that they can be simply guillotined and stacked, and be in the correct page sequence. I can measure the printer scaling & registration errors, and apply a correction so the page edges are aligned correctly. Punching is the hard part; I still use a 4mm diameter hollow core punch, and a hammer, using guides printed on every eight pages... I have designed a 4mm punch insert for a Velos Perforex 400 punch, but have yet to find a way of getting six of these made at a reasonable price...

    Maybe I'll write a blog post describing this process...