06 February 2024

Free For All Tuesday - No. 679

What questions or discussion points have you got for us today?

It doesn't matter if you are a beginner or a more experienced user of organisers, we want to hear your thoughts, questions, opinions etc.

We are here to answer your questions.

Make today the one day you post a comment or post a question. If you are commenting as 'Anonymous', please include your name in the text of your comment. 

It is Tuesday after all, so fire away with any questions and comments.


  1. Something I've been pondering on the matter of downsizing formats, not collections: is smaller in any way better, apart from the specific issue of weight?

    Should planners not be more like shoes, where the size you need, is the size you need, and there's no specific merit or encouragement to be fitting into something smaller?

    I know minimising "all the things" seems to align with a thrifty & ecologically-aware mindset, but doesn't it in fact waste more paper, in offcuts, to scale down? Even arguably in terms of the percentage per used page left as margins, or unwriteable, in proportion to the useable area?

    For example, A5 fill can be created anywhere, you can grab a sheet of printer paper, fold, tear, punch, and you're good to go without a single offcut. US Letter size paper is a decent substitute for A4 as well, again chopped in two and with no added waste. Even your margins are big enough to use for the odd note and doodle.

    Personal gets trickier, I run most of my life from a Personal and get 3 pages out of an A4 sheet by aligning tight along the top edge with the sheet set in landscape-orientation, and using dots (bujo-style) instead of lines, so I don't have to fret over printer margins, or complex alignment for the back of the page. It's a bit of a faff, though the long bottom strip of spare paper makes for good shopping lists, so I print all of both sides with dots all over, and one side has Word "drawing objects" dropped on top, to mark out where to cut the planner pages.

    But it does take longer of course, and that's even with an original sturdy Filofax Personal 6-hole punch. I don't know if they ever produced dedicated Pocket & Mini punches, so without that, anything smaller is in my experience a real nuisance to get the holes small enough, and trim, and fiddle with punches, and then you don't even get a single satisfying strip of usable paper left at the end.

    So, for those reasons, I respectfully venture the idea that downsizing, as a general goal, and unless driven by a compelling need, sets you up for more long-term waste, as well as consuming more time and money. Rebuttals welcome!

  2. Size choice for me is determined by use more than waste or even weight. Being as I'm mostly working at home I use A5 for better writing real estate. The appointments in my diary section are clearer for being spaced out more, although I do think filofax line spacing is a bit too small.

    But then I'm likely to go into work once a week. The difference in weight with my Holborn personal isn't really that significant. What is significant I can fit it into my work bag with everything else. My A5 was too thick and bulky to fit so easily iffy my bag. It made the zip feel like it burst when I closed it. I also don't need the writing real estate as I'm using a thin clairfontaine A5 notebook for notes since it's easier to write in during busy meetings. As in write on both sides of the paper without rings getting in the way.

    I find use dictates size for me. The way I use my filofaxes also changes so I reckon I'll keep on switching until my use settles down.

  3. Anyone tried to dye a Filofax? I bought an inexpensive personal on ebay to use as a kick around notebook, one that I don't mind if it takes a beating. Burgundy color, would like to turn it darker brown. Shoe dye, some kind of oil? Not worth the trouble?

    1. No, but there are some useful articles on dying leather shoes on the American Duchess website.

    2. Thanks for article on dyes. I just received planner in mail and the color isn't as bad as the online photo. It was listed as used, but looks brand new, not refurbished. There's a 1991 diary and other inserts. It looks like a Lincoln, but there's no name stamp. The owner info sheet is for US. I'm pleased because it lays flat when open and doesn't require the severe manipulations I put my Finsbury through when it was new. For my purposes, it'll be a good beater notebook.

  4. Jon M.
    On the endless quest for the best way to use a Filofax, this on and off for decades user has landed on using a Heritage Personal FF with the six hole tear off personal size yellow "legal pad" in the front of the FF for daily quick phone notes, shopping lists, etc...things I won't likely need later, along with the week on 2 pages insert for planning. Nothing more. I've given up trying to get by with month on two pages insert. For longer note taking, for intermediate reference, I use a leather covered Moleskine notebook. It seems to be working...