Basic Supplies

One of the primary goals of the D*I*Y Planner project is to save your money. Consequently, you should be able to go out to your favourite office supply store (or department store) and pick up a lot of the basic supplies without shelling out too many of your hard-earned dollars (or Euros, or Yen, or...). Here's a little list to get you started.

  • The planner. Purchase a planner that takes 5.5"x8.5" or A5 pages. There are plenty of generic planners available at department stores for about $10-20 USD: usually the price is an indication of quality in both cover and contents. The planner you choose should take into consideration your personal style, the intended use, availability and cost.
  • A pen and a mechanical pencil. Get a good pen that writes smoothly and fits well in your hand. Some people prefer using an expensive fountain pen, but a very popular alternative is the Pilot G-2, which is easy to grip, writes fluidly, and is cheap. Many claim that the 0.5mm Pilot G-2 pen has just the right balance of smoothness and line thickness. Pick up a decent mechanical pencil for writing things that are likely to change, such as addresses or brainstorming diagrams. If you don't, your planner will likely get messy fast.
  • Optional: a calculator. There are two main choices for a calculator. First is a clip-in solar calculator/ruler that's both thin and functional, and can generally be found in the Day-Timer and Day Runner catalogues, among other places. You can also get an inexpensive credit-card sized calculator that will adhere to the inside cover or slip into a business card slot.
  • A zipper pouch insert (like a heavy zip-lock baggie) and some business card pages. Fill the former with stamps, paper clips, quarters, extra labels, etc., for convenience and emergencies. The latter should fill itself over time.
  • A guillotine Most of the provided templates print onto 5.5"x8.5" or A5 paper. If you can't find these sizes, you can cut letter-sized or A4 paper in half. You can buy a decent guillotine from department stores for about $20-30 USD, and you'll no doubt find it handy for a million other things over the years. Avoid 'rotary trimmers' and get one with a self-sharpening chopper arm if possible. For an example, see the GBC GT II Series Trimmer, 15in., which is a great investment for a fairly low price, and you'll probably be passing it on to your grandchildren.
  • A hole-punch. Find one that can punch the holes in the right places to match your planner; this is not as easy as you might think. Your best bet is to get a specialised hole punch from an office supply store, or one that can be adjusted to conform to different numbers of holes and spacing. Many of the cheap ones do have sliding punches, but you might have to examine them carefully before you buy, as sometimes the boxes aren't very informative. (At a local office supply store, the designer found a perfect Acco #50505-74003 with adjustable punches for less than $7 CDN, or about $5 USD.). Some of the inexpensive ones don't have adjustable paper guides, but you can always mark the top and bottom with liquid paper or a white china marker. If you are so inclined, Day-Timer, Filofax and Day Runner sell clip-in hole punches, but they only punch a page or two at a time and do not function as well as larger versions. If you have a six or seven ring planner like the Day-Timer 'Desk' or Filofax A5 size, it gets more complicated. You can purchase clip-in punches (about $10 USD) and full-size ones (about $35 USD) from DayTimer.com, Franklin-Covey North American, European and Filofax or their respective catalogues.
  • Optional: tabbed dividers You can buy some, or you can make your own. If you choose the latter, we can recommend 100-120 lb (220 - 260gsm) card stock and Avery self-adhesive Shield Tabs, such as the clear ones (37107) which retail for about $1.50 USD.
  • If you like colour-coding, grab some Avery Colour-Coding Labels (44021), which are actually just red, blue, green and yellow dots ($1.50 USD).
  • Pads of lined and blank note paper, pre-punched for your planner, will save you some work and printer ink in the long run, but even the more inexpensive ones could far prove more costly than printing the forms. Some graph paper may come in handy, too. Make sure the pads are really 5.5"x8.5" (or A5), or you're wasting your money. Take care, as there are slightly smaller and larger pads which you could pick up by mistake.
  • Sticky notes. Just because you'll always need them, no matter how organised you are, pick up some sticky notes. Many people keep two pads, one small and one medium-sized, on the inside front of their planners.
  • If your planner doesn't come with a 'Today' plastic clip-in ruler insert, we recommend getting one so that you can find today's month (or week, or day) at a moment's notice. If you can't find one, look for a flexible plastic ruler (the type that doesn't snap if you bend it): line it up against one of your punched sheets, and punch holes to match. Cut a slit from each hole to the edge so you can insert it into your binder, and then round the edges of the slit slightly to make it easier to snap on the rings. Make sure that the top extends above the page by a tab's length, and then round the corners slightly so it won't cut you. Voila! Another option is to use the Satellite Action Cards, which clip right into your planner and double as both a Today tab and a set of action lists.
  • Optional goodies: cheque book holder, floppy holder, CD-ROM holder, photograph holder, file pockets, clip-in wallet, page magnifier, and more. Remember: carry only what you need or you won't be carrying your bulky planner anywhere.
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