You know what I want?


You know what I want? I want the perfect binder.

Today I was in the ridiculous situation of having to lug my purse, my laptop bag, and my planner into and out of my workplace. They all have straps or handles, but that's three devices and only two arms.

My purse would probably accommodate a compact planner--it's a red tooled textured job from Penney's and has one big pocket--but no way a big classic.

My laptop back would accommodate an ordinary Classic planner as well as my other ...uh... stuff. But it won't handle the planner I have, which has an extra big pocket on one side to hold a cell phone, PDA, pens, and perhaps a wallet.

I want a purse and a planner that work together without looking like I really ought to have a man Friday to carry it for me. Did I mention I'm short? I'm also cheap, so I wouldn't want to pay down the national debt for the combo if I could help it. I like cross-body purses. They just feel more secure and they don't hurt my shoulders as much.

Do I want the impossible? A nice zippered leather purse and a nice zippered leather binder. They don't even have to match, I'm not that nuts about stuff going together. I'm thinking the binder I have is the wrong one--the extra pocket blows it. It is not a device intended to cooperate with other containers. It's a man-bag, I guess. I like it for what it is and what I paid for it, but it's definitely the wrong one for me. And I love the purse I have, fell in love with it almost the instant I laid eyes on it, even though it is cheap. :P It's only the second purse I've ever had that was a color other than black or navy.

I'm thinking I'll need to buy a different binder, one without the saddlebag. And probably a 'tote' style purse, though I'd need another pocket for the other stuff I want to carry. How silly of me. I bought the binder a month ago, roughly. And the purse even more recently than that. *sigh* They were both on sale, too. *SIGH*

Ladies, what do you wear? Seems like most of the posters seem to like the hipsters, which would be easy to accommodate in almost any purse. What about folks who favor a bigger binder?


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Same problem

Several points I've accepted over the past couple of years:
1. Leather binders are always going to be too heavy to carry in a purse, whatever size, except for the Filofax slim-line personal size binders. For the classic size, we need microfiber or other lightweight cloth binders without a lot of reinforcement and linings. Actually I'd like a planner with a plastic cover like some of the little monthly calendars have--the ones you see at the office supply stores.
2. We don't need binders constructed of multiple layers of leather and heavy cardstock or plastic. I'd be happy to pay $25 for a lightweight binder that would last one or two years, or maybe longer if well-cared-for. Such a binder would actually fit into my purse without weighing me down. The leather binders on the market seem to be constructed to survive a war zone, to be handed down to grandkids. I don't need that.
3. We just have to get away from trying to carry so much in our purses. A purse big enough to carry everything we really want to carry in it will be too heavy.

I have a large black microfiber tote bag that I use as my purse. This year I made up my own planner, two pages per week, and had it spiral bound at Staples. It works without a binder and has been really convenient. I had some envelopes and pockets bound into it, and it's been great--not heavy at all. For 2007 I will have some extra pages for GTD lists etc. But I'm also considering using my red Filofax slim-line personal-size binder which is compact enough to fit in my tote. Or maybe my classic-size at-a-glance binder that has three rings and also a slot I can slip my own planner into, so I can have the flexibility of a binder plus my own planner, except that when I use that, it doesn't fit into the purse/tote bag.

So, same problem--it's really hard to find a solution.

My not completely satisfactory solution is to carry another tote bag with me for a ton of pens and pencils, paper clips, post-it note pads, laptop, my binder, client materials, reference materials, files, etc. Maybe you could likewise schlepp around your purse and a second tote bag for the laptop and other paraphernalia. I have several tote bags and move stuff back and forth depending on where I'm going and what I'll be doing there.

I'd also like to see what other women do about this.

Standard 1/2 size ring binder + sachel bag


I carry a satchel with a regular 5.5x8.5 ring binder as my planner. I don't have a cell phone, but I do have a diabetes testing kit (which is about the same size, and has to be carried everywhere).

I went with the black 5.5x8.5" binder because (a) I'm cheap, (b) they're easy to replace and (c) I make my own sheets so anything with more than three holes is painful.

I've tried smaller writing surfaces (2.75x4.25" black binder, for example) and larger (I have several 8.5x11" note pad holders); but the mid size is the most comfortable for me. My planner (all told) probably cost me 20$ (binder, couple of plastic folders, a zipper pocket, a set of card holders, and a pen clip). I slice my own paper to fit and print up the forms provided by this site.

The satchel is great. It's a shoulder bag with two pockets on the flap and one big pocket beneath. It looks a bit like this one.

There's plenty of room for medications, wallet, testing kit, planner and a book; so I'm all set. The only down side is when I need to carry binders, then I have to go to a bigger sachel or a backpack.

Classic Planner and totes

Hey there shris!

Yes, this seems to be a common problem for all! I found a classic sized binder that is a burgandy fake leather in the address book section of Office Depot. I saw it again yesterday and it was $16.99. Now, you do not get all the other planner pages, just the address pages, but it was the binder I wanted. It is slim, open (no flaps or zippers) and it looks professional. The binder is about 3/4", so there is still room for a lot of planner pages, but it does not weigh much at all. So, try the address book section of your local office supply store as there are more options for slimline planners there. Also, this just has 3 rings and since I have to punch all of my own papers, this is just easier.

As for a bag, I really just have my purse and this classic is so slim that it seems to fit fine. If I am expecting some serious take home stuff from work, I grab my microfiber briefcase (I think I found it at TJMAxx) and shove everything else in there!

Let me know if you find anything at the office store!

nay nay


Hi nay nay.

I dug out an old binder I had from Franklin Covey 10 years or so ago.. It was a "Green Line" binder made from recycled soda bottles. Blue fabric with black imitation leather trim. The edges are pretty beat up, but a lint roller cleaned up the fabric some. I might have to use some fabric paint to cover up the dings in the fake leather. It's a 2" ring, so it holds everything and then some, and it's probably too fat for my purse, haven't checked yet. But it doesn't have the extra saddlebag on the outside, so it's smaller that way.

I've got one of those half-sized plain vinyl 3-ring open binders. But I need a zipper because all of those page protectors and unbound cards.. I tipped my binder upside-down unzipped just to see whether the compression would be enough, and I saw some sliding going on.. 8.

The point everyone else made about microfiber being lighter than leather is very well taken. I might end up going that route for my purse, but I'm kind of struggling on the hook I guess. Tooled leather or even plain leather is just nicer looking, I think. I'm trying to upscale my look a little, for various reasons. Not much I can do about the size of my butt, but I can dazzle your eye with a spiffy bag to take your attention away from it. :)

Up until this latest purse, all of my purses have been very small organizer-type bags--not even a separate wallet. But now I've got to carry more stuff, seemingly. I'm trying to scale back, really I am, but the planner is the elephant on the dining table.

Now, to be truly prepared for whatever happens to me when I'm out, I've got to have the planner, the coupons, the purse and everything I used to carry, the PDA, the cell phone.. I'm really opposed to wearing a backpack, but it would be the perfect container for all this stuff. If I was out all the time, I wouldn't need all this stuff, ironically enough. But I don't get out often now, so when I am out there tends to be a lot of "..and another thing!" tacked on.



shris - you make me laugh! I have been in this same situation FOREVER! Since I found this site, only a few months ago, I think I have made 15+/- planners! My dining room table is heaped with different size papers, different binders, notebooks, bags, etc. You name it, I think I have tried it.

About the binder... I am an open binder type of girl, so cannot give much advise on a zipper planner. Although, now that I think about it, I do have an original Franklin Covey black classic leather planner with zipper. If you would want to buy it for say $15 (that includes shipping) I will mail it out to you. I forgot I had it. It is in great condition. I got it when Franklin first came to town, so it is old, but hasn't been used for many years. I'm assuming your new sheet protectors have enough holes for the Franklin style? I want to say it may only be a 1" ring though... Cannot say for sure, but I could check it tonight.

Let me know what you think!

nay nay :)

Thanks for the offer..

Hi nay nay.

I appreciate the offer of your binder on the cheap. Let me think it over for a day or two. The page protectors definitely work with the seven-ring Franklins. That's what my Green Line binder is.

I did use a little fabric paint to touch up my binder, and it took care of the color matching problem, but not the texture. If you're not looking for the dings, most of them would probably escape notice now.

After seeing the Anuschka bags on the ebags site and the zappos site, and fiddling with the fabric paint on my own binder, I get an itch to be creative on my binder. That is, I start thinking about what I would paint if I were going to paint designs on my binder instead of just covering the dings. Fabric paint, fabric binder--it would work. But would I have the guts to actually do it? Probably not. :) I love bright colors--neons paired with black, pastels and metallics together..

It's not really a matter of damaging the value of the binder. It was already so dinged up nobody would buy it, even though it's in perfect working order apart from the dings. It's just that I'm never satisfied with my own artwork. I've got a staid, boring oak desk that I stained with geometric patterns in red, blue, and green before DH finished it with glossy polyurethane. There are parts of it I love, and parts of it that I would definitely fix if it wasn't so dang time-consuming to strip and refinish the thing. I've got bucketloads of drawings, paintings and even a few bits of sculpture but I don't display them. They itch. I want to fix them. I'm afraid that if I 'messed' with my binder I'd end up with something that itches.


Go for it!

shris - I say go for it! Decorate your binder! I have learned from this site that planning is much more fun when you are creative and enjoy your binder and planning system - which is why we are "Do-It-Yourself-ers"!

Good luck, have fun, keep smilin'
nay nay



Tonight I went shopping for a big bag that would hold my binder and other things. I rapidly became disgusted with the luggage I would have to carry. Bleh.

DH and I are handy types. DH rather more than me, but between the two of us we can build almost anything. DH suggested adding a couple of grommet-rivets to the pocket-binder I have to add a long strap to it. The pocket isn't quite big enough to serve as a daily purse, but it would be OK for shopping excursions and other appointments. It fits my wallet, pda, and cell phone with extra pens. Likewise I moved my coupons to my homemade accordion file (instead of the hard plastic case they were in before) so they're more portable now. They fit into my purse all the time, which will make them more useful.

So here's the plan, at least for the moment..
We'll put some grommets on the pocket binder, then rings into the grommets, then attach a long strap to the rings. This gives me a 'cross-body' binder. This should be quite a cheap modification as long as I can find a strap. I think all of my old purses had their straps permanently attached, so 'borrowing' might not be possible there.
When I get ready to leave the house, I'll just have to decide whether there will be ANY shopping on the trip at all. If so, then the planner goes instead of the regular purse.

I suppose we could do the same mod on my 2-inch pocketless binder, just give it a strap so I can take both the binder and the purse. But I'm not entirely keen on the two-strap thing. Should I wear them opposing so I have a nice 'cross your heart' effect? Or wear them both the same direction so I have extra bulk and weight on one side? :)

The tricky bit with the whole thing is finding grommets strong enough to go through the layers of the binder that will still look nice once they're in. I haven't done a lot of grommet work in the past, so I don't know the range of options in grommets. Then again, there's also the grommet-insertion process itself. I believe there's a bit of hardware that you have to use with the mallet to get a good fit, and wiggling all that stuff in properly to the structure of the binder might be a challenge. But I am sure we will prevail.

There *are* pocket binders that have a long strap already--I've seen at least one for sale on the daytimer site, I think. But it's $75 and the binder I have was only $25.

If all this doesn't work, I did see some drop-dead gorgeous laptop cases on ebags. The silk numbers were sooo beautiful, and they seemed like they might be smaller than your average laptop bag. I would *not* mind wearing one of those around. :)


Adding a strap

Very cool! I've added straps to binders and wallets and things, but never got so sophisticated as to use grommets. I'd be interested to see your results!




We grommeted the binder tonight. Hah! Didn't even have to buy any grommets or tools. DH already had everything we needed out in the garage. I marked the spots with a yellow grease pencil and he did the rest. He's got a hole puncher tool that will do steel, so the binder was no challenge at all. He practiced a few times on an old leather purse to make sure he got the hole size right for the grommet size, and had the right number of whacks, etc.

The binder is black. The rings and zip hardware are silver-tone, but the grommets in the handle (put on by the mfr) are brass-looking. You only see those grommets when the handle is in use, and then only a small portion of the grommet. So I decided on silver-tone grommets for my purpose.

The hole diameter is 1/4" and the grommets themselves are 3/8" wide. There wasn't a lot of room between the ends of the handles and the edges of the binder, but these fit neatly and look like they were there from the start.

Franklin Covey sells a black strap with lobster clasps on the end for $13, so I'm thinking I'll order that and attach it to the grommets rather than trying some ring arrangement.

When I have the strap I'll take a picture. All in all, it was very anti-climactic. :)



FWIW, I recently acquired this convertible tote/backpack bag, and so far (one week) I am quite pleased. Works well as a satchel and is very easy to convert to a packpack when I have to walk a ways. Holds a LOT of stuff, and is quite well-made. The only gripe I have is that the microfibre they used seems to act like a magnet and attracts dog hair, dust, etc. I got the black one, and I just brush it off if it gets too "magnetized". It's almost the perfect purse (there really is no such thing).

As for planners, I've waffled from 5.5x8.5 to HPDA and back again, and always come back to the ~3.75x6.75 size. It's big enough to give me some space, but small enough to carry around relatively comfortably. I totally agree on the binder issue - I like a light-weight open binder, not a lead brick!


I just went to this web site that shb has a link to above - there are lots of different choices on this site... Haven't looked through it all, but this might be the place to find a bag. shb - great choice on yours!! I like all of the compartments!

nay nay


I'm afraid that ebags is one of my addictions. They probably know me on a first name basis by now, "OMG it's that one lady buying yet another bag!" :\ I suppose there are worse addictions...

and more bags...

I have already put a few comments on other forums about ebags. They seem to have a little bit of everything! Now I am addicted! Like I didn't already have a purse addiction... You just put fuel on the fire, but I am smiling about it! :)

nay nay


One of my aunts introduced me to Ameribag recently. I have to say that I'm in love. It's big enough to accomodate all my junk, but easy to carry either on one shoulder or across my body from the opposite shoulder. It's never caused me the back strain or constant falling-off-the-shoulder feeling that used to keep me from carrying purses.

My aunt is petite (about 5'2" or 5'3") and uses the "small" size, which seems to hold an amazing amount of stuff. I'm a bit taller, about 5'7", and I opted for a medium.

I rarely fill mine, but last time I did, it held: wallet, checkbook, 6 diapers, travel case of baby wipes, full change of clothes for my toddler, cell phone, lip balm, digital camera, a few pens, small notebook, my classic size planner (tab closure, 1" rings), and a water bottle.

The Ameribag web site is rather pricey, but if you watch Sierra Trading Post, they often have them at a large (50% or so) discount. Sierra's selection is small and ever-changing, so you have to watch and wait around for them to carry one you like.