To be honest, I didn’t think I was a planner decorator. It does not really seem necessary to the planning process, but I find that it helps me be more inspired and excited for the coming weeks if they are decorated and prepared ahead of time. I also consider it an avenue to express creativity, which is always a healthy thing. My decorations are quite modest I would say, and I try to keep them as utilitarian as possible at the same time as being pretty.
That said, I wanted to share with you the materials I usually end up using for planner decoration. This serves as a guide for someone just starting with decorating their planner and have no idea what to use.
I am a color-coder by nature, so colored pens are a necessity. I’ve gone through many brands and types of colored pens. Right now I am very happy with the Pilot Coleto system (the bottom one in the photo above), which is a refillable pen and many colors are available. I have two of these three-ink barrels right now, which means I have six colors to play with. I also use fountain pens regularly, although recently I’ve been sticking with just the Coletos for my planner. I also use the Pilot Petit3 brush pen in my planner, but mostly with the function of a highlighter.
Washi tapes are all the rage these days. It’s basically just a type of tape that you can tear manually with just your hands (so plastic tapes like Scotch or cellophane tapes are not washi), but different from paper tapes in terms of quality. MT is a popular Japanese brand that may have started it all (don’t quote me on that!) and a brand that I am recently starting to appreciate. I mostly use washi tape to decorate the sides or borders of my layouts, but I’ve also used it to cover up some mistakes.
Planner stickers are a particular family of stickers that are designed to be used in, well, a planner. These are usually in the form of flags to mark or highlight events, lists to hold lists, and icons to denote specific and usually recurring events or chores. A lot of planner sticker designers make really cute sets and even have themed ones, making it really easy to decorate a planner layout.
For me, sticky notes are almost like planner stickers since a lot of sticky notes are really cute. I consider this as a very temporary type of decoration, and won’t usually contribute to an overall planner layout “design” unless I take a permanent glue and stick them down. I use sticky notes for events that are not yet scheduled in, or for tasks that I’m not really sure when I’d be able to finish. I also use these as a temporary list holder. Not pictured here are the page flags type of sticky notes, those that are meant to be seen beyond the page to serve as a page marker.
Stamps and Inks
I consider stamps and inks to be a little on the advanced side in terms of planner decorating. Rubber stamps have been around for a while, but I’ve recently discovered clear stamps and fell into another hole. This particular clear stamp set is quite overused in my planner but it’s really appropriate and I love how they look. I think it’s not really necessary for planning, since stamped words can be written with a pen and stamped images probably have sticker equivalents somewhere. I actually just enjoy playing around with them and they are really quite cute!
Finally we have clips of all kinds, the more common of which are binder clips and paper clips. You can see right away that these are pretty cute and definitely decorative. I use the bigger binder clips to hold open my pages both when I’m actually planning and also when I’m taking photos of my planner. I use the smaller binder clips and the paper clips to actually mark pages such as the current week and current month.
There we go! I hope you got some ideas on what materials you can use for planner decorating. For ideas on how these materials are actually used to decorate planner layouts, you can check out my previous layout posts.