Forum: Finding Planners

I've been on the hunt for a new planner, and found this site. I'm very excited about creating my own system. However, I've hit a snag. I'm having a really hard time finding any 3-ring classic sized binders. I've tried both Wal-Mart and Target, and looked around on different office store websites. I keep finding 6 and 7 ring binders and it seems like all binder systems are FC based these days, even at Wal-Mart! I thought I'd be in planner heaven since it's back to school time, but no such luck.

The main reason I'm even considering a diy solution is because I love the 1 week in 2 pages view -- VERTICAL. I haven't been able to find many choices.

So, has anyone seen any 3 ring systems lately? Ideally, I'd like to find one that comes with tabbed dividers and such that I can reuse.

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Not sure how fancy you want to get, but a few ideas are...

Russel & Hazel - they have classic size, fabric covered binders (with a whileboard on the inside!)

Check the Bazzar here as I believe someone is selling white ones.

Go to the address book section of your local office supply store as that is where I find the nice and inexpensize 3-ring classic binders!

good luck,
nay nay


I see the binders in the bazzar have sold.....

I have some

PM me and we can chat
If you only need one or two, you are welcome to them for shipping cost only
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

I sent you a message but I

I sent you a message but I haven't seen a reply. It's entirely possible you haven't had a chance to reply, but wanted to make sure I didn't miss your message.

If you did reply, please resend to jaxiakiley through yahoo dotcom.


Sorry - swamped

I spent the weekend in "honey-do" mode
yardwork, and such
I saw the note and put a task on my "to-do" to find what I remember having stashed somewhere.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

How many rings are too many?

I used to wonder why 3 rings weren't enough, then realized the paper tears away more easily the fewer the rings. But my wife's Franklin with 7 rings seems overkill - - and heavy.

3 ring vs 6/7 ring binders

While it's true that the page turning is a little more "stable" with 6 or 7 rings, it's really not that much of a deal-breaker. Instead, turn your attention to other aspects of the planner, such as:

1. Are the rings likely to "catch" paper as it's coming around (check to see how smooth the closures are)?

2. How easy is it to open and close the rings? Cheaper ones can be pretty stiff.

3. What's the overall quality of the planner? Is the ring spine nice and firm? Are there bits that will grab your shirt sleeves? Are there enough pockets for your extras (e.g., index cards, business cards)?

4. And perhaps most importantly, how do you feel about carrying it? Unless you feel good about it, including its looks, its weight, its closure and so forth, your subconscious will make sure you leave it behind more often than not.

Note that the 6 and 7 ring binders are often more valued for the above, since they tend to be more expensive and better made. It's not really the ease of turning of paper on the rings, per se.

Hope this helps!

all my best,

Dayrunner makes them, though

Dayrunner makes them, though I don't think they are as well made as the daytimer and franklin covey products. Franklin Covey and Daytimer are interchangeable, and the FC punch is quite inexpensive. There are a number up for grabs on EBay at any given moment. Additionally, for the planner cover itself, there are many who try a system and cast it aside. You can find the remnants of it on EBay for a fraction of the cost.

A Planner/Binder Comparison

I'm not sure why, but it's generally far easier to find Day Runner binders and accessories here in Canada than Day-Timer, at least in Staples / Business Depot. (Perhaps Mead has a good distribution system?) Franklin-Covey is rare except in larger cities... I think I've only seen them in retail stores twice --once in Montreal and once in Toronto.

Regarding quality, I have a couple dozen binders of various makes and sizes. I can say that overall, there's little difference in top-of-the-line makes between the three companies. It's only when in the $35-70 range that you really start to see a difference. In that range, for that money, Day Runner binders tend to be the best bang for the buck. I have a $50 DR faux leather that's as well-made as any FC binder I have that costs three times the price, and feels like it will last longer.

A few years ago I did a fairly extensive comparison between the three makes, with Mead binders thrown in for good measure. From cheap to expensive:

Mead: Vinyl, cheap (usually less than $20), but fairly well made for a beginner. Forget about the cheapo paper within, though, and stock up with some decent DR or D*I*Y Planner templates.

DayRunner: IIRC, made by a division of Mead. Mid-range with a very wide variety of sizes, qualities and materials. Something for every taste, and even faux-leather is quite decent, almost indistinguishable from leather. Typical high-end classic size (5.5x8.5") runs about $55-75, with a bit more for "Pro" models (more than three rings, typically). Pro forms are generally good, but the quality of non-Pro forms are variable, usually good enough for beginners. Most DR forms that you can purchase separately are good quality.

Day-Timer: Mid-to-high cost, with an emphasis on faux and real leather for more "executive" models. Generally a notch above Day Runner in quality, but about 20-30% costlier. Forms are variable: some of the "starter" kits have terrible thin paper with cheap colouring. DT forms that you purchase separately tend to be quite good.

FranklinCovey: Although there is the occasional low-end FC binder in Target or bargain stores, these are best avoided, often being not much better than ones you'd find in a dollar store. (I have three of these. Ugh.) The high-end or executive models tend to be quite costly, upwards of $100 to $200, but their construction isn't generally that much better than the top-line Day-Timers. Although FC form kits include some vaguely "inspirational" kits/workbooks, the typical forms in a newly-bought binder aren't very great in terms of quality. The paper tends to be thin, the monotone green ink and circa-1985 design work can get tedious, and the variety leaves something to be desired. If, however, you subscribe to time-management a la Covey, they have a few neat accessories like the daily Compass pouches. FC does have a certain reputation in the boardroom, though, if you like sporting brand-names.

Keep in mind that this comparison (and many of my extant forms from these companies) is a few years old now. I can't speak to the latest couple of years.

Hope this helps!

all my best,

Binder Sources

I would check Thrift Stores for binders. I go into a thrift store almost daily, and I see Franklin, and other binders there every time.

I second that. You can find

I second that. You can find really nice ones there, some even complete with dividers and plastic card holders and everything, usually for no more than two or three bucks.

All I can tell you..

All I can tell you is what I have, since I'm rather new to the diy planners myself. I found a good day runner for $25-$40 at the local staples. Since Day Runner does 3, 6, & 7 ring planners, it may take a little hunting in the store for a three ring, but you should be able to find one. When I was shopping around before I bought, the Staples website didn't have much in the way of 3-ring classics, but there were around a dozen models in the store.

I carry the day runner "harmony" organizer (in burgundy; I'm a bit of a girly-girl). It's closures are smooth & without snags, though the action is a little stiffer then I'd like. It cost around $30.

Also, if you don't have an office-supply store nearby, you can order direct from the brand websites. Day Runner's is

make one

I had the same struggle so I made my own. At Wal-Mart (but they have them at Staples) I bought a plain white binder that holds 8.5 x 5.5 inch pages. I had a piece of fabric that is my favorite color, and I spent 20 minutes gluing the fabric onto the binder with craft glue. I bought a set of Day Runner colored pockets that fit that size planner and pasted one in the front cover. I fill it with a combination of FC Blooms refill because I LOVE the vertical weekly format and then add DIY pages that work for me, as well as a couple of personal ones.

Office Depot address book

That idea of pasting on fabric is great. I've been thinking for years of using a piece of quilt top, maybe with padding, and trying to get that onto a binder. The thought of sewing it on was a bit much, but this is a great idea.

Anyway, I bought a $25 Office Depot classic size 3-ring address book and since the address book was a lavender color and a bit bright, I got a black "tug" (Office Depot Foray brand) stretch book cover (there are tons of them out now that it's school supply season). With the cover on the lavender doesn't show hardly at all (and where it does it's just enough to look like a nice trim) and the stretchy cover forms vertical pockets on the inside of the front and back that you can slip papers etc into. Very handy. I'm planning to buy a couple more of the address books when they're on sale since they're so sturdy and versatile.

The address book is lightly padded so the cover doesn't need to be.

And I really like that there is no leather involved. The stretch cover looks like microfiber and can be sponged off, and rather than bother with a real wash, I just replace it every few months or so. It's just a couple of dollars and looks nice enough for business. I'd thought the address book might slip around inside the cover but it doesn't.

Look at Oberon Design

I tried to post this a couple of weeks ago, but I used a link and was apparently flagged as a spammer. I'll try again. Oberon Design (you can do a google search to find them) does some nice leather binders in the "junior" size and I think also the "compact" size. They are beautifully embossed, with several designs and colors to choose from.

In addition to the binders (that come with a set of forms and a calendar, you can use standard refills currently on the market or make your own), they also have journals that can be refilled, tote bags, and many other items.


Gorgeous items at this web site! Thank you for the link!

Another vertical option

Moleskine makes a vertical weekly planner with 1 week on 2 pages. Go to Amazon and search "Moleskine weekly vertical" and it should pop right up.

I haven't had any experience

I haven't had any experience personally with any of the following companies, but I have been searching for junior size 3 ring binders (8.5 x 5.5), and this is what I have come up with.

I'd love to hear feedback if anyone has any experience on any of these.