Thin/Narrow Planner

I've been looking for a thin 5.5"x8.5" planner, I think that the 1" ring binders are just too large, today while I was perusing the isles at Office Max I saw a DayRunner that looked like it would have been 3/4" or less(I don't think it was quite 1/2 thats pretty small.) I picked it up and thought that the faux leather felt pretty cheap, but hey it was the only thin planner I have seen, so I took it to the front to buy it, but when I got there it was $48! so I passed.

Does anyone know of a good resource for thinner planners I wont carry it if its to bulky, I dont mind paying a decent price for it, IF ITS DECENT QUALITY, the one I picked up today screamed $25 at most.

I'd Be happy if I could find an old Pina Zangaro Aluminum planner, I used to have but it was the pocket size from Covey, I would like to use the standard size here.

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Is a "planner" binder necessary?

In my attempts to lessen the bulk of my planner, I gave up my leather binder and moved to a plain 3-ring binder in the classic size (Office Depot item #178335, I think.). I use 1 inch rings, but it's still less bulky than the leather binder I was using before.

I've tried searching online for other classic-size binders, but the plain stuff isn't turning up with rings smaller than 1 inch. Oddly, there are letter-size binders with half-inch rings...

Do you procrastinate?

Maybe I just need to make my

Maybe I just need to make my own. Anyone know where I can buy the 3 Ring binder mechanism?

I saw a Japanese guy that made an aluminum and Carbon Fiber one, But alas his website is gone.

What about a new Zangaro?

I've had this aluminum binder bookmarked for a while:

One-inch rings, $35.99

Do you procrastinate?


Just to be sure I checked Pina Zangaro's website and didn't see that anywhere. its EXACTLY like the one I have laying around here but mine is made for the smaller planner size.

This will do perfectly!

thank you, thank you, thank you, Flexiblefine. Funny thing is I stopped off on my way home and picked up the other one you suggested at OfficeDepot.

Thinner/narrower binder

I found some nice 3/4 inch ring binders (5 1/2 X 8 /12 size)at Office Max, in the section where they stock Phone/Address notebooks. I bought a couple, one to use as a day planner, and one to use as a journal. I threw out the phone/address pages, and inserted my day planner pages.

The covers are not real leather, but they are a high quality vinyl that looks pretty good. They come in black and brown. On the inside back cover there's a slot at the top to hold a 5 X 8 pad of note paper. On the inside front cover there is a vertical pocket running from top to bottom, and an additional three smaller pockets, a little bigger than business card size. There is also an elastic pen loop.

The price was $16.95 each.

Address Book with Removable 3-Ring Binder Mechanism

With this tip on address books at Office Max, I went to the address book section at Office Max yesterday and found an inexpensive 3-ring binder for 5.5x8.5 paper that is perfect for my needs.

It is thin and light weight. It has a slot on inside back cover for a notepad, a flap on the inside front cover which has slots to hold assorted cards including one with a clear plastic window. It even has a magnetic tab closure. The inside diameter measurement of the 3-ring mechanism is 3/4 of an inch. It is manufactured by Blue Sky, the Color of Imagination ( (a pretty poor Website, to be honest)). The model name is the Brittany and the model number is 10007. I must warn you, it is quality maroon vinyl with some parts fake croc embossed. It's great for my needs, but may not be styled to your liking.

There were a few address books by Blue Sky. I saw three kinds just like the one described by LeRoy: one, plain black vinyl; another, plain brown vinyl; and the last, "fancy" black vinyl divided into quadrants (you'd have to see it). They all cost $16.99.

There was also one called the Huntington, model number 10130, that has an expandable (accordion-style) file section attached to the inside front cover. That in itself is remarkable, though bulky, but the most remarkable aspect is that the 3-ring binder mechanism can be removed from the cover.

Basically the 3-ring mechanism is attached to a board that slides into a vertical slot in the back cover. You can slide out the 3-ring binder mechanism on it's own and then fit it into another similarly-sized vertical slot of any other cover you like, as long as there is room for the binder mechanism. The inside diameter measurement of the rings is 5/8 of an inch. It's kind of small. This could meet the needs of the person who posted earlier in this thread looking for just the 3-ring binder mechanism. It's kind of pricey at $17.99, just for the mechanism, but may be worth it to someone.

I hope this helps...

There are alternatives to binders

Most of the binders available are too bulky and heavy. We need something nice and presentable to hold papers, but don't want to be carrying a huge brick of a thing made to last a hundred years and withstand being tossed around in a war zone (that's what I think of when I see those thick Franklin Covey binders). I finally got my planner spiral bound with a plastic front and back, but that isn't as flexible as a binder would be.

I've tried two alternatives that would provide the some of the flexibility of a binder without the bulk or the weight.

One is the acco fasteners that go through two holes--the two prongs that are held down by the fastener. They're normally used to bind papers into files, but there are also larger Acco binders that are used to bind computer printouts. I've been experimenting with the smaller ones but haven't worked it out yet. I cut down a paper folder with pockets and left a margin wide enough to fold around and cover the acco binders. I already had the two-hole punch so widely available in office supply stores--one of the problems with the various sizes of binders and the six-hole or seven-hole papers--seems to me that would be one advantage right there. I thought of this when I saw a photo album at Hobby Lobby that used this type of binder. The left-hand edges of the papers would show, and in my case they were messy-looking, and my pages were different colors. So I'd like to find a way to cover those edges. But otherwise I thought it would be an excellent compromise-- doing away with the weight of a leather or plastic binder but being flexible enough that you could move pages in and out, and the hole punch is very easily found anywhere--in the US, at least--I don't know if they're used overseas.

Then there are the posts used for photograph albums. They are also very flexible--maybe a little more fidgety to move papers in and out, because you'd have to unscrew the posts each time you made a change. And you could use whatever paper punch you had, so in that respect it would be very handy. I'd think they would be practical for two or three holes, but you wouldn't want to bother with more than that. But again, the edges of the papers would also not be covered and they could look messy.

I've cut sheets of plain paper down and bound them up with the acco fasteners, not actually in order to cover the edges of the paper, but to provide a label, so when I archive big binders full of paperwork I could label the edges with the dates they cover and re-use the three-ring binders.

The relative trouble of undoing the acco fasterers or the posts could be offset by making up or buying a pad-holder like the office supply stores sell for planner binders.

Things like this make me realize how ingenious someone was when they developed some of the tools we use every day. The three-ring binder does solve so many issues, but unfortunately it's heavy and bulky.

Of course, there are three-ring binders in the size you want that are attached to a plastic backing that slides into a slot pocket in a cover. You could take one of those out and get a cover made in a lighter material.

Another type of paper holder

Haven't seen one of these in years, but it made it fast and easy to add/remove papers cleanly.

Basically it was a (usually manila or slightly heavier) folder with a clamp device riveted to the back cover. There was a long metal 'foot' that ran along the left side of papers, maybe 3/4" wide by 9" long. It was hinged so it could be raised up. On top of it was a lever. When the end of the lever was tucked under a catch it put a fair bit of pressure on the foot to keep the pages securely trapped. Release the end of the lever and raise it and the foot lifted clear of the paper.

Anyway, it was great for rapid rearrangements of the contents -- lift lever, put pages in or out, lower lever. Mere seconds. And the paper was intact, no holes of any kind needed, so you no restrictions on what it held.

The only drawback was that the width of the notebook had to be slightly wider than the paper to allow room for the clamp.

Check out the binders

Check out the binders here:

I haven't ordered one yet, but they appear to offer a 1/2" capacity 8-1/2" by 5-1/2" notebook.
I'd be interested to know if anyone has ever ordered one of these before - I'm about to take the plunge because I'm tired of lurking in the planner section of office max & staples.


I did order two of these binders and they came yesterday.
They are exactly what I'd hoped for, very nice quality.
I'd recommend these binders.
I'm pretty sure the 1/2" capacity only comes with the see-through coating on the outside, but I plan to sew my own planner cover.

"but I plan to sew my own

"but I plan to sew my own cover..." any reccomendations for those of us who also wish to sew a cover for an 8.5 x 5.5 notebook? with zipper??? much thanks for any advice!

I was hoping there would be

I was hoping there would be a reply to this message. I've thought a lot about sewing my own planner cover. I thought I'd use a pieced cover, like a quilt top, in my favorite colors. Something not too detailed, and simple so it would stand up to handling. And with a light batting sewn in to give it a bit of padding, because that seems to make the fancy binders feel better to the touch. I was going to make mine to have slots to slip in the front and back covers of a standard binder.

But you could make the zipper covering by just sewing a zipper into two strips of fabric and then sewing the two strips of fabric to the front and back of the cover, kinda like making up a pillow cover.

Anyway, I finally came to the conclusion that I want quick access and light weight, and the cover would add to the weight, so I went with a spiral-bound diy planner. I've been really happy with it, and just plan a few changes for next time. Next year I'm going to personalize it with photos that I will have bound in and a nice photo of Texas bluebonnets for the cover page. And will have more blank and lined pages in the back for notes.

If anyone sews their own cover, it would be inspiring to see photos posted here.


AT-A-GLANCE Planner Organizer

Hi There!

I work at a small office supply store (Not the evil Staples empire)and am lucky enough to see the new stuff coming out before it hits the stores. This year AAG introduced a Classic size planner that I grabbed right away(#70-300-5). Its has a 3-ring binder section for your templates, etc, and a replacable calendar that folds out from the front (it's not bound in the rings). That way, you can have the calendar book open while you use the templates. A bit hard to explain, but the picture on thier website is pretty clear. It is only about 1" thick, simulated leather bound, 3/4" rings. I use a preprinted weekly calendar (classic size) since I see no point in printing templates and filling them in by hand. This was just the ticket for me Check it out!

AT-A-GLANCE Planner Organizer