Welcome to the dynamic and sometimes overwhelming realm of planners—a space where the vast array of sizes and formats can make even the most decisive individuals scratch their heads in bewilderment!
Fear not, for I am here to navigate you through this labyrinth, helping you uncover the planner options that seamlessly integrate into your lifestyle. The quest can seem intimidating, with new sizes cropping up all the time, alongside many formats, including ring-bound, string-tied, disc-bound, spiral, and more. My aim is to simplify the process of choosing your planner refills, providing you with a directional guide, albeit not an exhaustive one, to every planner size and format out there.
Planner Styles Explained
Let’s dive into the most prevalent planner styles or formats. Planners come in several forms: ring binders, notebooks, disc-bound, spiral-bound, and hardcovers. We’ll leave digital planning aside for now, as it diverges from the tangible, paper-based planning we’re focusing on.
Consider your planner’s intended use. Do you value the ability to customize, shuffle pages, and rearrange sections as your priorities evolve? Or perhaps the convenience of a portable, nearly complete planner outweighs all else? Pondering these questions will help you zero in on the most suitable system for you before you even think about size. Yes, things may get a tad messy!
In essence, the main distinction between planner styles is how the paper connects to the planner itself. Let’s explore each style to see which piques your interest.
These are pre-punched paper inserts designed to fit into a binder with a specific ring mechanism, which may feature 3, 6, 7, or more rings, depending on the brand—with six being the most common. The spacing between the rings typically correlates with the size of the inserts; smaller inserts tend to have no gap between rings, while larger ones do. This spacing prevents interchangeability between different-sized binders.
Ring inserts offer flexibility for those who like to swap pages or reorganize their planners. Installation is a breeze—just open the rings, set the inserts in place, and close. They are ideal for customization aficionados, with a multitude of available accessories like pouches, dividers, and dashboards.
Popular sizes include A5, Personal, and Pocket, and they can vary in price. Some of my preferred binders come from brands such as Filofax, Louis Vuitton, and kikki.K.
These are stapled or hand-stitched booklet refills that slip into covers secured by elastic bands. Despite “Traveler’s Notebook” being a brand, it’s now a catch-all term for any notebook held by elastics.
While it’s preferable to use a cover, these notebooks are bound and can be carried as is. This format offers portability and consolidation of planning materials into one booklet. However, the drawback is the lack of reconfigurability—you can’t remove or add pages. However, if you opt for a cover, you can incorporate a degree of customization by including multiple booklets.
Covers for these notebooks are made from materials like leather or fabric, with sizes often named after the dimensions of the inserts they accommodate, or sometimes by a numerical sizing system. Always check product listings for size specifics if you’re unsure.
These planners are bound by plastic or metal coils and are a common starting point for many due to their comprehensive features. They often include monthly and weekly layouts, notes sections, and a variety of pages to get you started. Customization is limited since pages can’t be readily added or removed.
Similar to ring binders, disc-bound planners use discs to hold punched paper in place. They offer a high level of customization and are perfect for those who love decorating their planners. Disc systems are durable, but frequently moving pages can wear out the punch stems over time.
These planners, with either soft or hardcovers, are akin to traditional books and don’t allow for page removal or addition. They offer various sizes and designs but are limited in personalization options.
Choosing the Right Size
Once you’ve selected a format, size is your next consideration. Think about whether you need something portable or if a larger, desk-bound planner suits your needs better. Assess your activity level—more events require more planning space—and don’t forget to factor in your handwriting size.
While I’ve discussed ring and notebook insert sizes, I haven’t charted sizes for spiral, hardbound, or disc-bound planners due to the sheer variety available, and because we don’t create designs for those we’re unfamiliar with.
One Critical Note for Ring Binder Users
So, you’ve chosen your ideal ring binder. Next, you’re looking to infuse it with your personality through additional calendars or functional designs. Here’s an essential tip: Please measure the inserts you already have in your ring binder before ordering new ones. If you don’t yet have your binder or it never came with inserts, reach out to the manufacturer for the correct refill size. Accurate measurements are crucial—more so than simply buying by name. Since our establishment in 2014, we’ve adhered to the naming conventions of major manufacturers. Even if new players in the market use different names for sizes, we remain consistent with our original terminology. To help avoid common ordering mistakes, check out our blog post that discusses issues often encountered with Personal and A6 size rings.
The best approach? Start with a search by name, then zero in on the precise measurements. It’s also vital to ensure you’re getting the right format. Many sizes come in varying formats—for instance, the A5 size is available in both ringed inserts and notebook refills. We at CityGirl Planners always clarify the format in the product title and description, sometimes in both. Remember, these formats are not interchangeable, and dimensions may differ within the same name category, as seen with the Pocket size.
For quick and easy navigation, our website’s menu bar will guide you straight to the format and size you’re after. Ring sizes? Look under ‘Planner Refills‘. For disc-bound options, head to the same refills section. All sizes and punches can be selected from the drop-down menus in each listing. And if our CityGirl Spiral line is what you need, simply click on ‘Spiral Planners‘ for a variety of add-ons, interchangeable covers, and diverse design formats. Hovering over these options will reveal the sizes available for each format—effortless and straightforward.
Why Opt for CityGirl Planners?
At CityGirl Planners, we are driven by a passion for crafting functional pages that help bring order and creativity to both our lives and those of our customers. Our designs are clean, contemporary, and practical, allowing you to curate a planner that truly meets your needs.
Who says you have to conform to our aesthetic? With CityGirl Planners, you have the canvas to express yourself. Feel like splashing bold colors across your week? Or perhaps you’re in the mood for understated neutrals? Or maybe simplicity is your ultimate sophistication? With us, you can have it all. Because what’s the point of a planner if it doesn’t resonate with your inner spirit? We want your planner to be a source of inspiration, a tool that helps you live, breathe, and flourish in your daily planning journey.
With a rich catalog featuring over 300 designs across various binding formats, our mission is to simplify your life by making your planner unmistakably you. If navigating our offerings presents any challenges, or if you have questions about which planner would best suit you, please reach out to us. We’re here to assist and would be thrilled to hear from you!