Every planner eventually develops a set of favorite planner tools. Just like any hobby, as you start to use things and add stuff to your planner stash, you eventually figure out what works best for your style. So, full disclaimer, this is what works best for me. These are the tools that I reach for frequently.
So what are the necessary planner tools?
All the stickers and stamps and inks and pens are cool and fun. Most of it isn’t really necessary, though. When it comes right down to it, you only absolutely have to have two planner tools: your planner, and one pen.
It doesn’t have to be a brush pen, or a fountain pen, or a photo-safe-archival-marker-proof pen. Just any old pen will do.
What would you miss most?
So, if I had to start all over again from scratch, what would I buy right away? I narrowed it down to two things.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I print my own planner pages. I haven’t found a pre-printed planner layout that I really like, so I just made my own in MS Publisher. That means that I have to trim and punch the pages myself.
For the first year or so, I used a one-hole punch, a template and a pencil. This method was slow and didn’t always produce the most uniform pages. I waffled on the idea of buying a planner punch for about nine months.
For one thing, my planner is a Carpe Diem A5 planner from Simple Stories, and their planner punch falls into the, “cute, but not $30 cute,” category. Silly me. It’s a standard six-ring A5 planner. What happens when something is sized to the, “standard?” Other products, including store brands (*cough*Recollections*cough*) fit. And craft stores, like, say, Michaels, usually have 50%-off coupons.
I should have bought the Recollections punch months before I broke down and bought it. It’s durable, and the holes fit any standard A5 planner.
The other tool that I would replace immediately if it broke is my corner-rounding punch. Full disclaimer #2: I found mine on clearance at Walmart for about $2.50. I don’t know why it was on clearance – Fiskars is still rolling them off the assembly line. And it’s a workhorse punch.
I just like the look of rounded corners. They make the pages look more put-together. Like a smart accessory can make the whole outfit look polished, same with the rounded corners.
What planner tools inspire you?
Good, quality image stamps. I can build whole layouts around the Deep Red stamps I’ve acquired. They’re a little-known gem. The images are intricately cut, they’re affordable, and they come in a wonderous variety.
Another tool that inspires me (although my accountant-side cringes at calling anything consumable a, “tool”) is a good brush pen. The Tombow mono pens are my favorites. It’s easy to get started with a decent set because Tombow sells them in sets. After a while, though, you get tired of the same black pen in every set, so I think I’ll start buying them individually.
I’m also really loving Distress Oxides and Ranger Archival Minis for my planner. Now, I’ve only just bought my second Distress Oxide (Cracked Pistachio), but… Broken China was THE BOMB in my January planner. And if you’ve ever used Distress Oxides, you know how versatile they are.
The Ranger Archival Minis give me the freedom to add other water-based mediums to my planner spreads because they’re permanent. Distress Inks and Distress Oxides? Not so much. Those inks are supposed to react to water, so that’s something you have to keep in mind when using them.
What planner tools make your life easier?
First, matching dies for my planner frame stamps. I bought both the Basic Tabs and the More Tabs sets from Sweet Stamp Shop, then I bought the matching dies. I shoulda bought the dies from the beginning! I die-cut a few pieces of sticker paper (or address label paper, in my case), stamp it, and stash it in my planner for when I need to cover something up on the spot. LOVE IT!
I appreciate a good set of alphabet stamps. The days of the week and the section headers are nice, but none of them have the versatility of alphas. Of course, they don’t take as long to stamp a phrase as alphas do, but there are trade-offs to everything.
Lastly, I love a good stamp cleaning cloth. I use the Stamp Shammy from Lawn Fawn, but any chamois cloth would work. There are also a few other materials out there that hold water pretty well and are good for cleaning stamps without having to worry if they contain alcohol (like some baby wipes).
Tell me about your favorite planner tools in the comments below, or hit me up on Instagram.
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I have a whole collection of posts about planners and planning. You should check them out!