Ever since I became involved with the Filofax community, I have been asked tons of questions about how to start with a Filofax or similar ring bound planner system! It’s such a complicated question, mostly because the experience of using a Filofax is so highly personalized, which is exactly why I like to use a Filofax over any other sort of planner system. You can set up a Filofax in an uncountable number of ways, whatever suits your needs. I will say, however, that there is a basic process that everyone can use to start themselves off with a new planner, and if you’re thinking about getting a Filofax and want a general idea of how to start personalizing your own experience, this should help!
1. Pick out a planner that suits you: Filofax has a number of planners in a variety of styles and sizes to suit a variety of needs. If you’re not sure where to start off, I would suggest a personal sized planner because it’s the most portable, but if you know you need tons of space to write and don’t have a problem with carrying around a larger planner, go with A5. Once you know what size planner you want, it’s up to you which style and color you choose, whether it be leather or cloth, a bright color or a neutral. That part is entirely up to you and your style!
2. Pick a calendar/diary refill: A new Filofax will come with a calendar/diary insert (different styles come with different layouts, so be sure to check which comes with yours) but if you want a specific layout you may need to buy it separately. There are all sorts of monthly calendars, weekly and even daily layouts available and if you would like the chance to try out one without committing to buying a refill pack, you can always check out the free printable diary refills from Philofaxy! Generally speaking, may people use a combination of a month on two pages calendar with a week on two pages in order to get a monthly view and a weekly view of their schedule, but if you have lots of to-do items that you need to schedule, you may require a day per page or a day in two pages layout! Make sure to check all available options to understand what’s available and how you could make use of each type.
3. Purchase refill scrap paper or to do lists: Like I said, Filofax planners come with a variety of paper already depending on the type of planner you buy, however, I love to find additional pads of paper to use as scrap paper in my planner since refills from Filofax are usually pretty expensive. Once you know the paper dimensions of the planner you are going to use, you can easily find notepads that are compatible with your planner. These may require you to do a little hole punching on your own, but I find the effort is always worth it because you save yourself money and open yourself up to a variety of different paper for your planner. I love scouring the Target dollar bins for paper pads, as they often have ones closely compatible with a personal sized Filofax that I can punch and use in my own planner!
4. Get yourself a nice pen: Technically, you don’t need any sort of fancy pen to use in a Filofax, however, many planner enthusiast prefer to use erasable ink pens in their planners in case they need to remove scheduled events or to do items. The Frixion Pen is a very popular option and comes in a variety of ink colors and pen sizes! I love the .38mm Frixion Slim Pen shown above!
5. Find yourself some decorative sticky notes and cute stationery accents: I love cute sticky notes, page markers and paper clips in my planner, although you can technically use any old stickies and clips! I find that with the variety of affordable decorative stationery available online and in craft and hobby shops, you can really personalize your planner to the next level with very little effort. Cute stationery extras are a simple way to keep yourself motivated to stay organized with a planner, while also playing a functional role in your planner system!
I hope these tips help you to get started with your first Filofax planner system! The sky is the limit with how you can set up your own planner and all the different additions and personalizations you can put into your planner to make it unique and functional for you. If you need more inspiration for starting your first planner, feel free to check out my Filofax and Planner series on my YouTube Channel where I show you my own planner set ups and hauls filled with different stationery and accents I use in my planners!