My DIY Planner (with free Printables)

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
Benjamin Franklin 

(can I get an AMEN?!)

It took me many years and a lot of failing before I actually figured out that I needed a plan to manage my time.  As a stay at home mom, I would find that I would not do everything I needed to get done on a daily basis in a timely manner.  I was always getting off track, and before I knew it the towels weren’t folded and it was time to get the kids from school.  As a former school teacher, I found that my classroom was always organized but my home was always in disarray.  THEN…It dawned on me one day that at school I carried out my day according to my lesson plans.  In college student teachers despise the detail and wording of lessons plans but in the everyday reality of my own classroom, it was my savior. 

I have always had a fascination with planners (and all school/office supplies).  I have owned several Franklin-Covey Planners over the years, but always felt like I was only using them for the calendar and address book.  I never used them to their full potential because so much of the planner did not really apply to me.  Not to mention they were expensive.

I have also tried the Palm Pilot PDA thing but could never get the hang of it.  AND the calendar and notes on my iPhone….use it for a while but ended up accidentally deleting everything from it. 

That was when I thought I better go back to writing down everything on paper.  I used a cheap journal from Dollar General to keep track of my monogram jobs and another one for my grocery list.  The small journal type books that could fit in my purse seemed to work well for me.  That is when I started using my grocery list journal to make my daily to do list. Last year around the holidays, I had a weeks worth of to do’s written in it as well as my Christmas list of gifts for everyone. Although everything was in my journal, it was a bit unorganized.  I knew there had to be a better way.  I searched planners and found a lot that were very appealing to me, but again they had a lot of stuff in them that did not apply to my life….and they were very expensive.   

Basically I needed a calendar overview, a grocery list, a daily “to do list”, a holiday menu planner, a gift idea list, a username and password list, and an area for notes (it is in the section of the notes where I keep addresses and notes of important phone calls). I knew that the only way I was going to get what I needed was to create what I needed.  Besides…..I thrive on the challenge of DIY. 

So……I went to Target and bought myself a 5 1/2 x 8×1/2 binder, dividers, a calendar for the small binder and note paper for it.  I then created the other inserts I needed in my Microsoft Office Publisher.  As you can see in the picture below, my binder has a sleeve on the cover so I was able to personalize an insert using my Photoshop program and cardstock. 


I created my inserts in a landscape format  so I can have two copies printed on one sheet of paper. (see pictures below)  I then used my paper cutter to cut them in half (at 5 1/2) so they would fit into my small binder.  I adjusted my hole punch to fit the smaller sized binder.  The great part is that I can print my pages from my own computer as I need them. 

I share with you my inserts. Please feel free to print them as often as you need them.   I hope my simple format can help someone else manage their time.  I do not have copies of the calendar or the note pages since those were purchased from Target in the stationary section. 

Here is my Grocery List.  Notice across the top I have the days of the week for a quick glance of meal planning. 

To print your own copy, click here. Grocery List

Here is my Daily To Do List.  Notice that I have a weekly menu across the top for meal planning. Yes, I duplicate it on my grocery list and weekly to do.   I also added a small column for a quick view at appointments.  I fit all I needed for a week into one page.  I figure I can save paper this way.  I hope my simple format will benefit some of you. 

To print your own copy, click here:  Weekly To Do List

If you are like me, you try to use the same usernames and passwords for sites.  However, this is not always the safest practice nor is it even possible on some sites.  I am constantly forgetting them.  Here is a chart for sites, usernames and passwords.

To print your own copy, click here: Usernames Passwords

The next two copies will help you stay organized during the hectic holiday season.  Whether the meal planning is for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mardi Gras (in my neck of the swampland, we gather for parades with food and spirits…lots of spirits), Easter or the Fourth of July this meal planning list will help you stay organized.  Come to think of it, it will work for birthday celebrations too.  


The gift planning will work great for birthdays too. 

To print your own copies of the Meal Planning and Gift Planning, click here:

Holiday Meal Planning

Holiday Gift Planning

I use my dividers to divide my binder in the different sections suited for my pages.  I use colorful pens and washi tape to give my planner a splash of fun. 

If you’d like me to design a personalized insert for your binder, please email me.  I can send you an invoice for 6.50 via PayPal and together we can design a personalized cover insert for you to print for your binder.   I can email you a jpeg copy of it.  You can print it on your own computer or at copy store. 


“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

Benjamin Franklin 



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