My DIY Planner

If you are one of my Facebook friends, you may have seen me mention that I recently made my own planner. I have tried many types of organization techniques (true confessions: I tend to get caught in organization when I should actually be DOING something. I am aware of it & I’m working on it! lol). I have tried the home management binder and while I like the idea of it, I never did have a good place for it. I have so little kitchen counter space that if I tried to use it for meal planning, I had no room to actually work in my kitchen. In my current space, it became impractical for day to day use, though I do keep it updated to use as a general family all-in-one-place info-station.

I was one of those types that spent the first days of a new college semester transferring all the assignments from each class syllabus, color coded by class subject, into my daily planner. I felt better if I could see all of the work in one place – I could see at a glance and plan ahead if I had a particularly busy week. Is that a control thing…? (don’t answer that)

Well, as I thought about staying home, focusing more on managing my household better while incorporating an at-home job, I started to dream about an all inclusive planner. Sure, the planners at the stores are pretty, but they rarely have all the features I want. As I googled “DIY Planner” I found all kinds of goodies. There are free templates of all kinds, some good forms & tools to make your own planner available on Etsy & so I made some purchases and got to work in Microsoft Publisher. Here’s what I used:

  • A grocery list, weekly student planner page, expense tracker, & horizontal filler page from Crown Bindery on Etsy. I purchased some other pages from her, but those are the ones I used. If you visit her store, she also has some accessories to make the outside of your planner and tabs.
  • I found the type of monthly calendar I wanted at It spreads across 2 pages.
  • The 2012 Motivated Moms Half-Size Chore Planner with Scheduled Bible Reading from the Motivated Moms Website.

So here’s where it gets a little “techy.” I took the .pdfs into Photoshop and cropped the two page spreads into single pages and saved them as high resolution .jpgs. I then opened a booklet template in Microsoft Publisher and placed in the document (does this classify as an illness?) I made two sections – a calendar section you are used to seeing in store-bought planners (the month overview with the weeks following for greater detail) and a home management section with an expense tracker and horizontal filler page to start each month, followed by each week’s Motivated Moms Cleaning Schedule facing a grocery list page (because you know how you are going about cleaning each room and you say to yourself, “AH! I need to pick this up next time I go to the store!” and then you never remember what this is when the time comes…?)

When everything was in it’s place, I wrote it all to a .pdf again and uploaded the very large document to From the website I was able to choose black & white, double sided printing, request they cut it in half and coil bind it after adding a black plastic back and clear front. I was pretty impressed with their speed and the quality of the paper (but then again I’m used to interacting with the least expensive, basic copy paper). I uploaded it late in the evening and it was ready the next morning! I grabbed some tabs and color coded the calendar-y part with pink and the home management part in green. I thought about merging both sections, but I worried that it would make using the calendar part a bit of a pain. In the end, everything’s in one place in a practical size that I can take with me anywhere!

So there you have it! Would you ever consider making your own planner? What would you include? What tools do you use to organize your family? I can’t wait to hear!


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