Planner Review Planners

Planner Review #8: Plum Paper

December 18, 2018

Whew!  We are in the home stretch of these reviews, but I really want to get them all out before planner shopping season is entirely over (and honestly, we are getting down to the wire here!).  When I set out to do these reviews, I was so excited to receive all of these planners that I didn’t think very hard about what I would do with all of them.  I clearly can’t use 10 planners (though it’s tempting), but I’ve decided that I really need to write in them to take halfway decent/interesting photos so I’m not sure anyone would want them as giveaways with my faux planning inside!  So . . . they may become Annabel’s new journals.  Ha!

This is the 3rd very customizable planner up for review in this series (previous: #3 Golden Coil and #5 Agendio).  Therefore, this is just one iteration of what you can do on the Plum Paper site!  Their planners come in multiple sizes (A5, 7″ x 9″, and 8.5″ x 11″) and formats, and you get to really get in and customize what is on the pages!  I wouldn’t say it’s quite as flexible as the Agendio (not sure anything is unless you’re drawing it yourself . . . ) but there are quite a few details you can control.

I decided to create a 7″ x 9″ using the “Me Planner” vertical format (but again — if you browse, you will note that this is just one possibility out of many!).  You get to select a cover and add initials or customization if you would like, and I chose this colorblock theme theme that may not be the most professional, but it did make me think of the ’80s and I enjoyed that 🙂

The book is about the size and heft of my ECLP.  There is a clear plastic cover over the custom paper cover, which gives it a nice look.  I could also see putting some photos or other handwritten touches between the two sheets for a craftier look.


There very pretty rainbow-colored tabs showing each month, and they seem reasonably sturdy – no bendable cardboard here.


Now to the meat of this planner!  Each month includes a goals page, where you choose your top 3 and can add other upcoming highlights for the month.  I love an effective monthly header page, and I liked the layout of this one.  The only con is that they are made of shiny paper that seems extremely smudge-prone.  I used a ballpoint pen and avoided this fate (which I absolutely detest in a mildly obsessive sort of way).


Then, there is a blank page with the month’s title on it — you could use this for anything!  I designed a habit tracker just for show, but this could be a meal plan, workout tracker, reading log, work calendar, etc.


Then, we have traditional monthly pages.  I like the column with tasks on the left.


Here’s the customized “Me” layout!  It includes a weekly task lists and then boxes for each day — and you get to choose the category names.  You can click to zoom in if you’d like!  I chose AM, PM, Work, Home, Side, Eat, Workout.  I’ve seen some people put each kid’s name on the side to track all of the activities, or you could use it for blocks of time.
Finally, I added a big fat notes section — that way the back could be a giant bullet-journal-like notebook, integrated right into the planner (as some of you are aware, I use an ‘accessory notebook’ to keep all kinds of lists and usually it’s a separate little book, but this would serve the purpose without the need for an extra item).


Again this is just one of many possible add-ons – there are all sorts of other options, including preprinted fitness pages, financial trackers, dispersed notes pages (ie add a page each month!), and even bound sticker sheets.
A password tracker is included.  I’m not going to admit to storing passwords on paper (not the most secure, I realize), but . . . it’s possible that I do this for some things.


There’s a convenient holiday listing too, with major US, Christian, and Jewish holidays.  It would be nice if this were customizable too for those with other traditions/from other countries!


Finally, there is a back pocket which is quite handy (so you could keep an additional notebook if you wanted . . . or stickers . . . etc).


With all of these features, the Plum Paper is at an impressive price point too.  While the cost is going to vary (due to the customization), you can get a lot for under $40.  They also have a referral program for $10 discounts if you refer a friend.
I will be honest: I came close to deciding to actually use this as my main planner for 2019, which is saying something!
Have any of you used Plum Paper before?  Has anyone not secured their 2019 system yet?  It’s definitely time!!
Happy Tuesday – I am done with all call for 2018!  I am proud to say I completed this past week with a minimum of angst/stress despite it being fairly busy.  Not entirely sure why, but hopefully I can build on this success in future call weeks.


  • Reply Danielle March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    I ordered my Plum planner today. My only complaint is that I could’ve added more pages! I did the large one so I might customize a small one as like a companion planner. I’m really excited about this one. I’ve used a Hobonichi Techo Cousin for three years, but I’m ready for a change and I loved having so much control over putting the planner together!

    Also since I ordered late and it shouldn’t arrive til mid January, I appreciated being able to choose to make the planner Feb 19′ – Feb 20′. I’m not paying for unusable pages and my birthday is in Feb, so I’ll consider it a birthday year instead of a calendar year.

    One last thing, I thought about a theme for 2019. Not by choice, but I’d say 2018’s theme ended up being "Survival". I want to thrive next year. I’m also working to simplify many aspects of my life. So the text that I chose for the cover of my Plum planner and 2019’s theme is "Thrive in Simplicity".

  • Reply Kelsey March 10, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    Did you settle on the Hobonichi for your 2019 planner? Also what resources or tips do you have for a person beginning to start being organized/goal setting?

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:05 pm

      Hi kelsey- narrow down your question for me! What do you find most challenging? And yes … I will be going back to the Hobonichi. There are so many options and I love so many, but the Hobonichi just feels the most like ME!

      • Reply Kelsey March 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

        I guess tips on setting goals/tracking them. And scheduling. Do you use the weekly view or monthly view for some things? Daily to do lists by category or priority? Do you schedule event hour?

  • Reply Arden March 10, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    I”m dying for a goal planning session Sarah!!! Don”t make us wait until 2019. You always inspire me to do my own.

    Love the planner series!

  • Reply Linda March 10, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    I ordered an ECLP after you reviewed it. I told my husband he could give it to me for Christmas so I haven’t seen it yet since it arrived. I can’t wait to start my planning!

  • Reply FEB March 10, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    I love planners and came across you from Laura Vanderkam’s page and BoBW. I’m pretty dedicated to my ink+volt planner, but admit this one got me. You may have converted me. I ordered one and may try both at the beginning of the year to figure out which i like best.

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

      Oh wow – it’s so interesting to see how some planners just FIT with some people! I hope you love the Plum Paper – maybe next year I’ll review Ink + Volt!

  • Reply Margaret March 10, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    I ended up going with a Plum planner for 2019. I had a passion planner for 2018 and I did time tracking for about 1/2 the year. I realized I don’t really need/want the hour-by-hour but just a chance to write down what I did in general. It’s more an exercise in being conscientious and listing ‘to do’. I actually started mine in December so I could get going! I went with the horizontal version but now I’m wondering if the ‘me’ would have worked. I *loved* the grid layouts but sadly the ‘full week grid’ option wasn’t truly a full week. As someone who doesn’t work M-F days I HATE planners that box either the day of week or time of day into a less important space. Equal hours, equal space!

    Do you carry your planner around? It feels big by the time I did 13 months and some addins but it also seems silly to have a planner and not have it with you… hmmm.

  • Reply Kristi March 10, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    Oh I”m loving these planner reviews! I used Inkwell press for 2018, and I really liked it. I bought the Plum Paper for 2019 a few months ago, anxious to start using it. I really like how customizable it is, and added several of the extra sections- fitness, home, meals, and there are more options as you mentioned. Also there is the option to add extra note pages dispersed throughout, for example after each month which is nice. The planner is a bit thick with all the extras, but with that I”m hoping to eliminate the need for the extra notebook.

  • Reply rose March 10, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    Love your family posts but am simply overwhelmed with appreciation for the planner reviews! I have never quite gotten into an organized planner but just reading these reviews I have learned a huge amount about their use and am seeing how the right one would be a massive help even to my quiet retired life. For a long time, because I no longer work for money or wrangle children, I didn’t see how a planner would be useful…. your reviews are changing my opinion and seeing the range of options and uses…. well. THANK YOU in caps for emphasis.
    I don’t often comment but also wanted to wish you and yours (and your commenters) a wonderful holiday season, a glorious new year’s celebration (with SLEEP) and a hopeful new year with love, laughter and joy the prevailing themes. Best wishes for your move!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

      That is such a lovely comment! Thank you so much!!!!

  • Reply Callie March 10, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    Just out of curiosity, have you ever tried using electronic planners/calendars? How do you feel about them? I also HAVE to have everything written down (or I’d completely lose track of my life!), but I use almost exclusively electronic to-do lists and calendars. The convenience of always having the information at my fingertips (without having to lug paper around!) just tends to outweigh anything else for me.

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

      I use:
      – google calendar (for shared events w/ my husband primarily, and any entry that involves me goes into paper too)
      – outlook calendar at work (BUT I also write down anything I’m actually committed to going to in my paper planner)
      – notes app for capturing random thoughts/etc on my phone (transferred to planner/bujo if I want it long term

      And I’ve done plenty of searching for bits of info in gmail too! I love that we have all of these backup electronic methods but I feel best when I have a MASTER LIFE GUIDE (ie planner) on paper 🙂

  • Reply Emily March 10, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    Love your planner reviews and getting a sneak peak at how you keep so organized. My question is, your planner always looks so neat and nice. What do you do if an event is cancelled/changed? With my kids’ schedules, husband’s schedule, and my own to-do’s being in my planner, things are constantly in flux and my paper planner ends up looking like a mess of scratch-outs and arrows! It makes me crazy!!! I like to use pens, as I think you do to. Do you use white-out?! If you could answer on the podcast or as a reply here I would be so appreciative. Thanks!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:05 pm

      Happens ALL the time to me, too! I just neatly cross out with a straight line and write the change under it. This is probably one reason I like extra space (I don’t want to ‘cram in’ things!). Like i already have something in January where I draw an arrow and wrote "moved" and then underneath that wrote another arrow that said "never mind, back on!"

  • Reply gwinne March 10, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    Did I tell you I love these planner reviews? I also really love the layout of the Plum Planner, but for me, the coil is the boundary I will not cross.

    I ended up getting the Commit 30; it’s not quite as pretty as the others in terms of design elements, but reasonable enough. The one major downside for me is the categories in the big circles in the year planning sheet; there are some (like friends/family) I’d want to break in two, and others I won’t use at all. I imagine other people are similar. Now I just need a day to plan 🙂

    Best wishes on the move. I think you’ll be happier in your own space once things are settled!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

      Thank you Gwinne! Coils are hit or miss for me. I don’t hate them; I’d rather not have them, though! I hope you end of loving the Commit30! You’ll have to find a creative way (? washi tape?) to relabel the categories!!

  • Reply Tamara March 10, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    Hi! Long time reader and listener- was just going to say that I’m sure a lot of people would love to have a ‘used’ planner because I’m sure you are probably only writing on a few pages that can be easily ripped out. I personally would have no problem with that, but actually live out of the US so it wouldn’t be an option for me, but maybe others. Also, by sharing them with readers/ listeners, you can help out the brands that gifted them to you! Just an idea, though I’m sure Annabel is also enjoying them 🙂

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

      Ooh, very good to know! Hopefully I’m helping the brands a bit anyway since I know at least a few people buy their own after reading this 🙂

      Which country do you live in? If it’s not tooooo ridiculous I could potentially send you the Plum Paper one if you are interested!

      I am going to do a giveaway of the Amelia Lane planners (next review) b/c they sent not one but FOUR!

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.