2016 Plum Paper Review: Who’s-Its and What’s-Its Galore
The first thing I notice about my 2016 Plum Paper planner is the satisfying flop it performs when I pull it out of the box. Like every notebook I picked out for grade school, it bends and pops with just a hint of attitude. The Plum Paper planner is the perfect weight: Solid, but not so heavy that carrying it around is uncomfortable, and it has just enough give to conform to the curve of my arms. It’s easy to imagine toting it around for the next 12 months.
I ordered the Vertical “Just Lines” weekly layout (it seemed to be the most moldable of the four options) and included the “My Home” add-on to enhance the organizational benefits of the planner. It’s reasonably priced ($31.00), and even the added pages cost a mere $4.50. The first run-through shows me a clean but colorful layout, bold organization for goal setting, and wide expanses of space for notes and thoughts.
This is a planner that will keep you organized and focused.
The thin, plastic cover is the whole reason the planner is such a manageable weight. Any thicker and it would feel like carrying around a brick. When I say thin, I mean thin. It rolls in half if you want it to, though that will damage it. Although I would be surprised to see the cover crack, it’s almost guaranteed to get scratched. That’s simply a risk you’ll run with this planner.
The biggest disappointment for me is the cover, but not because of the quality. Online, the gold arrow design I chose seemed to made of gold foil. It appears shiny and lustrous. In person, however, it’s less so. Instead, it’s a flat design. There’s no gold foil in sight and the matte finish doesn’t allow for any kind of sheen. It’s still a cute cover, don’t get me wrong. It just doesn’t have the oomph I was expecting.
All About That Paper Quality
When I opened the planner and ran my hands over the paper, I was instantly overcome with a need to keep caressing the pages, and maybe even rub my face on it. (Too far?) It’s glossy, silky even, and is clearly superior to all other paper.
After I was done gushing over the paper and went to write on it, I realized that not all pens would be compatible with its refined finish. Most specifically, the Pilot G-2 pens I love so much. They (and all other pens with a similar runny ink) smear something horrible. So that means that only the cheap ink pens you find on secretary desks are worry-free (shudder).
On the bright side, you can use Papermate’s felt-tipped pens on the page as long as you’re careful to not run your hands over the words for a few seconds. They dry quickly, are fluid enough to glide across the page, and the colors are a great complement to the colorful planner layout.
The best part of the Plum Paper planner is the spacious, clean layout that still has a little flair. All of the colors incorporated throughout the planner make it fun and bright, while the straightforward layout lends a sense of focus and direction.
This focus and direction is supported by the monthly highlights page at the start of each month. Here, you can write down your three goals for the month, birthdays, events, and things to remember. Next to each highlight page is a full notes page for you to use for whatever you need, and there’s also a notes page at the end of each month. I’ve never had a planner with so many notes pages. You won’t have to be stingy with your space or nitpick what you jot down. This is a major plus.
After the monthly highlights page, you have a monthly calendar with two vertical columns for tasks. Plum Paper included national holidays in the calendar and the dates from the previous month and the month to come. This makes each month page even more useful than a typical month calendar.
The weekly vertical “Just Lines” layout is the calling card for this planner. I chose this layout because the columns for each day can be used however I need them to be. Since there aren’t hourly slots, the space can be used for appointments and scheduling, as well as for tasks to complete, things to remember, or even fun little quotes. You can be limitlessly creative with it in a way that an hourly schedule wouldn’t allow. As Mean Girls taught us, the limit doesn’t exist.
There’s a three-item checklist at the bottom of each day’s column for you to make note of the most important things for that day. This is a beneficial feature because it helps you maintain that focus for your three monthly goals. On the left-hand side of the two-page weekly spread, there’s a 10-item Weekly Checklist and Notes rectangle. This space is perfect for aligning your weekly tasks and plans with your monthly goals so you’re productive and focused on your goals. Every inch of the weekly layout is used. There’s not one bit of wasted space to distract you or keep you from using your planner to its maximum potential.
I’ve only noticed one issue with the vertical layout: The column width. The column width is determined by the size of the planner, and the planner is a great size, but narrow columns can be a problem for anyone who writes in huge bubble letters the way I do. This narrowness becomes less of a problem with the “Just Lines” layout I chose since there’s nothing preventing me from writing one item across multiple lines., but the layout with time slots would be much harder to spatially manage.
Plum Paper offers multiple add-on options for their planners. Everything from a home organization section, to fitness tracking and blog planning, to baby planning, is available for inclusion. I went with the My Home add-on because it provides pages for tracking chores, budget, to-dos, shopping lists, gift buying, monthly goals, passwords and usernames, monthly expenses, and even memory recordings. It’s expansive to say the least.
Things to Remember
The “Things to Remember” section starts off the add-on. There are five pages for you to write down quotes, unforgettable moments from the year, and milestones for you and your family. It’s a very sentimental section that might be fun and important to some people, but not so much for me.
Celebrating these things is cool, but I’d just rather write about in my journal. However, it does add an emotional aspect to the planner that turns it into more of a keepsake.
Plum Paper created a chart for bill tracking, and there are two included in this add-on. In the chart, you can write down the bill, how much it is, what date it’s due each month, and then you check off each month it’s been paid. There’s more than enough room to track your bills for the entire year, unless you have an insane amount of credit card bills (no judgment).
Monthly Cleaning List
After your bill tracker, there’s a chart for your monthly cleaning list. The chart is almost identical to the bill tracker. In each row, you put down the cleaning task, and then check off when it’s completed each month. With a chart like this to keep you accountable, there’s no reason to neglect your housework or “forget” about it. It’s both beautiful and terrifying, amirite?
The four to-do list pages are, frankly, the bee’s knees.The chart has columns to write down the task, check it off, jot down notes for it, and log the start and end date. If you have a lot of large projects going on, then these pages will be irreplaceable for you. It’s a great way to quickly glance over the things you have going on so you know what your timeline is for each task.
Plum Paper knows how much their customers (aka me) love to shop, so they included four shopping lists in the My Home add-on. You can write the item you need to purchase, where it’s from, how much it is, and whether or not you need or want it. I love the need/want column because it encourages me to consider if I actually need to purchase something. These pages can make a big difference in how you prioritize spending.
Following the shopping lists are two gift lists. These are much like the shopping lists, but also include columns for the recipient of the gifts, and instead of need/want check circles, there are circles to check off wrapping and giving.
There’s also a page to track your recurring monthly goals and check them off each month, similar to the monthly cleaning chart. This can be used to make sure you save a certain amount of money each month, read a certain number of books, or any other recurring goal. A chart like this is great for showing you how consistent you are on a grander scale.
The My Home add-on also includes practical passwords and important contacts pages for you to glance at as needed. One of the most expansive and useful of the add-on sheets is a monthly expenses report. For each month, you log your income, expenses, money given, savings, and debt, and there are three blank rows for you to fill in with any other categories you need to be aware of. You also have room to jot down notes for each category. If tracking your finances on a large scale is difficult or overwhelming, then this grid can be particularly useful.
The My Home section ends with the blank note pages, free from lines, that are perfect doodling or outlining things, and a page to record special dates for each month.
In addition to the My Home add-on, I elected to order sticker sheets to use in the Plum Paper planner. The stickers are blank rectangles and come in eight different colors. They’re the same width as the vertical columns in the weekly layout, so they fit perfectly among the days, and can also be used in the monthly calendar. You can use them to highlight appointments, birthdays, work projects, etc., and since there are eight different colors, you can also use them to color code.
Is Plum Paper the right planner for you?
It’s a versatile planner, especially when you get the Just Lines weekly layout. It’s well worth the money.
Overall, this planner and the Just Lines layout is perfect for women who need to manage more than simply themselves. If you have kids, or even just a significant other, then Plum Paper has the extras you need for tracking everyone’s schedules and making sure the housework is being done and the bills are paid.
With this much space, this planner is great for college students, too. You can jot down homework for the day, classes, meetings, campus events, and work, and still have room to spare.
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What’s your favorite thing about Plum Paper? Comment below!
Last modified on June 1st, 2017