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You say, “Planner stickers?”
I say, “Are you in elementary school? No? Then back up with that sticker sheet.”
As a seasoned planner user, I have major issues with excessive use of stickers. I can see the appeal for the creative types (it essentially turns your planner into a scrapbook), but it drives me nuts to see planners used this way. Call me old school, but I think a planner should only hold your schedule, to-do list, and random notes you need to keep track of. I’m cool with color coding this information, but I’m not cool with decorative stickers.
I want to clarify what I mean by “decorative stickers.” These are the stickers that don’t actually serve a functional purpose, but instead are just cute or pretty or colorful. Hearts, animals, quotes, and the like all fall into this category. I don’t consider truly helpful stickers, like the ones by Erin Condren, Emily Ley, and Inkwell, to be superfluous. Those stickers help you draw attention to important appointments, holidays, and tasks (although they come with their own set of drawbacks). Stickers that serve no true purpose other than to assault your retinas and make it difficult to read a planner, however, are on my list of things to send to the depths of Tartarus.
This is my argument against sticker carnage.
1. It’s Not What the Planner Gods Intended
I don’t understand how a planner covered in stickers helps you tackle your day. How can you write anything down when 75% of the page is covered in garish cartoons? You’re paying for an efficient layout when you buy a planner. Sticking words, washi tape, and little images all over that layout defeats the purpose of buying the planner in the first place.
If you want to decorate, why not buy a real scrapbook or one of those cheap little sticker books kids go gaga over? Use your planner as it’s intended. (Hint: it’s to keep track of your schedule and to-do list so you can be a productive person.) Sticker carnage doesn’t improve your focus or productivity. It only distracts you from the important information you need to see. What are you going to do if you’ve covered the entire week with stickers and then learn you need to schedule in several appointments? It’s impossible to write these appointments down when there’s no room left.
Using stickers to make my planner “pretty” simply makes no sense to me. I don’t want bright images to be the first thing I see each day. Marked-off check boxes and a clear schedule are what I want to see when I flip that sucker open.
2. Zero Flexibility
Stickers do just that – stick. They aren’t going to move around with you, which removes them from the “functional” category. I know that it can be nice to have a pretty blue sticker reading “8 a.m. coffee with Jane” amongst all of the random things you have to write down. However, that sticker is not going to seem so amazing when Jane asks if you can move coffee to next week. That sticker cannot move with the changes. So it’s going to sit there in your way, and that’s a major waste of space.
I know just how irritating it is to have a once-helpful sticker sit in your planner all week long. You can’t white out a sticker, and you can’t scratch it out. This is particularly troublesome when you have a lot of stuff to write down and could use that space productively. If I become that irritated about a defunct sticker that was actually useful at one point, I truly don’t comprehend how anyone can stand to have stickers of clowns and clouds all over their planner just for fun.
3. Stickers + Washi Tape = $$$
I hear that decorating with stickers is addictive, which means you’ll be buying multiple sheets of stickers often. That $10 might not seem like a huge splurge the first time, but if you’re going just once a month for new stickers you’ll spend $120 by the end of a year. And that’s only if you keep it at $10 once a month—but let’s also not forget that your planner already cost anywhere from $20-$60 dollars.
We should also address the fact that there’s a low chance you’ll use every sticker in a sheet. Everyone knows that sticker sheets are bound to have at least two ugly stickers included. Before you even realize it, you’ll have a stack of only partially used sticker sheets an inch thick clogging your desk drawers.
Stickers are like the gateway drug of crafts, too. First, you start out with the stickers, and then you’re also addicted to washi tape. It’s an unavoidable progression I hear; and one roll one time seems cheap, but you won’t be able to stop at just one. You’re not going to buy only one roll of washi tape. You’re going to buy several so you can change it up.
As if the store aisles devoted to stickers and washi tape weren’t enough, there’s also a subscription box for the truly obsessed. For $15 a month, The Planner Addict Box will send you a box full of stickers, tape, and other planner accessories you don’t actually need. Since it’s a subscription box you don’t actually have any control over what you receive and might entirely hate every item inside it. If that happens, you’ve wasted 15 bucks and will have to buy some you do like in order to get your fix. Dear lord, this cycle is never ending.
I’m sorry, but I’d rather keep all of that money to use somewhere else—like, I don’t know, groceries.
4. Decorating With Stickers = Waste of Time
I’m always puzzled as to how someone has the time to decorate planners extensively. I barely have time to wash my hair every three days; I sure don’t have a spare hour to place stickers around my planner each day. I know that it’s kind of like a hobby, but it’s not a hobby that teaches you anything or makes you a more well-rounded person. Decorating your planner is simply a time-suck.
If you peruse through planner images on Instagram you’ll see many comments stating the owner “didn’t have time to decorate this week,” but will make up for it soon. The stickers have become so addicting for some that they feel guilty over not covering every spare inch in decor. That’s not important enough to warrant any kind of guilty feelings.
Instead of mauling your totally perfect-as-is planner with stickers, you could use that time to be creative in another way. For example, you could paint, draw, make pottery, or do really any other hobby in the world, and it would be a more beneficial creative outlet than planner decorating.
5. One Word: Clutter
No, they really do. Stickers masquerade as joy-inducing, life-organizing accessories. In reality, they steal any chance you have of receiving happiness from your planner. This is because stickers demand space in your planner, and the space is intended to be used for your schedule and to-do list. Without that space, there’s no room for your schedule and tasks to be recorded and tracked, which means you won’t receive the thrill of marking off tasks throughout the day.
As any planner lover knows, the best part of having a planner is being able to write down tasks and then check them off as soon as they’re completed. It makes you feel productive, motivated, and energized. It makes you want to keep plucking away. How can expect to enjoy that feeling when your entire planner is covered in stickers rather than the important information?
6. Too Much Baggage
It’s hard enough to tote a planner around all day. Sometimes I don’t even remember to grab a pen before I leave for work, and yet there are some people who use valuable brainpower to remember rolls of washi tape, colored pens, and loose sheets of stickers. In my opinion, that’s too much unnecessary baggage to worry about each day.
Doesn’t it sound so much easier to not even bother with any of that? A planner, a pen, and a dedication to writing down the important things are really all you need to make the most of your planner.
If stickers are your thing and you feel they add benefit to your life, then continue on. But if you’re simply buying and using stickers because you’ve seen images on Instagram and think they’re necessary to using a planner properly, then please—I beg you to stop. Stickers are a waste of your time, money, and planner space. Toss them (or give them to a child), and you’ll feel so much freer.