Several years ago, I didn’t know about Filofax. I remember being in one of my planner crisis modes—I liked the planner I was using okay enough (truth be told, I loved that planner for the space it provided, the slimness, and how professional it looked), but it was no longer serving my needs (despite the love). I didn’t exactly know what my needs were, just that I needed something better, more conducive to working on projects and long-term planning and something a little more fulfilling.
A friend of mine used the ring-bound planners and swore by them. At the time, I didn’t like them, mainly because I felt that the rings got in the way of writing and that the binders were too bulky (compared to my slim planner). She was the one who introduced me to Filofax, which is slightly odd, if only because she didn’t have tons of them. (Obviously, since then she has bought a few more.) I don’t remember the exact date or time or even the situation in which she got me to look at the website. But once I did, I was smitten.
So I looked online at the fabulous range of binders. I remember thinking that they were so expensive and that I couldn’t possibly in my right mind consider buying one (if only my today self could talk to my back then self…). Plus, I truly did love “Old Faithful” and was very reluctant to give him up despite the fact he was no longer cutting it for me and that I had thought of replacing him so often.
I hemmed and hawed and just couldn’t bring myself to do switch brands.
One day (and I remember this so clearly), my husband and I were going to Starbucks. I still had the whole planner issue on my mind. I stepped out of the car, looked down, and what did I see? A Filofax page marker lying on the ground—dirty, alone, cold, obviously lost from its binder home (now I wonder just which binder it sadly fell out of, where that binder is today, and in what town or city it resides). And because Filofax had been on my mind as an option for my new planner needs, I truly felt that this was fate. Here was some higher being telling me to switch to Filofax. Why else was this poor little page marker alone in the Starbucks parking lot? There could be no other reason.
After that, I put the personal brown Domino on my birthday list. The same friend who told me about Filofax so kindly purchased my very first one for me. I was skeptical at first, not sure how long my Filofax love affair will linger. But it did. Once I saw the magical things it could for me, how it could be molded into anything I needed it to be, I was smitten. I couldn’t turn my back on it.
And I haven’t since.
This is truly a feat for me. Prior to this, I had tried many different planners and systems and always ended up with Old Faithful again, probably because he was steady and confident, and I knew him well. He and I fit together like hand and mitten—a warm, comfortable, soft place to land when the world was cold and dreary. But Filofax and me, we fit together like hand and glove—he is everything that Old Faithful was and more—warm, comfortable and soft, but he also fit into those places that Old Faithful couldn’t simply because he wasn’t made that way.
Of course, after falling so deeply in love with Filofax, I found Philofaxy, read every post and every comment. I neglected any work that I should have been doing to catch up on all the Filo love I had been missing. I watched from afar until one day I was brave enough to post my very first comment. And it all became history from there.
Sometimes I wonder why Filofax has been so successful for me. It is because of the flexibility the binders allow? Is it because I can basically make it my own? Is it because there is such a variety and now that I have quite a collection I can change my binder on a whim, all but eliminating boredom without giving up any of the functionality that I crave? Sure, it’s all of these things. But I believe that the number one reason it has been so successful for me is because of the Philofaxy community. What other brand has such a loyal following that a blog was created to honor it? (Well, I have seen a Moleskine blog, but I don’t consider that to be a “planner” community because Moleskine is a range of notebooks which includes planners, art books, etc. It’s its own beast altogether.) In addition, what brand has its own loyal following blog that spawned other blogs dedicated to Filofax and planners and organizing and the like? Think about it. We really have something special here.
For a long time, I thought I was the only planner geek. I never knew others existed. But then I met the friend mentioned above. Finally! Someone who understands! Then I met the Philofaxy community. More people who understand! International people, at that! Then I started my own blog. People who want to read what I have to say about a topic I so love!
My amazement topped when I received the highest compliment I have received as a Filofaxer. New-to-Philofaxy reader J had posted a Filofax topic on her own blog. Lucky for me, I was the first to comment, saying how we are all a bunch of enablers when it comes to purchasing new Filofax planners. She made mention of this on a recent Philofaxy post. Steve mentioned that I was a “good mentor to follow in the footsteps of.” J then responded by saying, “Kanalt seems like the perfect ‘Filo expert.’” (!) I tend to disagree for many reasons—I’m quite new to this field myself considering that many other readers have been loyal to the brand for so long; I tend to stick with the personal size rather than branching out and trying new things; I feel I’m fairly boring in how I use my Filo; I am not one of those people who can make my Filo inserts and tabs into amazing works or art. However, I am grateful for the compliments. They both truly made me blush. I also remember how excited I was when I told my husband about it. (“You like me. You really like me.”)
All joking aside, I truly feel that this is a one-of-a-kind community. And on that fateful day when I saw the page marker in the Starbucks parking lot, how could I ever know what it would lead to? It seems to me that Filofax really is “a way of life.”