And Yet…

I love my Malden. I don’t think I have loved a planner more. Well, maybe I have loved other planners just as much, at least at the very beginning. But I don’t think I have loved a planner as long. I have not strayed from this planner once since its arrival. I haven’t even thought about it. This planner has everything I have wanted–soft, supple leather; card holders; back pocket for a pad; the ability to hold all the things I carry with me; it’s functional and looks great too.

And yet…

I have been finding myself wanting something different, not because I no longer love the Malden (perish the thought!), but because I want something different from my system. I have been craving simplicity. Though it works for me, my system tends to be a little complicated. Even my planning habits can get a little out of hand—sometimes I tend to spend more time planning how and when things will be done than it takes to actually do them. I have everything in one place, which is how I often want it—it cuts down on figuring out where one piece of paper is.

And yet...

I wonder if things would be simpler if I had a smaller binder—the smaller it is, the less I have to carry with me. And do I really need all the stuff with me everywhere I go? Not usually. So I have been contemplating a change of sorts. I have a few options.

I could move back in to my Guildford Slimline. Being slim, however, this would mean that I could carry only a portion of the year’s diary pages with me at all times and then leave the rest at home. This is okay. The big choice is deciding which diary pages to include and how many of each. I use three formats—the monthly pages, the weekly pages, and the daily pages. I figure I could carry the entire year’s worth of monthly pages, a week of daily pages and three months (including the current month) of weekly pages. All of these fit into the Slimline. The next big question then, is which of my additional inserts needs to be included, and how do I organize them? But that’s not even the biggest issue. The biggest issue is that because I could only carry a small amount of diary pages and inserts with me, I’d still need a regular size binder in use, sitting at home to hold the rest of my inserts. Using more than one binder at a time in regards to my daily planner has proven a bit too much for me. But maybe there’s a way I could revamp the use of two binders at once so that it does work for me. This would still allow me to use my Malden, if only at home.

Another option is to downsize to a pocket size. I have contemplated this before. I could buy a pocket size Malden and move into that. This still allows me to use my favorite binder. There are some drawbacks to this idea, however. I have so much money and time invested in the personal size that I’d essentially waste all that time, money, and effort by moving into a pocket binder. I’d have to come up with a whole new storage and archiving system, which would mean more money and time, not to mention more complaining from my husband regarding the money end of it. Another drawback to this idea is that the pocket trial has failed me in the past. So I don’t think this would work.

A third idea is to wait until the Compact size is revealed by Filofax. As was mentioned on Philofaxy, Filofax is supposedly coming out with a Compact style, a binder whose ring size fall between that of a Personal and Slimline. I have long wanted something like this—the Slimline is generally too slim for me, and many times I end up carrying more than I need in the personal size simply because I can. I really don’t need to carry an entire year’s worth of weekly pages with me but I often end up doing just that. I suppose this is the best idea of the three—it might be exactly what I need. I’m anxious to know when and if this is really going to happen and what the binder will actually look like. This just might be the binder that will break me of my vow not to buy a new binder for all of 2011, assuming I like the looks of it.

And yet…

No matter what the Compact might look like, I’m sure it won’t be the Malden…


  1. I have to admit that I like filling up my personal. I have heard so many people talk about the Malden but only really got interested with the vintage pink. I can't wait to hold one in real on Saturday! :-)
    The compact may be the solution for you!

  2. I'm so jealous that you get to go to the store! I know you all will have a great time though - looking forward to the write up and the pictures. The vintage pink is nice, but not really my speed, so if that's the only new color, then I'm safe...until I see the Compact.

  3. Susan, I can relate to your post! Since the Pocket Filo miserably failed for my DH, I bought him the Pocket Moleskine with week on 1 side and notes on the other. It is sooo small, soooo thin and sooo light. And yet, this baby seems to work for him.
    And I cannot help feeling a wee bit jealous, that he is able to work/live with such a "tiny" planner, whereas I am lugging around so much "bulk".
    And yet ... (hehe)
    I love my current setup. It IS actually working very well. And I know I would be stupid to try out something else!

  4. Kanalt, I'm currently on the other end of this particular balancing exercise: I started the year with two books, a lean daily-use Filofax with only what I need for action and a "planning" and reference notebook with long-term goals and projects and those momentous To Do in Life lists. About two weeks ago, I decided to go back to an all-in-one planner. I don't think I find anything quite so reassuring as a chubby Filofax during those uncertain moments in life. Good luck with finding your sweet spot.

  5. Jotje - maybe it's more of wanting what someone else has, like I mentioned to you in regards to your pictures. Or maybe that's just me. I have such terrible planner envy, it's ridiculous. Everyone else's always looks so scrumptious to me and while my set up works, I'm always thinking that there's a better way.

    M Ng - I have been there before too. I have used smaller planners and they never seems to work for me, so I always end up going back to what I have now. And I'm not unhappy with it, but I do know I could keep some inserts at home, mainly extra dairy pages that I won't get to for months.

    Either way, I'm not going to do anything until I see what the Compact looks like. But that could be a long while from now. Sigh...

  6. kanalt - i feel the same way about my malden. i love everything about it and the setup i have for it totally works for me. i wrote about it here in 3 installments:

    of course, a week after the last post, i ordered the pocket malden in first i didn't really want to let go of the personal but i can fit all the same info in the pocket and it's a nice cute small LIGHTER package. i did change some stuff - i carry the whole year on month on 2 pps which would alleviate the need for the vertical year and i use the cream month on 2 pps. i also revamped my to do section since there was a lot of unnecessary overlap. and yeah, with regards to the personal investment, i figure there will come a time when the pocket isn't going to work for me. (we all know how that goes) so, when that happens (hopefully not for awhile though) i'll have a beautiful black personal malden ready for me to use

  7. SNARLing - Yes, I read those posts! Excellent, by the way. I have tried the pocket size before, and I know it will just end in the same way as it did before, so I'm trying to stay away from thinking that I could get it to work. I'm saving my money just in case the Compact is something I'll like.

  8. I go back and forth about downsizing all the time. In addition to my Filo binders, I have a couple of Kate Spade binders which are truly beautiful but have an even bigger ring size and are not lightweight by any stretch of the imagination. I have a short trip coming up this weekend, and was thinking of how to minimize my packing. I decided one way to save space would be to move back in to the Guildford Slimline, which was my first Filofax. I've been testing it out this week and so far it's going well, though I do sorely miss the leather on my Maldens and Kate Spade binders.
    Here's how I've got it set up:
    2011 horizontal fold-out year planner
    12 months of tabbed month-on-two-pages (for the current year)
    3 months of day-on-two-pages, the previous month, the current month, and the coming month
    About 20 color-coded note pages (color coding eliminates the need for tabs).

    I also have my sticker sheets and FC task cards.
    Overall it's pretty much filled to reasonable capacity, but it's not overstuffed and I think I have just about everything I really need to carry with me. There's no doubt I'll move back into the large binders at some point, but it's nice to know I can get by on a thinner, stripped-down version.

  9. Stirwise - I have always wanted a Kate Spade binder. Maybe some day. But if the ring size is bigger than the Filofax personal, then maybe not. I do love both the Malden and Guildford Slimline. Somehow I wish I could combine the two. Now THAT would be my perfect planner.

  10. Yes, I would love a slimline Malden, especially if it was more of the upcoming "Compact" variety, with slightly bigger rings than a standard Slimline. Somewhere between 2/3" and 3/4" would be perfect. I think the Compact is going to be a little slimmer than that.
    The Kate Spade binders are a little closer to 1 1/4" rings, but the leather is wonderful, better than anything I've seen Filofax make, and the hardware is all gold-plated. Honestly, I'm thinking of selling my Scanda and Eton because the Kate Spades are so much nicer. Any takers?
    Still, I wish the rings were smaller on all of them. With all the extra space it's too easy to fill them up, and then my bag is mostly filled with my agenda. :/

  11. That's my problem - I end up carrying way more than I need because the extra room is there. It's too bad they don't do custom binders - you pick you binder style (Malden, Finchley, etc.), size (personal, pocket, etc.) and ring size. Then, you could customize your inserts too. Then you would definitely have the perfect planner.
    Hmm, another strike against the Kate Spade for me - I do prefer the silver look of the Filofax ring rather than gold plated.
    I think Philofaxy has a page on the site where you can offer binders. Steve could tell you for sure.

  12. I have a Belgravia compact. The size is easier to use (smaller rings) and really helps keep things simple. I keep the inserts clean and simple also with slimline cc telephone tabs, cc subject tabs, cc refills, cc fold out year and cc 2ppw diary. Although it is a great system, right now the Ochre Malden has won the downsizing war. This was suprising because I used other pocket sizes in the past and wasn't quite satisfied but for some reason the ochre Malden hit a sweet spot. I use a day per page and monthly pages with it and the standard tabs and inserts. The Belgravia is loaded and ready to go if it becomes problematic down the road. Since I've defined my planning and information management tools I think the reason either of them would fail is because of mere fickleness. It took a long while to cut my losses with the personal or similar sizes which I had been using and collecting for almost 20 years. I once attempted to go back to the personal. It lasted for about a day. I make a point of really thinking about whether something belongs in my planner and purge it often. Scrap paper or post its are kept in between days/weeks to jot temporary memos and are discarded regularly. I just don't want my life to be that complicated anymore and I don't want the bulk.

  13. Savannah - You're very right about fickleness. I think that's my real problem. There's nothing wrong with the system I have - it works very well for me. But for some reason I'm still craving some kind of downsizing. I could just take out the extra diary pages, but because of the ring size, the binder would't get much slimmer. I do have more pages than I need but it doesn't stretch beyond the capacity of the binder, so it's not like it's over stuffed. I'm going to force myself to stick with what I have (though I could go back to the Slimline since I already own it and it holds the personal pages anyway) until I see what the Compact will be. Thanks for your comment.


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