Guinness: The Black and Tan(ish) Personal VDS

Back during the Van der Spek April 1 sales (yes, I’m that far behind in my posting), I bought my third VDS customized binder.  So now, in addition to Cappuccino and Daisy, I now have Guinness.  (Why am I compelled to name each of my binders?)

Guinness is made of the Nero nappa leather on the outside and the Barbie nappa on the inside.  Each has the contrasting stitching.

The inside left has a secretarial pocket.

The inside right is the standard pocket configuration.

As far as content, the layout of my planner is still the same.

What is different, as you may have noticed, is that this planner is the standard/personal size (25 mm rings), which isn’t uncommon in the planner world, but is uncommon in my world.

Since Filofax first introduced the Compact binders back in 2011, I have used them exclusively.  Carrying a compact allows me to streamline what I take out of the house with me, limiting me to only those things I truly need.  Typically, I don’t need more than 6 months worth of monthly inserts and 3 months worth of daily inserts, and a few sheets behind each of the other tabs.  So you can imagine how I had to “fill in” a personal binder to make it useful.

I added more colored sheets to my Projects section, one project per color.

They are not all currently in use, but I figured this is one way to fill my new binder.  They are there, ready and waiting for when I need them.

I added an entire year’s worth of monthly inserts and six months worth of daily inserts.

While I can usually get away with forward planning (beyond 3 months) on monthly sheets, I decided that for now, I need the ability to forward plan with as much detail as possible because of this:

Yup, following in the footsteps of Jordan and Patty, we are in the market for a new house.  This has been a long time coming; we’ve been talking about it for over a year.  We’ve reached 10 years in our little townhome, and while we still love it here, we do feel that it is getting too small for us and that we’ve outgrown it.  We also never intended to stay as long as we have.  So we bit the bullet, called a realtor, and the rest followed.

Because we’re buying as well as selling a home, there is a lot to do and it’s all a very delicate balance.  We cannot carry two mortgages, and so the timing for everything has to be just right.  And that’s where my bigger planner comes in – here in New York, there are a ton of people involved in buying and selling a house.  It’s not as easy as agreeing on a price, signing a piece of paper, and handing over the keys.  There is a lot involved, many calls to make, many pages to fax to a number of people, many companies/individuals to contact.  In any event, I have not needed to plan too far ahead as of yet, but it will be coming.  And if I know how things go for us (which I do), it will happen quickly and when we’re not expecting it.  So I’m starting early.

I have my trusty DayTimer Hot Sheet for anything that I want to get done in the near future but that does not have a specific date attached to it.

A perfect example of this is the many bags I want to post and sell on eBay.  I have yet to do this, but I have all of the shipping boxes ready to go, all of the bags lined up, all of the photos taken, so it’s just a matter of getting them posted and sold.  I have, however, managed to sell all but one planner that I’m no longer using.  So that’s a little progress, at least.  I should purge other items before we have to start packing, but for now, this is enough.

I have a ton of Post-its living throughout my planner.

These are used more for temporary lists and information.  Once a project or task is done, out goes the Post-it.

I’ve been keeping track of various appointments in my planner.

The orange ink (used for notes) is for appointments that my husband has to take care of and the aqua color (used for personal appointments) is for appointments that I will be a part of.  Because I work one night a week and one weekend a month and am sometimes unreachable on my cell phone, my husband has been taking care of a lot of the details.  I just keep track of them in my planner.

Again, more orange ink for random notes:

There are house-related projects that we are in the process of taking care of before we show the house to too many people and/or have an open house.  These get put on a Post-it, as well, but these live in my Projects section.

I was also keeping a list of the houses we are interested in seeing, complete with random notes about each house, but this became too cumbersome – each week (more or less if it’s warranted) I compare my list to the listings on the Multiple Listings website to what has sold or will be having an open house or is new to the market.  Comparing my list to the list online became too much back and forth.  Now I use a printed list from the website and add our notes there.  But having a separate section for lists of moving companies and tasks that need doing is a great way to access that information quickly.

As of right now, we’ve been to a few open houses and have shown our house a couple of times.  We’ve gotten an offer, which was quite low, and made a counteroffer.  Now it’s just a waiting game.

I’m sure I will write more of our experiences (hopefully!) as we venture further into this process.  My plate has become even more full with other things going on (my everyday job, a small venture I’m thinking of doing, house hunting and selling, our annual vacation, losing our baby boy – more on that later – and other random things).  So my time is limited, but I hope to make this blog a priority once again.

In the meantime, happy planning!


  1. I'm so excited for you! A new house is a wonderful reason to have an upgraded and expanded binder!!! :)

    1. Thanks! Hopefully it won't be a painful process. ;)

  2. I was hoping you were going to say you were moving to Vermont! But seriously, it was such a pleasure to read this post, your clean, organized planner is such an inspiration! The Black and Tan is gorgeous!

    We bought a small apartment near our house a few years ago, which is currently rented to a tenant but we bought it with the idea of moving there eventually as a goal or at least an option. I find the idea of paring down and moving to a smaller space to be very compelling, plus the carrying costs are so much lower than we have on our home. I have come to realize that I DESPISE yard work and have almost zero interest in gardening. So a condo is just a better fit for us. But going from roughly 2000 square feet down to 850 would be a big reduction! We'll see.

    1. Oh, if only we were moving to Vermont! I mean, we COULD move there, but we're settled in our jobs here. I'm still holding out hope of getting a tiny vacation home there some day. And perhaps we'll retire there. In the meantime, we're appreciating even being able to rent there every summer. :)

      We're moving up only a little. We'd like to host family holiday dinners and such and to do so where we are now, well it's quite tight -- doable, but tight. We'd have to do it in shifts because our family is quite large, lol. We aren't looking for a big house by any means, just a few extra rooms. I like the idea of gardening, but of course I have *had* to do those tasks, so we shall see.

  3. Yay for your house hunt! I'm sure it will go well (and I hear you on all the paperwork)!! Oh, and Guinness is gorgeous!!

    1. Thank you! I get jealous when I hear of how some other states do house buying/selling -- sign something, hand over keys, no lawyer or title company rep involved, lol. Closing is an all-day event here.

  4. A very pretty binder - I too prefer slim rings (my Bloomsbury has 20mm - I wish FF had made a few more models with that size), but some times you just need more. Good on you to start planning for the sale/buy. As a fellow NYSer who has also done a sell/buy, they are infinitely more complicated. Aligning the closing dates is a carefully calibrated dance. Experienced realtors make it bearable.

    Our last move involved 3 sellers, and 3 buyers. And our buyers completely forgot to get homeowner's insurance in spite of nagging by their realtor, so our closing got bumped 21 days back, which ticked off our seller and he went from being flexible to non-communicative. I really wondered at walkthrough if it was all going to come together, as our seller still had huge amounts of his parents stuff unpacked, and our buyer was trying to get in before close.

    We closed on our buy 1 day before the sell, and spent the night cleaning (seller left the house a total mess - lots of junk left behind in closets and drawers, broken glass in the kitchen). Even after hours cleaning I couldn't sleep that night, worried that our buyers would have another problem and we'd be stuck with two mortgages. Moving day was much more chaotic than the first one (way more stuff plus two kids involved), but it worked out in the end.

    I wasn't using a Filofax at the time, but I did use a variety of items to keep it organized. During the search, I used 3 prong Letter pocket folder to organize listings and open houses we were interested in, along with maps of the school districts so I would know what schools each neighborhood attended.

    When we put in the offer, I used two gusseted Legal-size file folders. 1 for the sale/realtor paperwork, the other for the mortgage. I wasn't comfortable hole-punching legal documents.

    1. Thank you! Oh man, your move sounds bumpy, to say the least. I'm hoping, hoping, hoping that all goes (relatively) smoothly for us. We have an open house this weekend, so we will see what that brings. We've been looking at many homes online and are attending open houses like crazy. I'm working my lists. My main concern is the possibility of having to turn a buyer away if we can't find a house we love once we go into contract on our home. But we will cross that bridge when we get to it. My biggest annoyance is people who schedule a time to see the house and never show. People can really be inconsiderate when taking up your time. But, it's all part of the deal, I guess. I might use some of your tips above. I'm trying to take things one phase at a time, but it's good to have an organizational system in mind when it comes time to close on either place.


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