Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Moving into the Malden Pocket

For the last year or so I've been using a variety of Filofax (and Kate Spade) Personal-size binders with a variety of inserts, eventually settling on a day-per-page layout divided up with tabbed month-on-two-pages sheets and color-coded notepages in the back. I recently decided to try out downsizing this setup, which first led me to using Slimline binders and carrying only 2-3 months worth of pages at a time, and a reduced selection of notepages. After just a couple of weeks I moved back into a full-size binder; the Slimline was not going to work.

I put downsizing on the back burner for about a month before I started thinking about moving everything to the Pocket size. This obviously means losing access to all my Personal binders, but that's a risk I'm willing to take, and there's no guarantee I won't want to go back to Personal at some point in the future.
To make the transition I did my best to match my current layout with Pocket pages in a binder I knew I would love, the black Malden. I already own two Malden Personal-size binders, so this was a no-brainer.
As for the pages, I did have to switch to Filofax-branded PPD sheets, since my Da Vinci sheets don't come in Pocket size. I also had to forego using green-colored notepages, since Filofax apparently doesn't make those in Pocket size. For the green-colored notes I've switched to yellow. I am, honestly, not very happy about this. I may end up ordering some green notepages from Japan. Nearly everything else, however, was easy to transition over, down to the quad-ruled notepad in the back. One gripe: the Pocket size notepad is very small-ruled, it's clearly just a shrunken version of the Personal quad-rule, and on top of that the printing is very dark. I find it hard to read my handwriting on the quad-ruled paper, and I may have to source another brand for my next notepad, or switch to traditional lined paper.
Here's a summary of my layout:
The front:
 Page flags and a top-opening envelope with cards and emergency contact info.

First section:
 Tasks. I use the Filo To Do pages in cotton cream, and use color-coded ink to fill in a different sheet for each topic or area of my life. Green for work tasks, purple for home, pink for personal, etc.

Second is my Korean section.
 For the last several years I've made a half-hearted attempt to learn Korean. Since my husband and I are now planning to go to South Korea for vacation this fall, I'm making a more earnest effort to learn the language. I use this section for jotting down vocab words I come across in day-to-day life, as well as reference for grammar rules, useful phrases, and words from my lessons I need to practice. I find that writing everything down is so much better for learning than printing out pages or memorizing from a screen. Writing forces me to sound out every syllable while I write and think about the word. It is also helping greatly with my ease of reading Korean. I still have to sound it out, but I'm getting much faster.

Next is the calendar portion.
I have a horizontal year planner at the front, where I can see the "big picture" for the year.

Past that is where the daily pages come in. I have month-on-two-pages tabbed sheets breaking up the year of daily pages, with on half of each month at the front, the other half at the back. This may bother some people, but I find it's easy to flip back and forth between the two halves of the month and the tabs make it easier to flip to a specific date. This is essentially the same layout I had in my Personal setup.

I keep the whole calendar section demarcated with Filofax organizer stickers at either end. As you can see, I'm quite a fan of stickers. I like to buy Japanese and Korean diary stickers on Etsy and use them to illustrate my Filofax. I'm thinking of bringing an empty bag to Korea just to fill with stickers. :)

Past the calendar pages is my proper notes section:

I use color-coded sheets for different areas of my life. Purple and blue for home, pink for personal, yellow for work and orange for my dog.

At the very back is another top-opening envelope with my Northwest Forest Pass, which I keep with me all the time because if I didn't I'd never remember to take it with me when we go hiking.

The full-length wallet-style pocket is used for full-sized sheets of paper that I need for reference. It's pretty much temporary storage, if something is that important I'll find a way to get it into the binder properly, rather than cramming the back pocket full of papers.
So far the Pocket transition is working out for me, and when I pick up a Personal binder it feels strange and oversized. I like the Pocket so much, in fact, that I have a Kate Spade Pocket binder headed to my mailbox right this minute. I'm not 100% sure the KS binder will be exactly the right size, but I'm pretty sure the rings are the same spacing, even if the pages are slightly different (3" x 5" vs 3.25" x 4.75"). Regardless of the Kate Spade binders, I'm sure this Malden won't be my only Pocket binder. I really like to have options. :)

You can find more photos of this binder and some of my other Filos on my Flickr stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stirwise/


  1. This was a GREAT post, thanks for sharing! I love the idea of a new language section - if I can fit in my take-everywhere ME&MINE AGENDA! Hmm, have to decide on the language of choice! (I have a friend doing Rosetta's Korean - this post reminds me to give her a call & see how she's doing :)

    I love those round stickers(?) that you are using as top tabs! Are they two stickers back to back with the page inbetween or are they actual Avery type tabs? Very curious!


  2. I'm glad you liked it!
    I totally forgot to mention those round tabs. They're Rin tabs made by a company called Metaphys, you can buy them at jetpens.com.
    They're simple film sticker tabs, and they're designed to always look perfectly aligned, because they're perfectly round. I like how neat and clean they look, I just wish they came in more colors than shades of gray and bright orange.

  3. Excellent post, the black malden looks lovely, worth considering even.

  4. Really great post - I am seriously considering moving to a pocket so was so relevant! Can you tell me where you sourced the tabbed diary pages? I can't find these on any filofax site I have tried so far!

  5. Thank you for this great post! I most appreciate. It all looks so smart. I have a meanwhile considerable collection of Personal Sized binders, but the Pocket keeps to be intriguing. It is so portable! I also have a black Pocket Malden, which I use as a wallet and shopping list storage. It is such a wonderfully versatile binder!
    One question about the daily page: Is there a difference for left and right columns? Like: left for appointments, right for Todo's? And is this your only binder at the moment?

    Darn, I know I will not be able to get this setup out of my head. I'm gonna bookmark this page now!

    As for the green notepaper: Have you checked out http://www.etsy.com/shop/maudiemade? She was once featured on Philofaxy, and I believe she also does custom-made requests. She has brightgreen Mini notepaper, might be worth to ask her if she'd make you some green Pocket sized?

    @Alison: those monthly pages are available on Filofax.de (though they don't ship to the US).

  6. This was such a brilliant post! I'm a fairly recent Filofax devotee, and I'm still struggling with questions about size and organization. Right now I'm using a Personal size Finsbury as my day-to-day life support, and even though I've had it since February, I'm still experimenting with setting everything up.

    I've also got a couple of Pocket Filos - one in use as my wallet, and a separate one that houses all my shopping info (lists, coupons, receipts, etc). I do love the handy size of the Pockets, but I think they're a little small for diary-type stuff (I tend to write BIG).

    You've given me so many good ideas to try!

  7. OMG you are seriously making me consider going back to Pocket!! I love, love, LOVE what you have done here!

  8. @Alison: I found them at katespaperie.com, I believe they are also in stock at paradisepen.com.

    @Jotje: Mostly I keep tasks and notes on the right, agenda on the left, but there's a considerable amount of flexibility, so if I want to jot down something (I use my Filo as an agenda going forwards, but also as a diary for reference) I'll move over into the agenda side if that's where there's space. Also, this is my only binder.
    Thanks for the recommendation about green paper, I'll check her stuff out.

    @jlshall: Writing big is a definite problem in the pocket pages. They have considerably smaller spacing than personal pages, to the point where I feel a little cramped, even though I write pretty small.

  9. fabulous post. envy. love to be able to go to pocket/personal but I keep my meeting notes in my Franklin and they usually take a lot of space on a daily basis. but you gave a couple of ideas...

  10. Hi,
    Your Month on Two pages diary insert, where did it come from and what is the type number on the front side (6 digits normally)

  11. Hi Steve -
    They're the standard Filofax MO2P tabbed sheets, #6822511. I think I got these particular ones from Kate's Paperie, because Filofax didn't have 2011 in stock.

  12. Did you know your blog post has been copied and put on this site: http://aadhzmj.dowsport.com/


  13. And retweeted via this account



  14. Thanks for letting me know, Steve.
    I'm actually having a hard time getting the offending page to load. So strange -- why would someone steal this?

  15. i love how small your writing is.. what pen did you use in your Korean page?

    1. I believe I used Pilot Hi Tec C Coleto 0.4 refills (black) for those pages.