I love, love, love my tiny mini Filofax planner. It makes me smile as well as anyone who sees it!
Here are a few ideas if you are trying to downsize into a mini (these might even help folks who are aiming for the pocket size, too!).
Sticky notes – if you are a user of sticky notes (I’m an avid user), there are two sizes that work very well in a mini right out of the box. One is the super-cute, square 2″ x 2″ and the other is the 1.5″ x 2″ size (which I refer to as the pat-of-butter format, especially because I favor the light yellow ones). Another option is to slightly trim down the larger square 3″ x 3″ size. They will fit the height of the page (up and down) as is, although they will hang off the side of the page if you don’t trim them down.
Writing – it really makes a difference if you use fine-point pens or pencils. I have excellent results with fine ball points, although I make equal use of fine mechanical pencils, Sharpie fine pens, and Le Pens.
Sheets – there are 20-ish lines on a Filofax-branded mini sheet. Update: Our vanilla folders note sheets we started making after I wrote this post are about 18-ish (we chose slightly larger line spacing). Some packets might have another line at the bottom, depending on where the paper was cut. So, 18 to 20-ish lines plus the empty space at the top margin. Sometimes when I am making long lists or writing from my stream of thought, I remove the sheets from the mini and just write on the page. This makes the paper feel much larger! I also keep a packet or stack of the empty sheets nearby in case I just need to grab one from there to start writing. Sadly, I don’t believe there are any Filofax notepads in this size. Update: we make the notepads now at vanilla folders, so no one is sad and everyone is happy.
Abbreviate – I can be really OCD about writing things out but oddly I have over the years come up with some abbreviations that stuck with me and I like them. Some are silly and some are just utilitarian. I like to jot, say, “hair 11a” on the day I have a haircut at 11:00a. An old boss of mine liked to use “HC” for his haircut appointments in his pocket-friendly planner. I also have a 2-4 letter code for all names of my bills or banks. Other codes I use frequently: “can” (cancel), “mtg” (meeting), “cc” (credit card), “dc” (debit card), “reg’n” (registration) and “wkg” (working).
Further to abbreviating, think about what details you really need to include – are you writing down extra info that you really already know in your head? If it’s redundant, keep it as short as it can be to remain useful.
Hacks – Some talented folk have gone so far as to make card holders for their mini Filofax planners. Even if you don’t use yours as a wallet, you might want a card holder insert for bits and bobs or stamps! Check out this tutorial from Jamie, one of those clever crafty souls who has been kind enough to make a guide for others.
Insert a sheet for overflow – if you are needing to squeeze in a little more info in your week or month, you can always stick another sheet in there. It’s funny how on a larger size planner that doesn’t appeal to me, but it is completely perfect to me in my mini. I think it’s because I know I am only putting what I truly need in my mini, and so it’s worth putting the extra sheets in if they have earned their place.
Routine review and cull – If you’re tight on space, look carefully at what you are toting around with you in that tiny planner! A mini Filofax is not a file-it-and-forget-it system. Some items worth keeping might be kept at home, maybe they’ve become not-necessary at this moment but will again, or maybe they’ve fallen out of date or use right now. I keep a ‘scrappy mini’ (very scrappy) in my room where I love to keep an overflow of past items that bring me joy to see but are not part of my current planning. I actually keep lots of my old sheets and ticket-stub-type things although I don’t keep them in my main mini.
Rotate and refill – Add and remove upcoming weekly or daily calendar pages instead of trying to put them all in the mini. Philofaxy had a post about an on-deck binder to record more advance items on sheets that are not ready to move into your main planner yet. You could also record them as a note or sticky at the end of your current calendar sheets and make the transfer when you rotate in your new sheets.
Transferring to smaller binders – When moving down in binder size, if you have something that is just too large for your new smaller planner, consider using a color copier to reduce the image and then trim it down to size. You can do this with handwritten lists (instead of rewriting), photos, sticky notes, and possibly even some calendar sheets if you can hole-punch them. I had several items I wanted to squish into my mini (a sticker of the state of Alaska, a mall photo booth printout, handwritten sentimental notes, etc.) and was able to assemble several items onto the copier glass, then reduce them down to color copy onto one sheet of paper, which I then cut out for my tiny planner.
Mine is not a super-cute planner with photo-worthy, beautifully decorated pages, yet my planner is super-cute to me. It’s quite messy sometimes yet as long as I can read and understand everything in there, then it’s doing its job. If I write something in once, I have to leave that note in tact; if I rewrite it again elsewhere just to make it neater it will lose the original impact it had in my mind. Strange, I know! But it’s a helpful observation.
Using the size planner that works for you is clearly the most important factor in choosing your format. If for any reason you’ve decided to downsize there will be an adjustment period. Happily though, there will be a day when your eyes see the planner size in a new light. At first, against the stark contrast of your larger binders it can certainly seem a stretch. Although once I cast a critical eye to my larger binder pages and realized that my content was not filling up the pages inside it was the push I needed to give the smaller format a go. The reward was a delightfully small compact planner that is easy to keep with me and doesn’t weigh down my purse or travel bag (and always makes me smile!).
I hope you find something helpful in all that tiny planner enabling. 🙂
Thank you for reading!