Tired of carrying around a bulky planner?

I’m a really organized person to begin with, but I remember what a game-changer it was when I bought myself a paper planner.  I loved that I could put pen to paper and empty my head of all the events and reminders I was just praying to god I wouldn’t forget.  As a long-time sufferer of anxiety, this was a great coping strategy and played a huge role in helping me effectively take on everything life threw at me.  While I still keep running to-do lists on my iPhone (this app is my fave), having my week clearly laid out in front of me made me infinitely more productive.

After an internet deep dive, I found that people had VERY STRONG opinions on why the Erin Condren LifePlanner was the best.  At $55 USD for the basic planner plus $20 USD shipping to Canada (equivalent to $100 CAD before adding any bells and whistles), it was a lot more expensive than what you’ll find in your average bookstore, but oh boy was it worth it.  Not only are the interchangeable covers tailor-made to suit whatever aesthetic you’re going for, but the 7”x9” size is large enough to work with, but not too large to carry around, and the vertical layout is both customizable and surprisingly well-thought out.  It is organizer’s dream.

I was completely and utterly in L♥VE… at least until I got tired of lugging around something so bulky and heavy in my already overstuffed work bag (I constantly arrive at work like #packmule).  Assuming that it was the planner’s layout that I liked, I decided to try this smaller and cheaper one from Chapters the very next year.  While my shoulder thanked me, this planner wasn’t nearly as good.  After a few months, I ponied up the cash to get the ECLP again, with the intention of finding a way to deconstruct and reassemble it with only a few months at a time.  Since I don’t plan things more than a couple months in advance, I figured I could leave a large post-it at the back where I can jot down the events for months I’m not carrying with me.

Here’s how the experiment went down…

How to Debulk and Re-coil your Erin Condren LifePlanner in less than 10 Minutes:


  1. Remove front and back interchangeable covers and set aside 
  2. Use pliers to straighten the bent section at the bottom of the coil that keeps the coil locked in place 
  3. Rotate the coil to unscrew the binding 
  4. Separate the pages you want to re-coil, make sure the holes all line up and secure in place with 2 sturdy binder clips
    +I kept the beginning inserts, July to January and the end inserts
    ++To line up pages I used the pointed stick that came with my craft pliers, but you could eyeball it or use a straightened paperclip 
  5. Feed your new coil through the previous holes
    +You could also use the original coil, but it would still be bulky and I don’t really like the way it looks.
    What size plastic coil works for an Erin Condren Life Planner? I used a 12mm plastic coil that from an old workbook I deconstructed (for reference, it had a standard 4:1 pitch) 
  6. Trim the coil to the appropriate length and use pliers to bend and lock the ends
    +Bend the top coil inwards and down, bend the bottom coil inwards and up 
  7. Snap interchangeable covers back on.  Ta-da!

Now that my LifePlanner is lighter and thinner, it’s become my RIDE-OR-DIE planner!  I have the best of both worlds—the ECLP size and layout, but no more bulk than a regular notebook!

Here are some of my best Erin Condren LifePlanner tips:

  • Rather than using the 3 vertical boxes for planning categories (i.e. to do list, today’s events, meal planning…) I use them to distinguish morning, afternoon and evening.  I use washi tape and post-its to book in my workouts, appointments and events (since they’re repositionable) and write to-do’s in between the appointments.  This forces me to be realistic in what I can accomplish in a day since the more space I have blocked out, the less space there is for to-do’s.
  • Don’t want to carry around multiple rolls of washi tape?  Use an old card or one of the EC freebies to make your own washi bobbin
Freebies that came with my ECLP order
  • DON’T waste your money on the EC Bands ($10 USD for 3 metallic ones) – I bought some pretty elastic from a fabric store for really cheap and used the rest to make ribbon hair ties
  • DO buy the pen holders ($2.50 for 1 in white or $6 for 3 in metallic) – they have a strong adhesive that firmly sticks to the back cover and with the reduced coil size you may not have space to clip a pen inside the coil anymore
Clockwise from top left: ECLP in ‘In Bloom Rose Gold Metallic’, 3-pack of Adhesive Pen Holders in Metallic, Snap-In StylizedSticky Notes in ‘Floral Ink’, Freebie Postcard
  • I use an Ultra-Fine Sharpie Marker to write on my washi tape so it doesn’t smear, but write everything else in Sharpie Pen.  It writes just like a regular Sharpie but doesn’t bleed through the page!
  • The dimensions for the new “Vertical Layout in Neutral Theme” are different from the “Vertical Layout in Colorful Theme”.  Keep this in mind when purchasing stickers or stylized sticky notes because they are made with the original colorful theme in mind.  BUT, the boxes of the Neutral Theme, perfectly fit the regular 1.5”x2” Post-It Notes (!!)
Dimensions for ECLP Vertical Layout in Neutral Theme

Interested in getting yourself an Erin Condren Planner? You can click here to get $10 off your order!  After you create an account you’ll receive a unique $10 coupon code for your first purchase!  Happy planning!

With love,

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