10 Happy Planner Essentials

Just getting started with the Happy Planner? Here are 10 Happy Planner essentials to help get you started with decorative planning.

10 happy planner essentials
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On this blog, you may know I share my love for all things Happy Planner. It is my very favorite tool for staying organized and having a creative outlet in just a few short minutes a day. You can read how my love affair began in the post, “How Happy Planner Changed My Life.”

Recently, I’ve had lots of friends convert over to the Happy Planner and I always get the same questions. What are the best supplies I need to start Happy Planning. Well, I finally made time to write out a list of my favorite planning tools. Here are 10 Happy Planner essentials.

10 Happy Planner Essentials

Washi Tape

If you are unfamiliar with Washi tape, let’s start out with the basics. Washi tape is Japanese masking tape, but it’s decorative and comes in all kinds of colors and prints. It even comes foiled or glittered. Washi tape is a great, inexpensive way to decorate your planner pages. That’s because Washi tape has many feet of tape on one roll making it a great addition if you’re on a planner budget. If you want to know how to decorate with it, take a look at my Planning On a Budget Series below.

washi tape
washi tape

Sticker Books

Stickers are kind of the quintessential ingredient to a decorative planner. Stickers are generally what you’ll be using to decorate your planner pages. In a YouTube video, I share my favorite sticker books that I think new planner girls should start with. Some of my favorite starter books are:

Watch my video below.

Highlighters

One thing that most Happy Planner babes love is highlighters. But the hands-down favorite brand of planners is called Zebra Mildliners. These highlighters come in an array of colors. They have a dual tip (fine and chisel). The nicest aspect of them is that they aren’t fluorescent. They do have brights but they also have muted tones that are easy on the eyes.

Lots of us use them in our spreads along with stickers. In fact, you can actually decorate your entire planner spread with nothing more than these awesome Mildliners. Take a look at my first episode of “Planning on a Budget” series where I show you how to decorate with Mildliner Highlighters.

Pens

Pens are one of the few necessities when using a paper planner. To me, a good pen is like an instrument. I love the feel of a really good pen. I’m currently filming a video of my favorite pens and I’ll update this post as soon as it’s uploaded to YouTube. But for right now, here are some of my favorite pens:

Notepaper

Filler paper is available in a variety of sizes and styles. There is graph paper, lined paper, and dot grid. They are available in all three planner sizes and they are in full sheet and half sheet sizes.

Additionally, there are to-do lists, grocery /shopping lists, hourly schedules, and a variety of other styles to help you meet your needs. I love these for brainstorming and for making lists that would otherwise take up too much room in my planner.

Full Sheets (classic)

Half Sheets

Sticky Notes

Sticky notes are a lifesaver for me. Personally, I hate seeing things scratched out in my planner. Let’s face it, sometimes plans fall through and when that happens, I love sticky notes. Happy Planner babes will tell you that some love to plan weeks or months in advance, while others don’t. This is where I think sticky notes are really helpful. You can “dog ear” a date in advance with a sticky note as a placeholder. If plans fall through or change, you can simply move or throw away the sticky note. Voila! You haven’t lost any real estate on your planner pages. I use sticky notes for everything that might be subject to change.

sticky notes

PRO-TIP: Store prepunched sticky notes on extra rings.

Extra Discs

If you are a newbie to Happy Planner you may realize that as you add accessories, your planner will run out of room on the medium-sized discs that come with your planner. You have two choices. You can remove items or you can simply change out the discs to expander discs. Expander discs are larger and hold more. If you need more durable discs, you can move from plastic discs to metal ones.

Additionally, lots of Happy Planner accessories like sticky notes, dashboards, and note paper are pre-punched and can easily be stored on extra discs.

Punches

One of the best things about the Happy Planner’s disc-bound system is that you can completely customize your planner. This includes being able to punch things and put them on the discs – even non-Happy Planner stuff. For example, whenever I get a paper invitation to a party or wedding, I punch it and put it in my planner so I don’t lose it. I’ve punched business cards, bills and other things I don’t want to lose.

Punches are available for both the big and classic-sized planners. There also box punches. With those, you can use scrapbook paper to create your own boxes for your planner. A word of caution though: the box punches are just ever so slightly smaller than the current boxes. This is because, in the early days of Happy Planner, the divider lines between the vertical boxes were much wider. Over the years, the lines have slimmed down creating a small gap, so they may not fit perfectly. I make it work though.

Stamps

Stamps are a great alternative to stickers. Some people prefer using stamps for things they do all the time. In my video below, I share how you can use stamps instead of stickers to decorate your page.

The nice thing about stamps is that they are reusable. Meaning, you purchase once and then use them again and again, unlike stickers where you use once and they are done! Using stamps can be an inexpensive alternative too stickers.


Pocket Folders, Envelopes & Dividers

One of the nicest things about Happy Planner is the ability to completely customize and organize your planner and the Happy Planner has a number of accessories that can help you do that.

Pocket Folders

The first is pocket folders. You can find them sold separately and also find them in the accessory packs. These are really helpful for helping tame the odd pieces of paper all over your desk and counters. I use my folders for anything I need to deal with – a bill, something I need to drop in the mail, you get the idea.

Envelopes

I love the little punched envelopes that the Happy Planner has. They offer them in a variety of sizes and I use them to keep small, loose things in my planner. Things like postage stamps, business cards and other small things I don’t want to lose. I use their larger envelopes for a cash envelopes system and it makes budgeting very easy.

Dividers

Dividers are great. For instance, I run a playdate group. I don’t need to dedicate a whole other planner to it, so I simply created a section in my planner for the scheduling, member contact numbers and to-do lists. I simply created a section using a divider so as to keep it separate from my other stuff. You could use one for anything – church activities, bible study, names and addresses, budgeting, etc. Dividers are typically sold in packs .

That’s it friends. I’ve hope I’ve narrowed down the best 10 Happy Planner essentials for you! Be sure to PIN this post for later and don’t forget to check out my other Happy Planner posts. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel where you can get lots of planner tips, tricks, and inspiration!

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12 Tips For Happy Planner Newbies

So you bought your first decorative planner! If you are new to the decorative planning world, I’m proving 12 tips for Happy planner newbies.

12 Tips for Happy Planner Newbies

12 Tips for happy planner newbies

Make It Your Own

There are no “rules” when it comes to using your planner. These days there are literally hundreds of Facebook groups and thousands of Instagram feeds with beautifully curated spreads. Ultimately, your planner should reflect you and your personality. It should be functional and actually help you get organized. It’s okay if your handwriting is terrible or if things are crossed out or highlighted. Your planner is yours and no one else’s! Don’t copy or compare yourself. Find your own planner “voice.”

Start Slowly

Confession time: I own every sticker book made by The Happy Planner ®. In fact, I even have duplicates. But then, I’ve been a Happy Planner since 2015. I’ve had a long time to acquire them. When you first get your planner it’s tempting to go a little overboard and buy every sticker book and accessory on the market. But I can tell you, it gets overwhelming for a lot of newbies. Most sticker books have around 1,000 stickers in them. Some people are overwhelmed by spending time flipping around sticker books looking for that one sticker they want. Start slowly. Buy two or three sticker books to start with. You can build your collection slowly (if you choose) over time.

Find Planner Peace

With the October release last year, I was so excited to get the Super Mom planner. After all, I’m a stay-at-home-mom, right? I should rock this thing! Until then, I had always used a vertical planner. This planner was a dashboard layout, meaning it grouped tasks into categories for you like errands, shopping lists, phone calls, etc. Four months into it and I couldn’t make it work. I struggled to decorate it. Then I suddenly realized I needed things by the day, not by the task. I went back to my vertical planner. The one that was tried and true. My point is, don’t be afraid to change what’s not working for you. Don’t hold onto it because you spent money or invested time into it. If something is stopping you from enjoying your planner or staying organized, switch things up. Find what works for you.

Decorating on a Budget

No one says you have to fill up your page with stickers. Some people use washi tape, highlighters, and markers to decorate. Washi tape is a Japanese masking tape. It’s colorful, but it’s also very inexpensive for how much you get on a roll. It comes in all different thicknesses and some even come with foiled metallic designs or glitter. This makes it a very inexpensive decorating option. When first buying washi tape, I recommend starting with basic colors. The Happy Planner has their own washi tape which coordinates well with a lot of their stickers. But Michaels, Joann, and Hobby Lobby all sell tubes and single rolls of washi tape.

Washi tape
Photo by Mary Lentz

Decorating Ahead

I love to decorate 3-4 weeks ahead. I basically plan for the current month. This is easy to do since my life is very routine-oriented. But for some people, they’re a little fearful about planning in advance. Others like to stay within the current week because their decorating corresponds with their current mood. That’s fine. As I said earlier, your planner is yours. However, your planner is also supposed to be functional. One thing that helped me, is using sticky notes as placeholders for future events. If you are worried about plans changing between now and a future event, sticky notes are a great solution. If something changes, you can easily remove or adjust without losing any real estate on your planner.

Scheduling Planner Time

Using a planner is about creating a habit. For people who have never used a planner before, it might be hard to remember to open it up. I recommend scheduling a time to plan. For me, I make time on the weekend, typically on a Sunday. I sit down to decorate and go over all my goals, appointments and tasks I need to get done. I found I have to prioritize planner time. That sounds silly, doesn’t it, but it’s true. Making time to plan has to be just as important as an appointment or anything else I have to remember. I’ve also found that it helps to keep it open on my workspace. For me as a stay-at-home mom, it’s my kitchen. I keep it open on the counter and refer back to it all day long to make sure I accomplish things.

I Bought A New Planner But I Can’t Use It Yet

So perhaps you purchased a planner, but it doesn’t begin until July or January. Fear not, if this is a classic planner, you can buy a monthly extension pack to start right away. The extension pack is available in the classic vertical and in the hourly formats. The pack comes with six months of undated sheets (date stickers included).

Do I Need More Than One Planner

Technically, no you don’t. The beauty of the Happy Planner is that you can do everything from one planner. Wellness, fitness, budgeting, faith (bible study) can all be done from your planner by using stickers as your guide. However, there are definitely people, myself included that prefer more in-depth planner help.

For example, I own a Wellness planner. I really needed some self-care after giving birth to my son. I use it to schedule “me time,” things that bring me joy, and even use it as a journal to pen thoughts and work through emotions. If you want a look at how to use it, see my post How to Use the Wellness Happy Planner. Truth be told, I own 5 planners that I use on a regular basis. (One to run this blog, my every day, my teacher planner, my wellness and my faith planner which I use for bible study.) Other people want a large focus on fitness or budgeting. If that’s the case, there are options for you, but it certainly isn’t necessary.

Wellness planner

Dashboards

I’m a little surprised by this one, but I often hear, “what are dashboards and how do I use them? Dashboards are effectively bookmarks. They are placeholders you can use to easily flip to your monthly or weekly spread. One thing, I also like to use it for is sticky notes! I love to place sticky notes on them as little reminders for things that don’t actually need to go in my planner. I know some people use it as a dry erase board. The choice is yours.

Dry Erase Boards

Which leads us to the next topic. Over the last year, the Happy Planner (MAMBI) has come out with dry erase inserts. Lots of people love the idea. I picked up as many as I could find. However, after they first came out with it, people complained that the dry erase smudged from opening and closing the planner. I highly recommend using wet erase markers like Vis-a-Vis.

New Releases

I always get asked, “when does Happy Planner come out with new product?” The Happy Planner actually has a pretty easy schedule to follow. The new year for Happy Planner actually begins in the fall, normally October. This is when the Happy Planners for the upcoming year start hitting store shelves. In the Spring, often around March or April, there is another release of sticker books, accessories and 18-month planners. These planners begin in July and continue from January to December of the next year. Later in the summer, the Teacher and Student planners and accessories are released. In between the seasonal releases, Happy Planner has started to release few other limited edition releases such as the Be Happy Box.

Planner spread

What Is the Happy Planner Squad

The Happy Planner Squad is a group of Happy Planner enthusiasts (fans like you and me). Using their Instagram accounts, they promote Happy Planner products by illustrating their designs and ways they use Happy Planner in their everyday life. These ambassadors are hand selected by the MAMBI (Me and My Big Ideas – makers of the Happy Planner) team. Once a year, they accept submissions and the rules and guidelines will be on the Happy Planner site. All are encouraged to apply, but competition is fierce. Currently, the ambassadorship commitment is one calendar year.

Before You Go

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Mermaid Vibes Plan With Me

This vertical layout, is great to start those summer vibes. Please join me for the first in the series, Mermaid Vibes Plan With Me.

mermaid vibes plan with me

Happy Planner News

Hey there, friend. Welcome to all new series on My Beautiful Mess! I was very excited when, in May, my blog post, How Happy Planner Changed My Life, was recognized at the Go Wild planner conference in Las Vegas by the Happy Planner. Yay!

The post was first seen by Hannah and Stephanie in February and they reached out to me. I had no idea how they planned to use it, but I was very honored that they chose to share it with others.

It was such an honor and even though I didn’t make the planner squad (boo hoo), I’m still excited to be ambassador on my own. So today, I’m starting a Plan With Me series. Here I’ll show you how to decorate your Happy Planner. Hopefully, I’ll give you some ideas – but your planner should always reflect who you are!

mermaid vibes plan with me

Mermaid Vibes Plan With Me

When I think of mermaids, I think of hues of blues, greens, and purple. These colors remind me of the sea. Thankfully, in the second color story book, there are actually mermaid theme stickers.

I have found that the second colorful boxes sticker value pack have boxes that match perfectly with the color story sea stickers. This is my very first Plan With Me video, y’all so be kind! I promise I’ll get better at this.

Materials

  • Vertical planner
  • Color Story 2 Sticker book
  • Colorful boxes 2 book

Before You Go

Make sure to check out some of my other Happy Planner posts.

Also, Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for more Happy Planner posts, printables and videos.

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Happy Planner, Jobs and Hope

Happy Planner, jobs, and hope. Today, I’m sharing a little about the things going on in our lives this week as we continue job hunting and chase dreams.

Happy Planner, jobs and hope

First, I want to thank all the good friends and readers who have asked about our job situation. It’s been a bumpy ride full of highs and lows. So, I thought I would write here about the recent plot twists that have occurred for those interested. If you need to catch up, read my prior post, The Next Chapter.

The Job Stuff

Easter weekend we drove to Houston for an interview and Dan got the job. We felt relieved. We received an offer the following week. However, it was lower than expected and over the next few weeks, hubby tried to renegotiate the terms, but they didn’t budge much. They wouldn’t pay to relocate us to Houston, nor would they allow us to push out the start date so we could afford the move financially. Talk about a rock and a hard place. The deeper into the woods we went, the more it seemed like maybe this isn’t the job for us. Honestly, this whole process has been so stressful and discouraging. But we keep putting our hope in the Lord, that even though we can’t see it, He is working on a solution.

Dan has another opportunity in Houston. So we will wait to see if that produces any fruit. We’ve passed the phone interviews so we are on our way to an in-person interview probably this coming week. Please continue to keep us in prayer that we find the right job.

The Happy Planner

Onto my news. This week, I applied for The Happy Planner ® planner squad. The squad is group of people (fans) selected to represent the Happy Planner as ambassadors online and on social media.

Until now, I’ve been too intimidated to apply for the planner squad. Too afraid of the rejection, if I’m being honest. But I’ve had so many people encourage me to apply this year because they know the deep devotion I have for the Happy Planner. They saw the transformation I had when I first discovered it in 2015. They see me share it enthusiastically with everyone I meet. As one friend put it, “you’re already an influencer because of everyone you introduced it to – this just makes it official.”

If you want to read my full sappy love story with the Happy Planner, read my post, How the Happy Planner Changed My Life. I realize the odds are against me. The Happy Planner fanbase is bigger than ever, but it’s like the lottery. Someone has to win and you’ll never win if you aren’t playing. It’s a dream of mine.

Can I tell you a secret? I almost feel ridiculous for even trying.

It feels impossible to be selected, but we have to chase our dreams no matter how silly or unlikely they might seem to others. Don’t give up on your dreams. Giving up is the surest way to fail.

happy planner, jobs and hope

Hope

The past twelve months has seemed like a “a losing season.” There was lots of loss (friends, family, jobs). But I have hope that things are about to change. Hope is the happy anticipation of good. It is the belief that good things will happen regardless of current evidence. Through hope, we know our situation can change, for the good, in an instant.

I have hope. I believe God has good things in store for us. He can give Dan the right job and me the planner squad. He’s bigger than any road blocks. But even if he doesn’t, I know he still has good, amazing plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11). I know there are still good things on the horizon, even though things feel bleak now. I have hope.