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Erin Condren Life Planner Binder Review: Home run or epic fail?

Is Erin Condren’s Life Planner Binder a home run or epic fail? My latest planner review gives you all the details in this honest Erin Condren Life Planner Binder Review.

An Honest Erin Condren Life Planner Binder Review. Is the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder a home run or an epic fail? Find out in this review with pictures, pros, cons and a FREE ultimate planner comparison. #planner #plannerreview #erincondren #plannercomparison

 

Note: Erin Condren provided this planner to me for review. All opinions expressed are honest and my own. This post may contain affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links may provide a small commission to me at no extra cost to you. Refer to my Full Privacy Policy and Disclaimers here.

 

Erin Condren is known for her high quality, beautiful coil-bound planners that are customizable with interchangeable covers and oodles of gorgeous accessories. So what happens when Erin Condren tries her hand at developing a binder system? The results are not quite what her die hard planner fans expected and I’m here to give it to you straight. The good and the bad so you can decide if the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder is right for you.

 

Erin Condren Life Planner Binder Options:

 

The Erin Condren Life Planner Binder* comes in 5 different cover colors:

  • Colorful kaleidoscope with gold rings
  • Neutral kaleidoscope with silver rings – the one I have
  • Blush with gold rings
  • Sapphire (navy) with gold rings, and
  • Charcoal with gold rings

 

All insert pages are 18 months(!) of weekly planning pages. That means this is a hefty binder and there really isn’t much room to keep any additional pages. If you plan to carry this back and forth to school and work, I would suggest taking out 6 to 12 months and storing it elsewhere if you can.

 

You can choose from 3 different layouts of pages and 2 color schemes (colorful and neutral which is pale greys, blues, greens, purple and pink)

  • Vertical (only colorful is available now)
  • Hourly Vertical (only colorful is available now)
  • Horizontal (colorful or neutral available now) – I have a horizontal neutral

 

The vertical layout has three boxes per day so you can customize any way you like. I’m a functional planner so I really do use all the space in each of the boxes. I normally make lists of things I want to get done, I hardly use stickers to decorate and if I do, they are usually small to take up any unused space after the week has finished. Some ways I recommend using the three divided sections:

  • Morning / afternoon / evening
  • Home / Work / Family
  • Must do for appointments and top 3 priorities / Would Like to Do (want to get done) / Gratitude and Small Victories
  • Me (Self care and health) /Family members /Meals
  • To go / to call or text / to do at home
  • Morning routine / to do / evening routine

 

The hourly vertical layout has hourly blocks starting at 6 am and ending at 10pm for all 7 days of the week. This is a great option if you have a lot of appointments/meetings, like to keep track of your time to boost productivity, or want to time block your days.

 

The horizontal layout has one wide block with lines and a blank smaller block to the right so you can keep important reminders or notes in it. I chose this layout for the planner I’m reviewing for you because I have used a vertical for so long that I wanted to see how/if the horizontal would work for me.

 

In years past, I’ve always had the colorful Erin Condren planners and I’m not crazy about the different colors they chose (I could have done without orange, peach and dark green). I LOVED the neutral color scheme of pale greys, blues, purples and greens so I got the horizontal also because that was the only one still available in the neutral color scheme and I am so glad that I chose it.

 

Erin Condren Life Planner Binder 2019 Features

 

These planner specifications and what’s included are taken from the Erin Condren website* as of the date of this post. Please check their website for most up to date info.

 

  • Dimensions: 8.57″ x 10″ x 1.75″
  • Book Cloth-Wrapped LifePlanner™ Binder featuring thick & rich 80# Mohawk paper, 8-ring signature binder system, 18 month calendar & inspirational quotes throughout.
  • Signature binder system
  • 18 month calendar
  • Mini months
  • Monthly Quotes
  • Monthly notes and productivity pages
  • Dated monthly, weekly spreads
  • Additional notes in the back
  • Coloring and Dot Grid Pages
  • Inspiration Board and Contacts page
  • 4 sticker sheets
  • 1 Keep It Together Folder

 

Walkthrough of the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder in Pictures

 

The Cover and Rings

 

I love the neutral kaleidoscope cover I chose, see how it perfectly matched the Ocean Dream paint color in my room?! I couldn’t have planned that if I tried! 

 

The Erin Condren Life Planner Binder in the neutral kaleidoscope is gorgeous and sturdy to hold the 18 months of weekly pages.

 

I told you I’m a neutral girl through and through, I find neutrals calming and relaxing and when you live in a house with 4 boys, you need peace and serenity wherever you can find it!

 

The binder cover is pretty sturdy and made of a hard board material. We will see how it stands up to continued use.

 

The rings are a little difficult to open and close since there aren’t any tabs on either end.

 

 

My Two Cents on Decorating Your Planner

 

I hear lots of people say they don’t want to buy an Erin Condren because they feel like they have to decorate it like they see so many do on Pinterest and Instagram. I say, don’t let that stop you!

 

I think planner peace is attained when you use the planner how and when YOU need it. Don’t put pressure on yourself, your planner is your space to do as you like. Make it your own even if that’s just a scratched out list of things you’ve’ done. If you feel inspired to be more creative and have time then do it. If you don’t, then don’t.

 

I’m a pretty functional planner so in all the planners I’ve reviewed, I really fill in all the space with things to track and to dos. In fact I’ve yet to finish a pack of stickers. That’s just my style and what I have time for, I love seeing everything I’ve accomplished when I flip back through it.

 

The good thing about the Erin Condren planners* is that they are sooo pretty on their own. It really doesn’t need much decoration in my opinion. So although I have a ton of colored pens which I will test out for you, I think I’ll probably just use black pen and use the stickers that came with the planner because they are sooo gorgeous!! 

 

My only problem is that I haven’t quite settled on what I want to do with each page so I’ve given you a few options to get your creative juices flowing about how to best use the planner for YOU. 

 

18 Months At a Glance Calendar

 

The Erin Condren Life Planner Binder 18 months at a glance

 

This is a nice overview of the 18 months covered in the planner. I have seen others used colored dots to signify school schedules and days off. I think I’ll be using Zebra Mildliner highlighters* for the same effect! 

 

The New Mindset, New focus 12 Boxes Page 

 

You can use the New Beginning, New Mindset, New Focus pages in the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder can be used for goalsetting, holidays, accomplishments, the best of the year and whatever you want.

 

There are 12 boxes on this page and I love that they didn’t label the boxes so we could customize it for how we need it. Here are some ideas I’ve been toying with using this page for: 

 

  • Monthly goals, commitments and projects
  • 12 week year goals and action plans
  • Projects by category (home, family, self care, work, etc)
  • Accomplishments 
  • Best of 2019-2020
  • Mindfulness activities by month or category (link to mindful day) 
  • Monthly intentions or focus
  • Mini Habit trackers 
  • Affirmations 
  • Favorite quotes 

 

 

 

The Monthly Dashboard 

 

The Erin Condren Life Planner monthly dashboard pages contains one full dot grid page, and a page with birthdays, monthly goals, a small lined box and a larger dot grid box.

 

This dashboard format is new to the Erin Condren Life Planners* this year. The dashboard includes:

 

  • A full dotted grid page 
  • A box for birthdays 
  • A box for monthly goals 
  • A lined box for a list 
  • A dotted grid section

 

I’m still trying to figure out how to best make use of each box!! I know that we don’t have that many birthdays each month so I’ll be changing it birthdays/events/due dates. And I’m still trying to decide the purpose for this planner for the rest of the boxes. I don’t need it for checklists since I have the Erin Condren Checklist Petite Journal* which has all my checklists in it and I love it! 

 

The Monthly Calendar 

 

The monthly calendar layout in the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder has large enough spaces to track appointments, your bills, your memories a day and a lined space for other to dos.

 

 

The monthly calendar has space for some notes and starts on Sunday. I keep my appointments on our family’s shared Google Calendar so I don’t use the monthly calendar for appointments. 

 

I like that the boxes are fairly large so you can put more in there. 

 

You know I like to make use of every planning space so here are some ideas for how I’ve used other monthly calendars in the past or might use this one: 

 

  • Small victories and happy memories
  • Gratitude 
  • Items decluttered tracker
  • Health tracker (water, what I ate, exercise/steps)
  • Top 3 priorities per day
  • Bills and expenses
  • Goal tracker 
  • Time blocks

 

 

The Weekly Layout 

 

The horizontal neutral weekly layout in the Erin Condren LifePlanner binder has a large lined space for your to do list or journaling and a smaller box for things you want to highlight like appointments. Saturday and Sunday has an equally large space and an extra space for anything else you want to note.

 

There are 3 weekly layouts to choose from (vertical, vertically hourly and horizontal) in 2 color options (colorful or neutral. Neutral is currently only available in the horizontal) 

 

I made some copies of a month so I could start using them in June and testing out how I wanted to plan in my horizontal.

 

There is one big space with lines and a smaller box with a dot for things you want to highlight. I think I will be dividing the big space into two rough columns. 

 

I’ve been using my Erin Condren On the Go Folio and Petite Planners* for my blog goals and tasks and GTD (Getting Things Done)* capture/ bullet journal collection lists. If I didn’t have that I would probably then use it for my top 3 priorities each for my home and blog like this: 

 

I tested out the weekly page layout by making one column for home priorities, one column for blog/work priorities and used the small box for appointments and meals. I used a separate next actions list as the Getting Things Done system recommends to keep track of tasks I wanted to get done during the week.

 

So I think I will use it for home and family tasks in one column and self care tracking in the other. In the smaller box I will put appointments and meals to cook (my must dos because feeding these growing boys is a full time job and a small fortune when we eat out). 

 

 

 

It drives me a little crazy that the weekly layout starts on Monday and the monthly calendar starts on Sunday. I really like Monday starts so that the weekend days are together.

 

 

The Notes Section

 

The notes section has the following pages included:

  • 2 lined pages
  • 4 dotted pages 
  • 2 coloring pages

Two of the lined pages in the Erin Condren Life Planner binder in the neutral color scheme.

 

The dot grid journal pages in the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder

The coloring pages in the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder. a floral and a hexagon design, perfect for coloring, goal tracking or mood tracking.

I think it would be interesting to turn the floral coloring page into a mood tracker like I’ve seen creative bullet journalers do on Instagram. You could use them as fun pen test pages too while you color.

 

Here are some ideas for the page with the hexagons:

  • A mission board for each different area of your life
  • A decluttering by room or Konmari method tracker 
  • Makeup’s our house our dream home tracker and ideas
  • a great tracker too for books read or puzzles I complete
  • a 12 week year goals overview

The hexagon and contacts pages in the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder in the neutral color scheme.

 

The Year Ahead page for future planning.

The year ahead page for future planning in the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder neutral color scheme.

 

I really wish there were more notes pages because then I could get my whole GTD system* in here. Since the binder is a new product, they haven’t made additional inserts or special hole punches…yet. I hope this product does well so they do make additional inserts. I think it would be fabulous!! I could finally have my home and blog management system all in one place!! 

 

I see that some people are uncoiling their old planners and taking out the notes pages to put them in the binder. They make it look easy, so I tried it. I have bad hands so I really struggled to get the coil out and I’m not sure now that I can get it back on the old planner. But, I did get the extra notes pages and unused stickers from the old planner into the binder so I was really excited about that!

 

Stickers! 

The hexagon sticker page is gorgeous in the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder in the neutral color scheme.

 

Two of the sticker pages in the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder neutral color scheme.

 

I’m not much of a stickerer but I absolutely love the stickers included in the Erin Condren Life Planner binder*. Some have rose gold accents and some are silver accents. They are all beautiful, I probably need to move them near the weekly layout pages so I actually USE them! That’s the beauty of the binder… I CAN MOVE THE PAGES! Can you tell I’m excited about that? (Sorry for yelling!)

 

 

Pocket and perpetual calendar 

 

The pocket and perpetual calendar in the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder in the neutral color scheme.

 

The pocket already has the perpetual calendar in it. It would be good if I actually used it to record birthdays but I pretty much know those by heart and I keep them in Google Calendar (and let’s face it, Facebook is great at reminding me). 

 

I think you could also use the perpetual calendar for things like: 

 

  • Recurring bills/expenses
  • Gratitude a day
  • Memory a day 
  • Accomplishments a day 
  • Weight or steps 
  • Gift list

 

I think that pretty much covers the contents and layout of the Erin Condren Life Planner binder*. Now time to give you the quick pros and cons. 

 

[bctt tweet=”See tons of pictures inside the @ErinCondren Life Planner Binder and honest review ” username=”momsvictories”]

 

 

Erin Condren Life Planner Binder Review: Quick Pros and Cons

 

Pros 

 

  • The flexibility! You can move the pages! It’s an 18 month planner and very full. So you could easily store 6 or 12 months worth of pages in another box and have more room if you wanted to add notes pages, sticker pages or pages from Erin Condren Life Planners past that you haven’t used yet (I could probably fill half the binder with unused extra pages from past planners). 
  • It’s beautiful! If you are inspired by pretty fonts, soothing colors and a little bit of bling, I think you will love this planner! 
  • It’s large! Lots of space to write in, especially like that for the monthly layout.
  • It’s a great deal! The coiled Life Planner is $55 for the 12 month version. The Life Planner binder gives you 6 more months of planning pages for just $5 more. 
  • The snapin accessories for your Life Planner are supposed to work in your binder also
  • Great for people who stay home, work from home or plan to leave their planner in one location.
  • You can always take out the pages if writing near the rings bothers you
  • Lies flat since it is a binder
  • The weekly format is great for planners like who tend to put too much on their daily to do list. The smaller space forces me to put just my top priorities in each space, it’s more manageable and I love being able to accomplish everything on my list every day. 

 

 

Cons 

 

  • As it comes, it’s heavy and quite large. I wouldn’t carry this back and forth as is, I would take some pages out if you need to transport it daily to work or school. 
  • There aren’t enough notes pages for my taste. I’m a GTD follower and chronic list maker to try and achieve “stress free productivity” so I need lots of room for my ideas (right now I keep all that in my Erin Condren on the go folio and petite journals)
  • There aren’t any additional inserts or a hole punch for it yet to be able to add your own pages, if they did this would be an ideal planning and GTD management system! 
  • There are no page protectors at the beginning and the end so I have to adjust the pages every time I close it so that it closes properly. I feel like the back pocket gets some wear and tear from that and looks like mine has bent a little after using it for a couple weeks. 
  • The paper is good and nice to write on but I can see shadowing on my pages just from their printing before I even write on it. If you are bothered by shadowing, you might not like this. 
  • The bookmark does not turn easily for me. I took it out.
  • I tried snapping in my old bookmark but one of the tabs broke off. That’s the only “old accessory” I tried to snap in.

 

 

Erin Condren Life Planner Coupon Codes and Sales

 

I like to help you save money on the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder* so I’ll try to keep track of good coupons and sales for you here: 

 

 

 

What are the best pens to use on the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder pages? 

 

I tried out the Erin Condren Dual Tip Markers* and they are very inky. On the Petite Journals, you can see shadowing of the darker colors. If you don’t mind shadowing and love colors then the Dual Tip Markers are the way to go. These would be great if you are color coding your tasks or want to add more color to your planner pages.

 

I really love the neutral color scheme, so for once, I don’t really feel the urge to color code my tasks. They are color coded in my GTD journal* but that’s so I can find quickly what needs to be done. Once it’s on my next actions list or in my planner, I don’t really need to color code.

 

Since I write a lot in my planner, I like a fine tip pen, it helps me write smaller so I can fit more in. I think that will help make any shadowing less obvious as well. I was using a Pilot G-2 0.38mm* when testing out my June pages and will probably continue using that.

 

When I’ve done the pen test, I’ll update the results here.

[bctt tweet=”Find out the best pens to use in the @erincondren Life Planner Binder here” username=”momsvictories”]

 

How does the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder Compare to Other Planners? 

 

Head to my ultimate planner comparison to see how the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder* compares to other planners in the Erin Condren line and other popular planner brands on the market like the Simplified Planner, Day Designer, Passion Planner, and more…

 

 

 

What planners are like Erin Condren?

 

I think the Happy Planners* are most like Erin Condren in terms of pretty layouts and graphics to inspire and motivate you. They are discbound so pages can easily be added and are more budget friendly.

 

If you like a neutral color scheme, then I think the Inkwell Press planners* are my favorite. They have spiral and discbound versions. 

 

If you like simple pops of color and simplicity tips, Simplified Planners are my favorite. 

 

 

The Bottom Line Erin Condren Life Planner Binder Review

 

I think this planner is gorgeous and great for people who are motivated and inspired by beautiful fonts and quotes to help them on their journey. It has plenty of space for your typical planning needs and can be customized easily if you need a planner dedicated to a specific purpose. 

 

 

Unless you plan on storing 6 to 12 months of pages in a separate box, I wouldn’t recommend carrying this back and forth from school or work. I think it looks beautiful on your desk or bookshelf when you are done with it. 

 

 

Some people feel pressured by the Erin Condren brand and Instagram and Pinterest users who heavily decorate or customize their planner. I say that you do you. This planner is plenty beautiful on its own that you can use just your favorite pen and it will still be awesome. The most important thing is to USE the planner the way it best serves you and makes you feel good to flip through it . 

 

I’m a big fan of the Erin Condren planners and pens because I think they are good quality and worth the money. It can even make the mundane things I put in there like laundry and cleaning bathrooms look pretty. I feel happy every time I open mine so I think it’s been worth it for me.

 

Buy the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder here*.

 

Want to see how the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder compares to 28 other planners on the market? 

Subscribe to my newsletter and download this free Ultimate Planner Comparison chart so you can see all the features and pick the perfect planner for you! 

Subscribe to my Planning and Productivity Newsletter and get the FREE Ultimate Planner Comparison Chart so you can see a side-by-side comparison of 11 of the most popular life and goal planners to determine the best planner for your needs, lifestyle and planning type.

 

More Planning and Productivity Posts:

Best Planner Reviews to Help You Get More Done in Less Time

20+ Tips and Tricks to Get More Done in Less Time

How to Start Journaling with Erin Condren Journals and Notebooks

 

So what do you think about the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder? I think it’s a gorgeous alternative for planners who keep their planners at home and want a way to organize their to do lists, goals or memories. You can easily customize this planner to suit your needs and it will inspire and motivate you to stay on track. I hope they create additional notes pages so this binder can be a complete home and work management system. Until then, it’s easy enough to uncoil other Erin Condren notebooks and put the pages into your binder. Happy planning! Let me know if you have any questions by leaving me a comment or emailing me at tanya{at}momssmallvictories{dot}com and I’d be happy to help! 

 

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Erin Condren Life Planner Binder: What You Need to Know Before You Buy. A thorough review of the Erin Condren Life Planner Binder and ideas for how to use it to maximize your productivity and get more done in less time.  #erincondren #plannerreview #productivity

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