After reviewing so many planners over the past couple of years I have plenty of expired planners. No problem, I can still use them! If you bought a planner but it didn’t end up being quite right, you can also convert it into a lists book, or use it for goal planning, convert the weekly spreads into monthly planning pages etc. Here are some ideas:
1. Cover the dates
So obviously the easiest way to re-purpose a planner is to use it like you normally would and just cover the dates.
Some of my favorite date dot stickers:
- The ones that MAMBI includes with their undated planners
- anko brand from Kmart here in Australia
- Prima planner (they’re black numbers on white stickers paper so I add color using highlighters – see photo below)
- Reject shop (they only come in mint and pink though)
- Carpe Diem numbers sticker book
- Rainbow date dot stickers I made
- Dates in the journaling Happy Planner sticker book (black and gold)
Some of my favorite functional planner stickers
If you don’t want to re-number all of the dates of the calendar, think backwards. If you look at an annual dates at a glance calendar, there’s usually a few months of the year that start on the same day of the week and have the same number of days.
For example, October 2019 starts on Tuesday and has 31 days. This occurs again in December 2020. So you could go back to your old planner and cover up October with December and you’re good to go, you don’t need to cover up any of the dates or days of the week.
If there’s an extra date (e.g. you’re planning September using May from an old planner), you could just cover it up with an asterisk sticker and use that space to journal, goals, add a quote sticker, some washi tape etc.
Here’s an example:
If you don’t want to see the mini dates at a glance calendars underneath the sticker, use some whiteout tape and then place the sticker. I didn’t do it for this one but wish I had as you can see the month at a glance underneath.
This is the Recollections planner. I used:
- anko stickers from kmart
- Date dot stickers from the Reject Shop
- Mint color boxes and to do sticker from the colorful boxes Happy Planner sticker book
- Glitter washi tape. 10mm from my sister’s shop, Carefully Crafted. These are a similar size
There’s nothing wrong with Erin Condren’s Focused Planner (and it wasn’t expired at the time of using it), it just closely resembles the Mi Goals Planner, and having decorated that a few times with highlighters I wanted to do something different, so used gold days of the week sticker to cover up the days.
2. Pre-planning the week & weekly reflection / journaling
I shared how I pre-plan using one of Plum Paper’s layouts in this post.
Depending on the layout of the expired planner you have (planners with open-ended layouts work best e.g. I wouldn’t use a structured vertical hourly planner), it might be suitable to use it for daily journaling / weekly reflection.
3, Meal planning
You’re more likely to do meal planning at home which is a great time to use an expired planner, especially one you might have purchased and later realised the page size is too big, or it’s too heavy to carry around in your handbag everyday.
If you want to make your expired planner even more re-usable, use sticky notes for meal planning.
4. Planing by category
Use some header stickers to cover up the days of the week labels and instead plan the week by category, or turn the planner into a book of lists.
My favorite supplies for covering up sections/ text I don’t need:
- Washi tape (specifically glitter washi tape as it’s thick enough to cover up the text, most other washi tape is see through)
- Planner stickers – specifically blank box label style stickers
- Marker pens
- Whiteout tape (my favorite is the Keji brand from officeworks – it’s only $1 for 2 rolls)
- Blank colored rectangle label stickers that come in the back of some planners e.g. Erin Condren (just make sure you don’t leave it too long. I have some Erin Condren planners from 2017 and the stickers aren’t sticky anymore – I have to use a glue stick to adhere to the page)
- Text label / word stickers
- White pens
Sometimes stickers don’t want to stick to glitter washi tape. If that’s the case you could use glue, or just stick them above the glitter washi tape.
This spread could be used weekly with a top 3 for each day, or instead use it for monthly planning with 3 projects or goals for each category.
Using an expired planner is also a good time to use up your ‘dud’ stickers. As you can see there are 4 different shades of purple for the title stickers in the picture below. They’re actually all from the same template, just different print runs when my printer was running low on ink. If you have a sticker shop you can probably relate to keeping all the ‘seconds’ stickers – I just can’t throw out the ink tank when it might only be 80% used so I just keep printing until the ink runs out and keep the ‘wrong’ stickers that are in different shades for myself.
Foil washi is also thick enough to cover up existing text with no show through. A box sticker (the one below is from one of the MAMBI colorful boxes sticker books) can be used to cover up mini dates at a glance. Now this calendar can be used for any month.
To make sure you don’t see any of the existing text, use whiteout tape first and then place the sticker. I’d do this with all of the MAMBI stickers ( their sticker paper is thin).
5. Monthly goal planning
Not all planners come with monthly goal planning pages but you can convert the weekly spread of an expired planner and use that instead. Or if you want to try a different way of planning, plan by category instead of by day.
Use a different box for each goal for each area of your life. Some suggestions:
This is the Mini Happy Planner. I used whiteout for the days of the week and dates, stuck some simple box stickers over the top (from the MAMBI journaling sticker book) and now it can be used for April goal planning. Or add a month sticker over the top and use for any month.
I think I’ll try this with black pen and highlighting inside the sticker labels as well.
The Happy Planner Journaling sticker book has some nice labels that can be left as is, or add some color.
6. Secondary planner or bigger space for each day
Maybe there are things you want to plan but you don’t want to keep in 1 planner so you want to use a second planner e.g blog planning, homework study, fitness. Or maybe you don’t always need a second planner and only use one sometimes. Now’s the time to get one of your expired planners and use it as your secondary planner.
Another thing to think about, is creating a 4 page weekly spread. Let’s say you want to keep everything in one planner, you could take a horizontal weekly planner and cover up the days of the week for one of the 2 page weekly spreads with only Monday to Thursday. Now there are 2 boxes for each day (Monday and Tuesday would become Monday, Wednesday and Thursday would become Tuesday etc.) Then the second 2 page weekly spread could be Friday – Sunday with space for notes.
Another option is to go horizontal across the entire width of 2 x 2 page spreads. So in a planner like the Whistle and Birch (see photo below), you’d end up with 4 sections for each day. The left page could be for work, and the right side for personal stuff.
- The 1st 2 page Weekly spread = Monday – Thursday
- The 2nd 2 page weekly spread = Friday – Sunday + Notes
7. Project Planner
Cover up the days of the week and turn each of them into sections for a project you’re working on. You might sketch different layout ideas in what was previously each days’ boxes. This works well if you’re working on something big like planning an ecourse. Each module can have a box with all of the lessons in the module.
If you were doing a home renovation, you could use a separate box for the tasks and / or shopping list for that room.
Using an expired happy planner
If you have a Happy Planner, you’re probably already aware of all the refill pages to choose from! Then just flip the cover to the other side with the pattern / image that doesn’t have the year printed on it.
Where to find cheap planners
If you’re looking for discounted / expired / nearly expired planners, my sister has some in the clearance section of her shop (click here).
More planning tips
- How to choose the right habit tracker for your planner
- 15 Productive Things You Can Do In 15 Minutes or Less
- MAMBI Happy Planner Discbound Punch versus the ARC (are they compatible?)
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