A Beginner’s Guide To The Filofax: How To Plan Your Life, Kick Some Ass, And Make Magic… With Stationery!

Oh, organisation. It’s a fetish. I love anything that helps me get things done more effectively, and as such, I’m a diehard Filofax nut. I wrote about my Filofax back in 2010, but ever since I posted an Instagram video of my rainbow pages fluttering (see below), I’ve had multiple requests for an update on how I “do” my Filofax.

If you’re not familiar, Filofax is a system that has been around for years. I remember my parents using them back in the 80s! Essentially, you choose a binder — in a colour and size which works for you — and then fill it with paper. It’s an enormously flexible system, which is why its popularity is so widespread and longstanding.

Most people use their Filofax in a fairly basic way: they pick a black organiser, fill it with white paper, plan their life in it, and move on. That’s great, but it is simply not my way. I cannot help but personalise, prettify, and pimp everything I get my hands on. That’s why my Filofax is a RAINBOW EXPLOSION. Anything can be made fun if you have the right resources… And that’s what I’m sharing with you today!

Full disclaimer: Filofax have sent me items in the past, which I appreciate. But I’m so keen on their system that I spend plenty of my own money on it! In fact, nothing in this post was gifted or sponsored. Hope this makes things super-clear!

A video posted by Gala Darling (@galadarling) on


The size of organiser you pick will dictate everything else: how portable your planner is, the size of paper you buy, and the way you use it. After all, the teeny ones are no good for mind-mapping, while the A5 will be terribly unwieldy if you’re using it for grocery lists at the supermarket.

After years of using the Personal size, I switched to the A5 planner this year, which I adore. It’s much bigger than the Personal, and I find it’s easier to write in simply because the pages are wider. I keep it open on my desk, but it’s not so enormous that it’s impossible to take it with you when you go elsewhere.

A Beginner's Guide To The Filofax: How To Plan Your Life, Kick Some Ass, And Make Magic... With Stationery!

The organiser I’m using is the A5 Original Organiser: it’s simple and beautiful, and bright as hell! Hunting down this neon pink colour was a bit of a mission. I first saw it in KaDeWe in Berlin, and fell in love, but like many consumerist love stories, decided I “didn’t need it”. Of course, once I got back to America, I became consumed with lust and spent hours combing the internet for it, because the colour was out of stock. I ended up buying it on Amazon.co.uk, but thank god, Filofax UK is selling them once again! (Sadly, the US site doesn’t even have neon pink listed.)

If I wasn’t rocking a neon pink Original, I’d probably go for the electric blue Finsbury ($103) or the hot pink Domino ($39). As you can see, there’s a style for every price-point. Just another reason to pledge my undying love to their glorious system!


Filofax offers a variety of paper to fill your organiser, but it’s not exactly what I’d call fun paper. The majority of their offerings are on plain white, and they have some pastel colours, but they’re not very dynamic.

I say, why go white when you can go rainbow?!

My Filofax is filled with rainbow inserts from Kiddy Qualia. Her store is — somewhat frustratingly — only open a few times a month. If you want to stock up on rainbow paper, you have to be strategic and place your orders when you can!

In terms of day-to-day scheduling, I still love Google Calendar for keeping appointments on track. It synchs with my phone, so I always have the details where I want them. But there’s nothing like making plans and to do lists on paper, and this is where the Filofax is so helpful.

A Beginner's Guide To The Filofax: How To Plan Your Life, Kick Some Ass, And Make Magic... With Stationery!

Here’s what inside my Filofax, aka “the guts”. I love how easy it is to change things out: since everything is held together with binder rings, it’s trivial to flick them open and reshuffle the contents whenever you please.

Every Filofax should contain a couple of ziplock pockets — they’re perfect for holding onto bits and bobs, flotsam and jetsam. The ziplock pocket in the front of my Filofax is filled with sequins… Just because I can!

Next, I have my editorial calendars, which are month-to-a-page by Kiddy Qualia. That having been said, the squares are too small for my purposes, so in 2015 I’ll be using this double page version.

Behind my editorial calendars you’ll find my week-to-a-page schedule. I try not to overload each day with things to do, and stick to 3 major tasks. It helps me from feeling totally overwhelmed. I always add a couple of loose pages between the weekly pages, because I make so many notes about other things that need to be done, or ideas I have!


Then I have dividers which I use for containing particular projects. For example, all of the notes, to do lists, and ideas about my book are in there. The next tab holds all the jottings, dates and locations for upcoming events.

Lastly, I have about a million pre-made to do pages (also Kiddy Qualia). They have hearts all down the side. I love them, and I will probably never run out!


Dedicate a page to writing down your dreams Put your favourite photobooth strips into a clear envelope Create a miniature vision board on the front of each divider page!  Keep a gratitude page to add to whenever you’re feeling negative Organise all your plans — hotels, restaurants, must-sees and dos — for future holidays Write your goals on the first page of your planner Use washi tape to decorate certain pages  Go to an art supply store and buy stickers, puffy letters, and sparkly markers to make writing and planning more fun!  Create playlists  Plan blog posts  Document your favourite outfits 

There are so many ways to personalise your Filofax and make it your own. Go crazy! I’d love to see what you end up creating on the hashtag #filofaxmagic!

From one stationery addict to another,

Photos by the wonderful Janneke Storm.

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