this is my fourth erin condren life planner and the best yet. i say that every year, but somehow they make changes that i want. i’m still #teamhourly. this year’s planner has been simplified even more, which i actually like. some people think it’s too neutral, but i like the blank slate. i don’t use the hourly for the times, but i do plan chronologically.
if you’re interested in how i use the hourly format (because it is a little different), check out this video:
i went for the same format that i used last year: neutral hourly with a black coil. i like the black coil because it always looks good and never chips. i had problems with the rose gold a couple years ago and although i want a gold coil, i don’t want it to look bad since i know my planner goes through a lot each day from being carted around school and to and from home. although some people think the neutral is too neutral this year, i don’t think so. i like it! it’s a blank slate, which is exactly what i want.
so this review is very long, but oh so thorough! i’m so impressed with the changes that were made and the new options. i’m a loyal customer when the company listens to their buyers. EC has proven that she does this with this year’s changes. i’ve included a video where i walk-through the planner and give my thoughts but also some detailed notes below.
NEW paper quality – the paper is better this year. it is more dense and thick. i can tell a NOTICEABLE different from previous years.
NEW size options – it measures about 9 1/4″ (high) x 8 1/4″ (wide), which is perfect. not too big, not too small. there are also now two other options: small and large. but these are only available as hardbound and in only the vertical and horizontal formats.
NEW length options – you can choose an 18 month or 12 month. the 18 month is $5 more and worth it for me to create an academic calendar. you can also now choose between july 2017-june 2018 OR january-december 2018 for the 12 month format.
laminated cover – it’s sturdy and thick. it’s not going anywhere. if there are any issues with it, the EC company will replace it or give you credits. there’s also a new luxe option, but it’s permanent and i like the option to change.
cover customization – you can pick your cover and colors, classic or metallic. they are also removable so you could order another cover (for around $8-13 plus shipping) and put it on your planner whenever you feel the need. the new covers have a wet erase writing area inside the front and back covers.
heavy spiral coil – it’s super duty, heavy, and will not bend. they come in platinum, gold, rose gold, and black. there is an extra charge for any coil that is not platinum.
theme customization – you can now choose between colorful or neutral. both are beautiful this year, but i’m going with the neutral.
layout options – this is a personal preference thing. the options are: vertical, horizontal, or hourly.
vellum overlay – every planner comes with a pretty vellum overlay at the front. it matches your theme, colorful or neutral, in the new painted petals pattern.
ruler and planner bands – the clear ruler doubles as a page marker. it’s also the perfect tool to cut washi tape. the design is now even more subtle to see though it better. the elastic band is extra, but i love it. it keeps everything together when i’m on the go. they also come in new, different colors. (if you don’t want to splurge for the bands, you can totally use hair bands!!)
laminated tabs – they are durable and are not going anywhere. with the thicker paper, they’re even more sturdy.
goal page – the goal page has big boxes for you to do whatever you want with. i’m going to use mine as a planning space for my blog and youtube channel.
2 page monthly view – it’s enough room to see everything clearly. i like the monthly goal and to do list on the right too.
NEW monthly notes page and quote – now there is a newly redesigned notes page before each monthly calendar. the quote page is across from the notes page and right before the monthly view.
2 page weekly view – it’s organized so well this year. EC really listened to their customers and removed some unnecessary things. it’s much more simple and clean now. the fonts (in the neutral) are the same as last year and are gorgeous! you can also choose between the horizontal, vertical, or hourly formats.
NEW notes section – who doesn’t need a few notes pages? there are some lined and some blank pages along with some dot grid paper. this year, they also added four coloring pages!
NEW stickers – the stickers in the back of the planner are now foiled. they completely redesigned the stickers too. they’re much more versatile and pretty. AND they match the monthly colors, which is cool.
pocket and zipper pouch – every planner should have these two things. the pocket is reinforced to deal with wear and tear better. one side is also the new shorter pocket with a cute quote on it. the pocket design corresponds to whether you choose colorful or neutral. the pouch has the new pattern on it and is removable just like last year. a long coil clip is included so you can put it anywhere you’d like.
NEW accessories – new this year are the redesigned magnetic bookmarks, snap-in sticky notes in new patterns, different colors of wet erase markers, clip in bookmarks in new patterns, another designer sticker book, and new dashboards. i’m going to try the new sticker book. they’re too pretty to pass up!
there’s actually not as many bad things as in the past. they really stepped it up this year!
pay extra for name personalization – this used to be included. but now it’s extra. i think it bothers me because it used to be free and now i know the difference.
perpetual calendar – each planner comes with one. i don’t really get the point of them, so i gift mine to someone each year.
the coil size – with the thicker paper, the coil needs to be bigger. especially when i add in my stickers, it’s going to be a tight fit and i’ll probably have to uncoil and take out some of the pages.
the cost of the planner – it is $50 plus shipping costs for just the basic planner. at least the prices are the same as last year. – really, i understand why the planner is expensive. and it’s totally worth the money to me. this is a high quality product that i’ll be using every day as a planning tool and an artistic outlet. so i want it to be good. and any problems i’ve had in the past couple of years have been remedied by the company at no cost.
shipping costs – while the production speed has greatly improved, the shipping rates are high after being spoiled by amazon for years. the base rate (for anything) is $7.95 for s l o w USPS shipping. it goes up from there. the shipping time also starts counting when your order is ready to go. so you can choose next day shipping, but it could be 5-10 days before it is actually on a truck. also, the rates are the same no matter what you order. so your order could be worth $5 and you still have to pay the high shipping rates. i wish there was a cheaper option for the small things that could fit inside a mailer. this is why i always wait and make big orders. i also always go with the $9.95 3-5 day shipping because it is fedex or ups and you get a tracking number.