What I Learnt From Using A Pocket Sized Midori Travellers Notebook

I have fallen out of love with my Filofax again. I know, I know, but there is not one road down the planner highway. Whilst a Filofax suits me very well with it's loose-leaf pages and total personalisation and adaptability, I still miss using a notebook. Even though I incorporated my Bullet Journalling into my Filofax I was still lugging a very heavy planner around with me for many reasons.

I recently bought two *Hobonichi-style notebook style covers (aka a 'fauxbonichi' - both from Etsy, one hand-made in the UK and one from Japan) but the planning system didn't work like I had it in my head (no surprise there then...).  Then, after watching a few quite a lot of YouTube videos, I realised that I was after a *Midori traveller's notebook style set up.

*For those that have never heard about Hobonichi and/or Midori planning systems, please see the notes at the end

Now, for me, trying out new planning systems is all about dipping a toe in the water and not wanting to invest too much money. Again, wandering through Etsy (oh, how I lose hours on there sometimes) I found another 'faux' version for a very reasonable price so I could try out the Midori lifestyle.  I already had some Field Notes notebooks that I was very much wanting to use and I had purchased a Moleskine 2015 diary.  All of the inserts I had to use were A6 size.

I watched more and more a couple more set-up videos and learnt how to use elastic loops to secure a few notebooks within the leather cover and was fascinated at how easy it was to incorporate any type of insert I wanted. I didn't need rings or pockets any more - I could order plastic and cardboard holders that would be held in by the elastic loops. Furthermore, dinky little paperclips and magnetic bookmarks would be my page markers.  I've filmed a little bit of a 'tour' around my new set-up if you like to watch that sort of thing: 


But I promised this would be about what I had learnt from switching to a pocket sized planning system.  So here goes...

  • "Pocket sized" is not the same as A6.  The pocket size notebook is ever so slightly smaller than A6 so the notebooks and diary I'm using at the moment are a smidgen too big for the leather cover.  This isn't a bad thing because it's helped me to get used to finding my way around the order of notebooks (is that the next Harry Potter movie?) and inserts that I need(ed).
  • I've never been able to get to grips with a Filofax smaller than a Personal size, I think mainly because the rings always got in the way of writing on the left hand side of the page.  In a small(er) notebook there isn't that issue and the way in which the notebooks are connected within the Midori means that it almost always lies flat.
  • I don't need as many 'sections' (or notebooks) as I did in my Filofax. I used to have up to 19 tabs in my Filofax (6 regular sections and 13 bullet journal sections) and now I just have two pocket inserts, two notebooks and a diary.
  • It's far too easy to get carried away with needing inserts so knowing that I have to limit myself means that I'm using the notebooks much more effectively.  I'm also probably going to use them right to the last page too - almost unheard of for me.
  • The smaller size fits in my hands and in my bag better. I'm a very tactile person when it comes to my planners (one reason I fell in love with my Kensington Filofax - it was very soft and flexible leather) so to have a bendy piece of leather to wrap around some notebooks that I really wanted to use feels very natural and touchy-feely.
  • This is just the start of my relationship with the Midori. Because you can use inserts that are not necessarily branded or recommended, it becomes a much more affordable and adaptable system.


So where do I go from here?  Well... I am going to invest in some pocket sized notebooks - the Paperways City notebooks from Bureau Direct (first seen here) are the perfect size. There is also a non-dated diary/planner from the same brand that I've got my eye on but at almost £20 it's on the expensive side and having everything in one notebook sort of negates the need for the Midori way of life. Oh, and for all those BOAT (Book Of All Things) lovers out there... DON'T PANIC! The BOAT is still very much in use as a brain dump.  It's great for working through ideas that I jot down in my daily lists, for doodling and for blog/vlog planning.

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For those who are not sure what a Hobonichi and a Midori are then please let me explain.  

The Hobonichi (or 'fauxbonichi' for a copy of this planning system) style planning system has only recently become available outside of Japan and they are generally used as a day-to-day diary and journal incorporated into one. Many people draw in them or use them as scrapbooks and their layout is a day on a page with additional sections for monthly planning and yearly planning.  They come with gorgeous covers which have secretarial pockets and business card holders.

The Midori (or 'fauxdori' or 'scottdori' in this case) style planning system is a piece of flexible leather with elastic threaded through it and around it to hold various notebooks together, The leather becomes scratched, used and matures as you handle and use the system and becomes part of the memories in the notebook.

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I'm all about supporting products I love so:

Etsy Seller for the Scotdori - Filofabulous (based in the UK)
Etys Seller for the Midori starter kit - PaperGeekMY (based in Malaysia)
Field Notes / Paperways notebooks - Bureau Direct (based in the UK)


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