So, you want to get into the wild world of planning, but you don’t know where to start? Despite having used a paper planner since middle school, I remember how confused I was when I first started getting into more modern planning and planner decorations. There wasn’t a lot of information out there at the time, and since I already had this blog, I started adding tips and tutorials here to provide the help I wish existed when I started.

I started adding tips and tutorials here to provide the help I wish existed when I started

I’ve grouped the content below so you can (hopefully) get straight to the information you want. Here we go!

Note: This page contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, I’ll make a small commission at no charge to you. Contact me if you have any questions. I’d love to hear from you!

Planner Start Here: Which planner should I get?

Spring Floral Plan with Me Washi Tape Only | Erin Condren Vertical PlannerIf you don’t have a planner yet, you may be wondering, “Which planner is best for me?” There is an overwhelming number of options. To be honest, I haven’t tested out that many. I loved the paper planners I used back in school, but I found those were mostly geared towards…well, school.

Luckily one of my good friends showed me her planner. It was love at first sight. But as I looked into it more, the planner had everything I was looking for. The planner: the Erin Condren LifePlanner.

Why I Love the Erin Condren LifePlanner

  • The LifePlanner has both weekly and monthly spreads (a baseline requirement for me)
  • I loved the positive messaging throughout the planner
  • It was colorful, and the customizable cover was fun
  • The materials are high quality
  • Plus, I loved the well thought out features:
    • Lined and unlined blank pages
    • Mini calendars for quick reference
    • Stickers included
    • Folder in the back
  • And my friend loved it and I trusted her feedback

And every year, the Erin Condren team incorporates customer feedback to make the next year’s planner better than before.

Part of the reason I haven’t tested other planners is because I love this one so much. However, new options have popped up over the years. Many of my planner friends also like: The Happy Planner, Kikki K, the Day Designer, and ban.do planners.

Update: I’ll be trying the Happy Planner (in addition to my ECLP) for the first time in 2019!

Save $10 on Your First Erin Condren

If you want to save $10 on your first Erin Condren, you can use my referral link to set up your account. I’ll also get a little credit, so it’s win-win.


Planner Start Here: How do I use my planner?

Once you have your planner, you may be super excited to start using it. Except now you may be asking, “How do I use this thing?

I could write (and plan to write and make a video) about all the many ways you can use your planner. But since you’re just starting out, this could be overwhelming. For now, I suggest starting small. Sometimes too much information can lead to analysis paralysis.

Don’t worry about things not being perfect or beautiful or whatever. You’ll have plenty of upcoming spreads to refine. The bigger fear should be not using your planner at all. This is one of the common challenges. I know I’ve skipped plenty of weeks myself.

Where Should I Start with My Planner?

Start small. I recommend adding two things for now:

  • Your to-do list
  • Events

That’s it. To start. From here, look at what other planners are doing and experiment. That’s the best thing you can do. Try different things. See what works and doesn’t.

Where to Get More Ideas*

Look at how others are using their planners. This is where I learned new ways to use my planner. There are so many creative planners out there! You can find them on YouTube, Instagram, and even join thousands of fellow planner lovers in planner-Facebook-groups.

Here’s where you can get more planner ideas on this site:

So many great planner tips and ideas in one place! Click for tips for beginners to longtime planner lovers, plan with me videos, photos of layouts since 2015, organization tips, and my favorite planner supplies. So much fun and inspiration! #planner #organization #erincondren #happyplanner #plannerideas

My main Planner Page is the main hub of my planner content – it links to all of my other planner-related pages and some blog posts

Planner Decoration Ideas

For example, I made this Planner Decoration Ideas Page to share my previous layouts and give you ideas on how to use your planner

I also made this Pinterest board with my spreads and this one where I share more than just mine

Check planner-related hashtags on Instagram (for example: #plannerlove, #erincondren, and #plannergeek)

Watch Plan with Me videos on YouTube – I have several on my YouTube channel and I’ve also linked them here on The Chic Life

*You can also use these ideas to discover new ways to decorate your planner – see decoration section below


Planner Start Here: Which planner supplies should I buy first?

I remember when I first jumped into planner decorations, I was SO excited to get decorating. But, I didn’t know where to go. Or what to buy. I tried going to Michael’s, but most of their stickers were raised and didn’t lay flat. And they didn’t seem to fit my planner well. They had some washi tape options. But, I knew there must be more options elsewhere. There are!

There are many more options for planner supplies out there, mostly online. Though I have found some good things at my local craft stores. I learned through trial and error what worked best. Thanks to Amazon Prime, I can even sometimes get my supplies delivered to my home faster than going to the store.

Essential Planner Supplies


To simplify things, I wrote this post and made a video to share my picks for top 5 Essential Planner Supplies.

Ultimate Planner Supplies - Pens | Planner Decorations

My Ultimate Planner Supplies List is available here, but I do recommend starting small so you don’t buy more than you need.

Planner Decoration Supplies | The Chic Life |#mychicplanner

My main Planner Supplies page is here – this has the list of my favorite Etsy shops and other shopping recommendations.


Planner Start Here: How do I decorate my planner?

Got My Planner. Time to decorate it!

So you can’t wait to decorate your planner, but you don’t know how? I created this page, How to Decorate Your Planner, just for you.

Just like any type of decoration, planner decorating is very subjective. The best recommendation I can make is to look at a bunch of styles and see which you gravitate towards.

Some Planner Decoration Styles I’ve Seen

  • Minimalist – pen only / light decorations
  • No white space – the whole planner is full of stickers
  • Mix of washi tape and some stickers – this is the style I usually do
  • Stampers – stamps are used to decorate with different ink colors
  • Mix of everything

Why Decorate?

If you’re interested in decorating your planner, you’re probably like me. You want to make planning more enjoyable. For me, if I enjoy something, I’m more likely to continue. This has been true for me with planning, which is why I continue to do it.

If you don’t like decorating, don’t do it. If too many stickers stress you out, use less. Make this planner yours. And always remember to enjoy it in your own way!

How to Use Washi Tape in Your Planner (For Beginners)

One of the easiest and most affordable ways to decorate your planner is to use washi tape. I remember when I got my first rolls of washi tape. I’d heard it was amazing. But now I was like…what do I do with this stuff?

I spent hours looking at how others were using washi tape on Instagram and then started experimenting myself. To help others new to washi tape, I made this video with 6 easy ways to use washi tape in your planner:

Click here for the How to Use Washi Tape in Your Planner blog post – with photos!

How to Decorate and Use Your First Weekly Planner Spread

Click here for the photos and blog post for the Plan with Me – Your First Weekly Planner Spread

Some of My Layouts

Click to see how I decorate my planner without using any stickers or washi tape (no Etsy!) | Plan with Me: Christmas No Washi Tape, No Stickers | Erin Condren 2018 #erincondren #lifeplanner #planner #planning #erincondren #plannerdecorations #plannerideas Having a planning session. Woop! Click to see how I use this fun summer planner sticker kit in my Erin Condren LifePlanner weekly layout. Hint: It's nice and simple yet color look with plenty of space for writing with some stickers and lots of washi tape. Planner decorations are fun! #erincondren #lifeplanner #planner #planning #erincondren #plannerdecorations #plannerideas 

Click a photo above to see more about the planner decorations and supplies used for the layout.

You can see more of my planner layouts on my Planner Decorations Page here.


Planner Start Here: Want more planner tips?

Subscribe to my email newsletter for a free download. I’ll also email you when I have new Planner posts and/or videos published so you can be the first to get to my latest tips and tricks!

Read More of My Planner Posts

From my main Planner page, you can access even more planner tips, tricks, and tutorials.

Click here for my latest planner-related blog posts


Thank you so much for reading. I hope you found this post and the linked content helpful as you start on your planning journey.

If your planner friends would find this information helpful, please share this page with them. Here are some graphics you can post on Pinterest, Facebook, etc. You can even use the share buttons below for easier sharing. Cheers!

So you have a new planner but you have no idea where to start?! Start here! I've gathered my best beginner planner tips to help you use and decorate your planner with videos and photos of my actual layouts. Plus much more! #planner #organization #erincondren #happyplanner #plannerideas

New to Planning? Start here for Planner Beginners - everything you need to get started planning