National Notebook Day: How I am Combining My New Filofax With My Midori Traveler's Notebook.

(According to Filofax on Facebook)

I thought I'd get involved, seeing as today is National Notebook Day (part of National Stationery Week), and take the opportunity to show you my brand new Filofax, and how I am using it alongside my Midori Traveler's Notebook.

Firstly, Let's Talk About Notebooks...

Being a Writer, I always have to have a notebook with me, but that doesn't necessarily mean I always use it. That is why I decided to kick my notebook addiction and STOP purchasing pretty notebooks that I know I will never get round to using. Instead I have chosen to form a very personal relationship with ONE Notebook and one notebook only - my Midori Traveler's Notebook.

For those of you who don't know, the Midori Traveler's notebook is a simple notebook refill system which uses a simple raw piece of leather with elastic and string attached in such a way as to allow you to hold several slim notebook refills inside it. 

What Do I Use My Notebooks For?

Mainly I use mine for journalling - a daily brain dump of random things I have going through my head, and sometimes a more in depth exploration of thoughts, feelings, people and situations. My journal is like my best friend, who I go to for non-judgmental consolidation. Writing in there helps me to organise my thoughts, understand myself and live a happier and more productive life. I also use notebooks to jot down creative ideas for stories, characters, scenes and creative projects. I like to make lists and doodle too.

Why Have I Decided to go Back to Using a Filofax?

When I discovered the Midori Traveler's Notebook I abandoned all of my Filofaxes because I felt that my attention was divided, and that my filofaxes were preventing me from bonding with my gorgeous new leather notebook. The main appeal of the Midori is that it is a very personal possession which is intended to grow with you, and gain more and more personality as the leather is handled and acquires all the wonderful nicks and marks that make it so unique.

I wanted to use my Midori exclusively so I sold most of my Filofaxes and designed a weekly planner in one of the Midori Notebook Refills instead. In the end though, I found that whilst bound notebooks are perfect for journalling and sketching, scrapbooking and jotting things down because of the chronological and more 'permanent' feel to them, I essentially missed the 'organisational' aspect of having rings and being able to move inserts around as I planned my weekly schedule and daily tasks.

But the problem I now faced was that I didn't necessarily want to carry about my Midori Traveler's Notebook AND a bulky Filofax - If you are a Filofax lover you know exactly how bulky and cumbersome they tend to get! I needed a Filofax that was discrete enough to complement my Midori Notebook to create the perfect and complete portable system.

How I Solved My Filofax Problem

So the problem was that whilst I wanted the use of a Filofax 'rings' system for my everyday planning but I didn't want to start using a Filofax that would end up stuffed and take over from my Midori. I was lucky enough to find the perfect solution on Ebay...

I discovered (and won, so it was obviously meant to be) the slimmest and most discrete Filofax I have ever seen in my life. It is an old vintage Filofax so it doesn't have the model name or type embossed on it, but it does have the 'f' symbol embossed on the side and Filofax, Made in England, Real Calf printed in gold inside the back cover. It is good quality, durable black grainy leather with a slight sheen, and the rings are SO tiny (1cm diameter I think!) that it must be a slimline/compact.

It sits perfectly on top of my Midori and I have bound them together with a large clip that also acts as a pen holder. 

Why Have a Filofax and a Midori Traveler's Notebook?

Well as I have said, I personally prefer the flexibility and organisational aspect of being able to use the ring system of the Filofax to move inserts around when I am doing my daily, weekly and monthly planning, whereas I prefer to fixed chronology and sense of permanency I get with bound notebooks for journalling, doodling, sketching etc. I had toyed with the idea of trying to find a way to attach rings to the inside of the Midori, and I know that this has been done with Filofax Flex notebook binders, but I couldn't bring myself to go that far. I knew that I needed a Filofax that I would be happy carrying alongside my Midori.

How Am I Finding the Tiny Rings?

Normally I would definitely NOT be able to deal with having such tiny rings on a Filofax, especially if I were using the Filofax as my main organiser - I like to really stuff them! So you are probably wondering how I am dealing with such tiny rings. The truth is that they force me to use the Filofax specifically for what I intended - a day to day planner for the here and now - and the small rings encourage me not to carry around a load of inserts I am not really using on a day to day basis. I used to carry a whole year's worth of diary planning inserts plus excess paper which just wasn't necessary, and actually made me feel less productive because my Filofax became less focussed and less organised. As a result I was feeling more and more overwhelmed by it. 

Besides, if I start using my Filofax in that way it becomes more of a sentimental scrapbook of clippings and doodles rather than something useful, and then I would stop using my Midori. So now I reserve my Midori for all of that creative stuff, and keep the scheduling to the rings system. I love the tiny rings. - psychologically they make me want to maintain the Filofaxes slimness, and so I am constantly re-evaluating what I am really using in there and taking out inserts that have had their use. Having this minimal set-up is helping me to stay more focused and have a much clearer idea of what it is that I need to do right here and now. I design my own inserts and only draw up a month or two at a time. I intend to remove and archive the months as I go, because I have never had to look back four or five months for anything when I am out and about anyway.

I have to say there is something very satisfying about minimalism, and only using what you need.

I hope you all have a Happy National Notebook Day! Here are some more links to Notebook Posts I have written on Filofancy in the Past...


  1. This was interesting to read as I'm working through a similar problem. I bought a Slimline Filofax with the tiny rings about 10 years ago and eventually learned to adapt to the constraints, though only being able to incorporate a month on 2 pages calendar was always difficult. Over the past year or so, I've found myself using the Filofax less and less, while at the same time becoming lax about my to-do list (loosely based on GTD), so in March I decided to try a modified Bullet Journaling system using a staplebound Clairefontaine notebook.

    While that system has worked well, I need to have the other planner bits on hand as well, like a place to put coupons and stamps, my address book, etc., so I've made my own Midori-style leather cover with the elastic bands and put in my Bullet Journal notebook as well as the other DIY elements. So far I like being "ring-less," as it makes for easier jotting, but we'll see how it goes!

    1. Thank you Kate :) I had never seen such tiny rings before this one, so when i received it from ebay I really quite surprised. It's lovely to hold in your hand though, I was holding it while walking around Paperchase the other day shopping for accessories and it just felt 'right'.

      To be honest I'm not entirely sure how I will get on with them either, I am used to having stuffed organisers, but I really want to be more practical, and my real love goes to the Midori, so I don't want to risk not using that to its full potential.

      I keep hearing about this bullet journalling system, and I have to say I am now quite curious. I will have to look it up and see what it's all about.

      I do agree with you on the fact that no rings makes it easier to jot, I think that's why I was never able to use any of my Filofaxes happily for journalling or sketching or taking noted for any extended length of time. But I have definitely missed hole punching scraps of paper and rearranging bits and pieces for weekly and monthly planning. So yes, we'll see how it all goes.

      Thanks so much for you comments!

  2. Hi Zara, that's a smart and stylish winning combination! I love the look and the useful combo. I belief you brought up a clever solution that will work nicely - and help you focus on the essential stuff - in a Zen-like way. Well done& enjoy :-)

    1. Thank you Sylke :) It is a pretty smart combo isn't it? It feels a bit strange and wonderful to have a filofax small enough to focus only on the one thing, it really works. I succumbed to ordering a chocolate charleston compact on ebay last night, because I panicked when someone told me they were being discontined. I've had my eye on it for a while but have been put off the price. It was a bit of a guilty purchase, but I think it will be a nice alternative if the vintage doesn't work out because the Charleston rings are slightly bigger. It's always nice to have at least one spare Filofax i think, when you fancy a change of scene. So I will be posting about that after it arrives on Friday. Thanks so much for your comments x

  3. ok now I'm sold. I've used a filofax for over 20 years. I love it. But every time I see this Midori.........oy I just crave one. I also love bound notebooks, as you do. I must hunt for a Midori, yours is just beautiful!!

    1. Hehe, I know what you mean :) You can get some pretty good imitations on which are sometimes a little bit cheaper and come in a wider range of colours and materials. S far I am enjoying using my Midori alongside a very slim compact :) But the rings are rather tiny... So I'm still undecided.


Thanks for your comments and getting involved! :)