If you’ve been following my blog for awhile now, you know that I am pretty obsessed with all things Erin Condren Design, most especially the Life Planner. I’m on my second Life Planner now, which I use for scheduling all of my posts and videos and for planning my web content. I’ve received requests to compare the Life Planner to a planner by Plum Paper Design since they are both similar in size, basic style, and calendar layout.
The Plum Paper Planner and Erin Condren Life Planner look quite similar at first glance. They’re both roughly the same size, with a reinforced cover on front and back as well as a spiral coil binding. Both planners include month on two page spreads and week on two page calendars with laminated monthly tabs along the righthand edge. You can also order additional months from 2014 for each planner. The calendar layout is similar, aalthough there are quite a few organizational and stylistic differences which I will explore more thoroughly in this post.
Plum Paper Planner
The Plum Paper Planner is designed by a stationery company based in San Diego, California. In addition to planners, Plum Paper also has a wedding collection sold in stores. They sell not only regular calendar planners like the one I am sharing today, but also ones designed for Teachers, Students, and Families, as well as Fitness, Wedding, and Meal planners. They also carry a line of spiral notebooks. All of these items can be personalized and come in a nice range of designs. The regular planner is offered in 48 different cover options. This 12-month planner is sold through Etsy and retails for $31 plus a $10 shipping fee in the US. It is available for shipping to the US and Canada only.
My Plum Paper Planner shipped out about four weeks after ordering, as indicated in the listing, and arrived within a week of shipping. It came in a plastic overwrap and was packaged in a padded mailer. The planner measures 7.5″ wide x 9″ long x .75″ thick with a 1″ coil. It weighs approximately one pound three ounces. The translucent frosted plastic cover on both the front and back protects the printed card stock with the cover design. The planner is bound spiral style with a thick metal coil. Each planner can be customized with a personalized name on the cover.
Please note – Plum Paper has updated the policies page on their Etsy shop since this post went up with clearer information about their offerings. They also offer customization on each planner including color changes, font changes (substitute any font that they offer on their other planner designs), adding a second line of text, removing the year, and adding a photo or monogram.
I couldn’t find any information on what weight paper they use, but it feels fairly heavy with little to no bleed through and has a bit of a slip to it. The interior pages begin with a cover sheet and a 2015 at-a-glance calendar spread on two pages. The bulk of the calendar follows with card stock dividers for each month and laminated tabs flanking the righthand side in subdued pastels that match the design color scheme nicely. Each monthly section is flanked by a lined note page. At the end of the calendar there is a two page spread for special dates broken down by month, a contacts sheet, major US holidays for 2014, 2015, and 2016, as well as a 2016 at-a-glance calendar on one page. There is a card stock double-sided horizontal pocket page at the very back of the planner. The planner is printed and bound in the US.
The bulk of the planner is dedicated to twelve months of dated pages. As I mentioned before, each month is divided by white card stock with a colorful laminated tab. The tabs are not printed on both sides (the back side is left white). Each month begins with the two page monthly spread calendar with some colorful details that match the coordinating tab. The monthly spread is well designed to maximize space, with clear boxes and ample room to write. Major US holidays are printed in grey without interfering with the design. The left margin includes lined sections for listing birthdays and special events, as well as a blank area for notes.
The week on two page spreads are designed vertically and each day of the week is allocated a column. There are four different weekly spread options you can choose from when ordering, including days broken down by “Morning, Afternoon, and Evening,” days broken down in 30 minute increments, days broken down with just lines in each column, and lined note pages instead of weekly spread pages. I chose the days with blank lines version. All three dated weekly spread options are organized vertically and include a column on the lefthand side with a small at-a-glance calendar for that month, a bullet point lined weekly checklist, and a blank section for notes. There are a few discreet color details, but otherwise the design is very simple and streamlined. The bottom of each day’s column includes a three point checklist.
Add-ons for an additional cost include monthly bill trackers, sticker sheets, note pages, cleaning charts, checklists, extra contacts sheets, a photo design on the cover, and a design proof.
Erin Condren Life Planner
The Life Planner is a product by Erin Condren, a stationery and accessories designer who turned a hobby into a burgeoning business. The amount her company has grown over the last few years is amazing! Erin Condren Designs creates not only their gorgeous planner line, which includes the Life Planner, a Teacher Lesson Planner, Wedding Planner, and Address Book, but also other gorgeous stationery items such as customized spiral notebooks, stationery, invitations, and address labels. They also offer a gorgeous acrylic accessories line, travel items, office supplies, and more. The Life Planner is available for purchase through their website with 75 different cover designs to chose from and customizable options including personalization and color schemes. The 12-month planner costs $50 ($65 for the platinum and $75 for the gold foil editions) with basic personalization plus $7.95+ shipping within the US. The planner is available internationally, but shipping prices do go up and customers are responsible for any customs or taxes on their end.
My Erin Condren Life Planner shipped about two weeks after ordering, as indicated on the product page, and arrived within a week (I opted for the $9.95 Fedex Ground shipping, which I highly suggest for just $2 more than the lowest rate since it is so much faster). It came packaged in bubble wrap and tissue in a decorated cardboard box.
The 12-month planner measures 7.25″ wide x 9.25″ long x .75″ wide with a 1.15″ coil and weighs just under one pound two ounces. This is where the similarities in design to the Plum Paper Planner end for the most part. The Erin Condren Life Planner includes a cover made with a vibrantly printed cardstock and heavy duty 10 mm lamination for durability, which also makes it easy to wipe clean. The covers in the 2015 range are now interchangeable and they offer many designs for sale so you can switch the look of your planner up at any time and use the covers from year to year. The aluminmum coil is the sturdiest of all the spiral bound planners I have reviewed thus far and unlike any I have seen on other notebooks. Each Life Planner comes with a snap-in ruler to mark the current week.
The planner pages are printed on 70 pound paper that works well with both ball point and felt tip pens with no bleed through. The interior is vibrant with color and the Erin Condren design motifs are everywhere. This is definitely more of a playful design than the Plum Paper version. After the cover page there are a few design pages, a 2014-15 at-a-glance calendar spread on two pages, and then the calendar. At the end there is a section of both lined and unlined note paper with its own designated tab. A 2016-17 at-a-glance calendar on two pages follows the note section. There are four sticker sheets included, two of which are printed and two left blank. The double-sided “Keep It Together” folder is made from a satin printed card stock with a deep pocket. There is a vinly zip pouch at the very back of the planner which comes stocked with twelve personalized gift labels, a few “let’s get together” cards, and a couple of spiral paper clips. The Life Planner is printed and bound in the US.
The 2015 Life Planner also comes stocked with a removable perpetual calendar booklet for special dates and important contacts, which makes it easy to use year after year without having to write everything over again.
Just like the Plum Paper Planner, the majority of the Life Planner is dedicated to dated calendar pages. The Life Planner, however, does not include monthly dividers. The colorful monthly tabs are laminated and popped right onto the monthly spread calendar pages. The tabs are double-sided. As you can see, the Life Planner calendar designs include a lot more color and pizazz, although I feel that they do not sacrifice much calendar space. The month on two page spreads include a colorful bold header with the month and a motivational phrase.. There is a lined section on the righthand margin for notes. Major US holidays are notated in small print with a very subtle design flourish. The calendar itself is clear and easy to navigate with ample room to write. The week on two page spreads immediately follow the monthly calendar and use vertical organization just like the Plum Paper Planner. There is no choice in the weekly layout with the Life Planner, however. Each day is allocated a column which spans the length of the page and is divvied up into Morning, Day, and Night blank sections with a smaller lined section below. Each month follows a two-tone color scheme. The lefthand margin includes a small at-a-glance calendar for that month with a lined section for Weekly Goals & Notes. There is a bubble like design separating this from the daily calendar columns.
There are a variety of accessories available for purchase for the Life Planner, including the option to add a photo to the front and/or back of your planner, a design proof, the aforementioned interchangeable covers, extra snap-in rulers, elastic bands (the foil editions come with one), a pen holder, and the new coil clips, which allow you to pop extra items such as invitations and announcements right into the coil and move them around your planner as you see fit.
You can receive $10 off your first purchase when you sign up for the Erin Condren newsletter (which means you receive the occasional email on current promotions and new products from them) by clicking here.
A Note About the Coil Binding
I was very disappointed when my Plum Paper Planner arrived with a damaged coil. The bottom two rungs are bent so out of shape that it affects how easy it is to turn the pages. The planner does not lay perfectly flat because of this. I believe this damage occurred in transit and could have been prevented with better packaging. That being said, while the Plum Paper Planner coil is certainly stronger than those of the Simplified Planner and Day Designer which I reviewed last week, it does not compare to the strength of the Life Planner coil. Its durability is quite impressive and, like I said, I have yet to see its equal in any other spiral bound planner or notebook.
Please note – I have spoken with Plum Paper since the original posting about the damage and they sent a replacement. They have also informed me that all planners will henceforth be mailed out in boxes, which should help prevent damage in transit. My replacement planner came packaged in bubble wrap in a box with a paid USPS envelope to send the original planner back to the company.
Check out my coordinating video if you’d like a closer look and to hear my thoughts on each planner:
I wanted to share the planner love with you so I am hosting two HUGE giveaways!
Giveaway #1 is a big Erin Condren Gift Card giveaway. There will be TWENTY-FIVE winners! The Erin Condren ECLP Gift Card Giveaway will run until Monday, November 10, 2014 at 6 PM CT. The giveaway is open internationally (you can find information about Erin Condren international shipping costs here). All entrants under the age of 18 must have parental permission to enter. Twenty-five winners will receive a $100 electronic gift card for use at ErinCondren.com. You can enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter widget posted below (check out this blog post for more information on entering Rafflecopter giveaways). I’ll announce the winners on THIS blog and post contact the winners directly through email. Good luck!
*** GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED ***
Congrats to the winners of the Erin Condren ECLP Gift Card Giveaway!
The Poll Results for *Which planner do you like best?* out of 3299 entries:
Erin Condren Life Planner (2977) 90%
Plum Paper Planner (322) 10%
Giveaway #2 is a massive Plum Paper Planner giveaway generously provided by Plum Paper Designs. Twenty-five of you will win one of Plum Paper’s beautiful 12 month regular planners. That’s right, another TWENTY-FIVE winners! The Plum Paper 2015 Planner Giveaway will run until Monday, November 10, 2014 at 6 PM CT. The giveaway is open to US participants only. All entrants under the age of 18 must have parental permission to enter. Twenty-five winners will receive a Regular 12 month Plum Paper Planner of their choice. You can enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter widget posted below (check out this blog post for more information on entering Rafflecopter giveaways). I’ll announce the winners on THIS blog post and Plum Paper will contact the winners directly through email with instructions on how to pick out and receive their planner. Good luck!
*** GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED ***
Congrats to the winners of thePlum Paper 2015 Planner Giveaway!
The Poll Results for *What would you like to see as a new add on for Plum Paper planners?* out of 1182 entries:
Shopping List (728) 62%
Gift Giving List (193) 16%
Travel Checklist (167) 14%
Something else (94) 8%
Sometimes Rafflecopter experiences technical difficulties. If you can’t enter for some reason, try again later and it will probably work.
While the two planners share some basic similarities in size and layout, there is quite a disparity in price. I believe you get what you pay for in opting for the more expensive Life Planner, as it feels sturdier and comes with more design features and extras built right in than the Plum Paper Planner. Plum Paper does offer a great variety of add-on pages for an additional price and more customizability within the calendar itself. The choice comes down to personal taste and price. Both are, in my opinion, lovely customizable options with great features that really highlight the calendar with room for planning. Big thanks to both companies for their generosity and amazing designs!
Check back next week for another planner comparison style review!
* Post contains referral links. The 2015 ECLP was sent to me for consideration. I purchased the 2014 ECLP and Plum Paper Planner with my own money. I am using my Erin Condren referral credits to provide the Erin Condren giveaway prizes. Plum Paper is generously providing the Plum Paper planners as prizes. This is not a sponsored post or video. All opinions are genuinely my own. *