At the beginning of 2014, five friends banded together to start a free project for starting and maintaining a planner that is as artistic as it is productive. They called their brainchild The Documented Life Project.
Although they maintain a blog called Art to the 5th, the majority of the action happens in the Facebook group. Thousands of participants share images of their planners and exchange tips.
So what do you need to participate?
- A planner. The group founders use Moleskine planners, but the members have used a wide variety of books to create their planners.
- Washi tape. Washi tape has become a catchall phrase for a wide variety of decorated tapes. The original washi tape was thin masking tape imported from Japan.
- Paper for tip ins. A tip in is a page that you add to a page that’s already bound in your book. Tip ins can be created with any kind of paper, but the group founders prefer watercolor paper.
- Art supplies. Depending on the level that you want to turn your planner into an art journal, you will want to use your favorite supplies and collage fodder to complete the weekly challenges.
Every week a challenge or prompt is assigned and how you complete it is open to interpretation. One of the first prompts was to add an image of your front door. Some people opted to use photos of their door while others sketched theirs. Some people instead chose images of the doors they wished they had. A few people used the prompt as inspiration to create a hinged page that opened to show images or journaling.
Like other creative projects of this nature, what you get from it is entirely up to you. You can use the idea to create the basic, embellished planner and never do another challenge or you can do the prompts in your art journal without ever having made a planner.
For my take on the project, I chose to buy the Moleskine planner, but I ripped apart my binding and bound it with a Bind It All. Instead of tipping in pages, I bound them as well. The end result is a little thicker, but it keeps the book from fanning open.
It’s not too late to grab a planner and join in. Work through the challenges you’ve missed or skip them, it doesn’t matter. Either way you’ll end up with a planner that you look forward to using. And for those of us who seem to suffer from being permanently disorganized, that is the first step to a less chaotic life.