Office Max Portable Folding Cart


3 out of 5 stars

Office Max Folding Cart



  • large capacity for transporting things
  • wheels roll smoothly
  • can be condensed (when empty) to be compact
  • retractable handle
  • relatively inexpensive



  • awkward to move when not rolling i.e. when you need to pick it up
  • large and can get heavy when filled
  • pieces for holding the shape don’t attach the best, along the top
  • wheels are noisy (no sneaking up on anyone with this in tow!)



Once a month I volunteer for the CCFA (Crohn’s Colitis Foundation of America) where I facilitate a support group.  I bring brochures and handouts/articles for the attendees to take as needed.  When I started, I loaded everything into a large bag.  I created a binder with tabbed pockets for the handouts.  My shoulder would ache after a meeting from lugging it around that day, and then the bag strap started to tear.  I knew I wanted something rolling to lug the papers around in – it would just make things easier.  I considered many options and decided on this portable folding cart from Office Max.

Let me be blunt, I liked the price – at $20.99 it was affordable, unlike the roller and catalog cases which most often were over $100.00.  The folding cart also inspired an idea about changing how I would organize the articles I brought to each meeting, which has turned out to be quite successful.  The size allows me to have 2 smaller desktop hanging file organizers inside the folding cart organizing the paperwork for the meetings (one of which is pictured here).

Desktop File Organizer - one style I bought to live inside the folding cart

The larger of the desktop hanging file organizers is pulled out completely for each meeting and then sits on the table (more fitting for it’s name than living inside the cart most of each month).  The size of the cart of the file organizer makes it relatively easy to pull out and put back in.  Since the size of the cart is large, I also have room for a smaller file organizer that holds the brochures and sign-in sheets, this is also easy to pull out and put away as necessary.

Here's my own folding cart

I was admittedly surprised by the noise of the wheels.  You definitely will not be able to sneak up on anyone, yet the wheels seem to work on every surface you’d likely encounter.  The handle retracts and extends as needed.  There is a slight flimsy feel to it, though I have encountered no problems in the 6 months I have been using it.

As soon as I had filled it, I knew there would some areas that it would bother me.  Our home has stairs at both entrances – which means I have to pick the whole cart up and carry it up or down those stairs. (Yes, I considered leaving it in the garage, but this isn’t feasible.)  Since the cart is large, it is bulky and not convenient for carrying around, even short distances.  This applies to lifting it into and out of the trunk of the car.  Once I accidentally caught one corner as I was putting it down and cracked the plastic.  Fortunately the cart still functions as it had before this accident.

Another aspect of needing to pick it up and carry it however briefly – is that it gets heavy when you have things inside it.  This is rather intuitive – of course it’s heavy when it’s loaded with stuff.  The other aspect is that there are these little pieces of plastic that you attach to 2 sides of the top to help keep the square shape.  They live close to the handles you use for picking the cart up.  They don’t attach the best – most every time I pick it up, I need to push these pieces back down (wondering when I will forget to do that and they will fall off, unnoticed).

Challenging to photograph - the little plastic piece(s) that attach to the frame on 2 sides

If you find yourself needing a portable folding cart, this is something to consider.  Although there are several aspects I struggle with, overall it is serving me well.  It continues to provide the benefits that matter most to me – portability and consistency.  It’s still working as well as it was over 6 months ago when it was brand new and considering the price – I am satisfied (not thrilled, yet how often can be thrilled by products?).

* There is a similar one offered by Office Depot as well.

** As usual, I have not received anything for this review.  🙂

Taylor Planner

3.5 out of 5 stars


  • Small, portable size
  • Limited space for tasks
  • Week at a glance view
  • Perforated edges for easy marking of current week


  • Monthly view too compact
  • Limited space for planning outside of scheduled time slots


I discovered Harold Taylor at the NAPO conference last year, and came home with some questionnaires he developed to identify problem areas with organization and time management.  This year, I came home with one of his books and a sample of his planner. After using the PlannerPad, I moved to this Taylor Planner.  What better time of year to consider what you might need for next year?

One of the things that I absolutely love about this planner layout is the extremely limited space allotted for daily tasks.  I have often struggled with trying to do too much in a given day and I see this frequently with the people I work with as well.  We’re never satisfied with our accomplishments, “we should have done more.” With this planner, you choose the top 3 things you want to get done on a given day, which is written above the daily scheduling column.  It can help focus you on the most important tasks, then everything else you get done is a bonus.  You only had three things, you get those done, you’ve succeeded with your plans.

The weekly view of the Taylor Planner

There is an additional space in each column for any follow-up actions you need to attend to for a given day.  I used this more sporadically, as it applied to my life and tasks.  It’s good to have an additional space, yet limited space for something that arises.  He suggests using that to record when assignments are due.

On the left side of the two-page weekly layout is a column for that week’s priority, your weekly action items, and notes. It’s important to focus on your goals, and it’s great that he provides a small box to remind you on a weekly basis as well as cuing you to work toward your long-term goals.

There are different ways to approach your calendar.  As I talked about in the review of Getting Things Done, David Allen proposes that you schedule tasks into your calendar with caution.  Harold Taylor is of a different perspective, where you use your calendar to schedule all activities, providing the commitment as well as time to get them done.  Since this is just talked about in the beginning of the planner, I cannot tell to what extent he promotes this.  I know that for myself, if I schedule things that are not time sensitive or important, it’s too easy to still not work on those tasks and then feel the sense of failure at not accomplishing them!  Other than in the column to the far left for weekly action items, there is not much space for planning.

When I was strictly a paper planner person, I relied on the monthly calendar view.  This planner’s version of that is considerably too small for me.  The monthly view consists of 3 months on a page.  Yet, as I move to scheduling on my iPad, the monthly view no longer holds much value to me.  You need to evaluate what your priorities are in this regard.  This is the same layout for the future years, at the back of the planner.  I find the year at a glance intriguing while at the same time a little odd – each column is a month and the holidays are labeled.

The monthly view, with 3 months to a page

Year-at-a-glance on two pages















From my sensitivity to carrying around planners, I appreciate the compact size of this planner.  It is slightly larger than a standard trade paperback book and fairly thin; it will not contribute much weight to a purse or bag.  The version I have is bound, with some space for the binding to not interfere with entering the information you need to. Since it was a free copy, it’s just the planner itself, though offers a cover, with pockets for business cards and to carry post-it notes around with your planner.  Also, with the perforated lower corner, it’s easy to mark (tear it off) and find the current week.  Included with the planner are contact pages, several assignment record pages, notes, and a section for back burner ideas.

Planner Pad Organizers

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Planner Pad organizer



  • money back guarantee (6 month)
  • nice layout – monthly & weekly
  • good division of schedule & to-do lists
  • focuses on a “funnel down” prioritizing


  • size constraints
  • spiral or binder in middle of weekly view; can get in way of writing things



When I was in high school, my father insisted I start using the Franklin Covey organizers.  I continued to use these organizers through college and for many years after.  It wasn’t until my shoulder and back started giving me troubles that I began to reconsider what I wanted to use – I always carried a purse big enough to hold the classic size organizer.  Although this was the breaking point for me, I was struggling with the system – it was no longer as helpful.

From other professional organizers, I heard about Planner Pads and was definitely intrigued with their layout.  I even set up a spreadsheet that replicated their design; I was still too frugal to order one.  This turned out to be a good decision since I won a Planner Pad in a contest – and have had the chance to actively use the executive spiral organizer.  This organizer has a monthly view as well as a weekly view.  I’ve come to value the weekly view – it provides a great way to review your week and track your tasks and appointments.

funnel planning for the week with the Planner Pad

Planner Pad funnel planning

One of the things I like about this particular organizer is the layout – the top section, spanning the two pages of the weekly view – is for you to list your categories of projects or type of activities.  For me these were things like: Business-usual, Business-client, Business-other, Household, Volunteering, Personal.  I could then identify my priorities and tasks according to these categories – not worrying about putting them into specific days.  One of the strengths of this area is the limited amount of space – the thing I see most often, even with myself, is thinking and trying to do more than what is realistic – so this helps to control that inclination. 🙂

Top section of the weekly view of the Planner Pad

The second section, below the first section, has the days of the week for your daily to-dos. This is where you can put in the tasks you absolutely must do on specific days.  I also would record what I did from the above section on the corresponding day.  I appreciate the openness since I sometimes feel limited by trying to decide when I will do certain things.  It’s also easy to see how I am coming with my tasks as the week progresses.

Middle section of daily to-dos of the Planner Pad

The final section is for your appointments – with the executive size, showing time from 7 until 9 with lines for the hour.  Ideally, you want to use this area for the time specific appointments – whether meeting with someone or time chunks for dealing with tasks.

Bottom section of scheduling for the Planner Pad

Along the right side is a column they’ve divided for “Notes/Calls” and “Expenses” as well as 3 small month views for the prior, current, and future month.  There are also pages in the front and back of the organizer for some of the more typical things you’d like to have with you – address book, future year planning, notes, and goals/projects/calendar.  The pages throughout the planner have a dotted line along the upper page corners, which I would cut off to help me get the pages I needed more easily.

If I were to purchase one at this point, I would lean towards the smaller, personal size. I do have concerns that it would be too small to be as useful.  I also would prefer the spiral, as the binder lends itself to the temptation for overfilling.  It then can become heavy and cumbersome.  The spiral occasionally makes writing in things near it more challenging – not enough that I would not use it.

Although my primary calendar is electronic, I find it useful to have a physical list of my current activities, even including calendar events.  An organizer is meant for planning – this is extremely challenging to do with a digital device.  I haven’t yet decided whether I want to carry around a paper organizer, although I’m seriously considering it.  Next month, I will be reviewing another planner system.Continue reading

Over the Door Clothes Hanger

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


  • Small
  • Inexpensive
  • Door closes with it on (at least on my door)
  • Removable, not screwed in


  • Not attractive to have in prime living space


The older I seem to get, the more old-fashioned I seem to become.  My husband has moved to shaving with an old-fashioned safety razor and the soap and brush – preferring that to the standard razors used today or even an electric razor.  Then there’s how I do some ironing every week (yes really, or at least that’s the goal) – and with putting in that effort, I don’t want them getting wrinkled before getting into his closet.  (And I am not running each item upstairs after finishing it.)  Therefore I went in search of an over-the-door clothes hanger – in my mind’s eye, I was envisioning something I cannot even find online.

I was fortunate to have a gift card to The Container Store and figured I could find something there.  When I looked around, I put the Valet Rod into my cart and started to continue with my shopping excursion.  It was larger than I’d wanted and this is what it looked like:

Over the Door Valet Rod (The Container Store)

Then something else caught my eye – a smaller and less expensive option – a smaller “valet” rod.  This was a better choice – less expensive, but also smaller and more suited to my uses.  A larger version would have simply taken up space and potentially tempted me to use that space.  (Have you ever noticed that when you have the space, you fill the space?) Also, this style could easily be taken down when not in use.

Smaller Over the Door Valet (The Container Store)

After I got the over the door clothes valet home, I was thrilled that it fits over the door and we can still close the door – too often these over the door gadgets make closing the door a challenge.  I am NOT saying this will be the case with everyone since all our doors are different (and we have an over the door ironing board holder which does not fit as well for closing the door).

I found many different styles exist for this specific purpose. Some looked like you’d need to use only certain hangers, while others require permanently attaching it to a door or wall. There’s also a less attractive one, at least to me.  I also appreciate that the spacing provided with this valet would offer it as an option for a place to hang clothes to dry.

1 Style Clothes hanger (

2nd Style Clothes Hanger (Bed, Bath, & Beyond)

3rd Style of Clothes Hanger (








Here I return to the idea of space needed – ideally, we choose and use tools that help us simplify and support us.  A small grooved bracket provides a limited space tool for specifically what I need.  It encourages me to empty the clothes promptly – here it is before I take them upstairs.

My over the door clothes hanger filled with freshly ironed clothes before taking them upstairs

It’s easy to buy a valet – one like this or another – to “make” more space for hanging our clothes.  This makes it too easy to just add rather than sort and purge our clothes.  Remember, tools are supposed to help support and simplify our lives.  If you need a tool to hold some clothes temporarily – like where to put your outfits for the coming week, or ironing, etc. – consider one of these over the door clothes hangers.

Workforce Shelving Units

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Workforce 18 in 5 Shelf unit

Workforce Shelving Unit




  • sturdy
  • easily assembled and dismantled
  • roomy


  • some slots
  • fixed shelving, not adjustable
  • no shallower options


As an organizer, I can go gaga over boxes and containers.  Shelves, well, it depends.  When it comes to just your average utility shelves, it generally leaves me ambivalent.  Too often, I’m disappointed with the quality or style (and hard to make an argument for something decorative!).  After working with a client who had several of these Workforce Storage Shelving units, I decided it would meet our needs.

Our wrapped Workforce shelving

We started with 2 (and haven’t yet picked up more) – one for the basement and all the paint we’ve accumulated and one for the garage for camping and other miscellaneous items.  As you will see from my before pictures, we had no organization for these things beforehand – or rather, they might be somewhat organized, but still chaotic. I started with clearing the spaces where we wanted the shelves to go.

Garage before, piles of camping stuff

Piles of paint - before getting the needed shelving














Since I’m a fan of using the timer, I timed how long it took me to unwrap and assemble a shelf – it took me under 7 minutes.  It would have been less too, as I thought we were missing a foot for the shelf and spent time taking the 3 feet off only to find the missing foot and putting them all back on.  For me, as a relatively short person, putting the top shelf on was a little challenging since I couldn’t see well.  I was impressed with the details on the bars – so I took a picture – and you can see the narrower area, but there’s also the mottled area past the smooth part.  The idea is that all of the smooth area will be within the unit, and this makes it clear when it has been assembled snugly.

Rod for the shelving, showing the details

One of the reasons I was drawn to this brand, was in seeing it elsewhere, I saw that it was sturdy.  I was honestly amazed by the fact that they don’t wobble.  Even looking at alternatives in the store, many would jiggle as I touched them.  There is little to none with this shelf.  You might be shocked to see one of my after pictures – there’s stuff on the top, but not on the bottom.  “What are you doing? You need to put things at the bottom first, give it some stability.”  Although we did do that with the one for the basement, these shelves are sturdy enough, I felt comfortable loading the camping gear on the top.

Garage, with the camping gear on the shelving

Often when I look for utility shelving, I’d like adjustable shelves.  I dislike wasted space; especially unnecessary wasted space and I want to be able to put what I need to onto the shelves.  These shelves are not adjustable.  They also have slots on the shelves, another thing I’m not crazy about.  It’s amazing to me how easily bottles tip on shelves with slots, even the smaller slots – going against what seems logical.  I understand part of the reason for the slots is that spills won’t catch on the shelves.  Nevertheless, I knew most of what we were storing would be larger items, and I could give up the idea of solid and adjustable shelves for the solid Workforce shelves.  My husband and I were pleased to find that the shelves fit gallon paint cans on top of each other.

Basement, with the paint loaded and through the doorway to the left can see how clear the previous area is now!

As I’ve already said, we both liked these well enough that we’re thinking of getting more.  I wish they offered a narrower option – we have a narrow broom closet that needs better shelving, but even at the 18 inches, it would not fit in the closet and allow us to get into the deeper areas.  For most areas, these shelves don’t take up too much room and provide great storage for larger items.  I’m impressed with their stability, empty or filled. Now that we have a place for the paint supplies and the camping gear, we’ll be able to easily put these away now that they have a place.

Cocoon Grid-It

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

An example of a Cocoon Grid-It


  • versatile
  • various sizes (and colors) depending on need/want
  • durable
  • secure, the items really do stay in place
  • fabulous for traveling


  • might not be the best for frequently used items
  • sometimes specific Grid-Its are limited in longer elastic straps
  • wish they had a tiny size for those small purse items!


In my newsletter almost a month ago, I shared a video from the winner of the 2011 NAPO conference for Best Technology Product – Cocoon Grid-It.  This was definitely a hit with all the organizers at the conference – and long before the last day, the Grid-It’s they were handing out were all gone! I was fortunate enough to pick one up and after my husband got a look at it, we bought more.   Need I say more?

Yes, I do.  My first thought while I was at conference was that this is one of the few “male” styled tools for organizing.  There’s the simply functional, the closet and shelving systems, but many smaller tools and supplies for staying organized are often pink or floral or otherwise quite feminine – these are almost more masculine.  They do make a pink Grid-It in a number of the sizes, but otherwise the color options are black, gray, royal blue, or racing red.  Unless you get one of their bags, since those come with their own Grid-It with some different accent colors.

As I was first looking at them, I didn’t notice, the elastic bands are sewn in throughout the grid.  This means that it controls how much it will move and will hold items in place more securely.  Yet this isn’t obvious and the design is well done, it’s a fascinating crisscross of various sized elastic strips.  These elastic strips are wide, also useful for holding the items in place.

The smallest Grid-It offered is 7.67 x 4.5 x 0.375 while they’ve finally added the Grid-It wraps which can hold a computer in a pocket and has a neoprene wrap that keeps the device in the pocket and protects the items in the grid while it’s being moved around.  Although the computer size is interesting, I find the iPad and e-reader size wraps to be the most intriguing.  It could be a self-contained unit that is a grab and go; with everything you need right there.

I don’t know about you, but when I travel, I have so many cords that sometimes I stick them into a baggie or even, gasp, put them loose in one of the suitcases.  I have now traveled with my cords and other items all neatly contained in my Grid-It.  All the cords were neatly together and easy to access once we’d arrived.


My Grid-It for traveling

As I was playing with the ones I now have, I was considering what to put into it.  Although there were tons of things that would fit, I didn’t want to use it for the frequently used items.  My sunglasses live in a case, which sits well in my purse and is easy to access while I’m driving.  Adding that to the Grid-It would just have made it more complicated to access.  As with all organizing tools, sometimes it will work well and other times, it might not be for you.  For me, I would love a tiny one, maybe 3 x 3 (or maybe even 4 x 4), for things like just the lip balm, nail file, pill case, etc. that would fit into a small pocket in my purse (I am not a fan of the little bags for that).

I have one set up for working – you’ve probably seen it if I’ve come over – it has a notepad, some pens and a pencil, a nifty measuring tape, and a stack of my business cards.  The Grid-It is sturdy enough that I can write on my notepad on the Grid-It.  The back of this one has a zipper pocket, which easily holds standard papers folded in half.  They also say the back of many of their Grid-It’s can be used as a mouse pad.


My Grid-It for working with clients

Overall, this is a great product, which can fill many different needs.  As long as you consider your needs and decide this can meet them. (I think this way about all organizing tools!). It’s wonderful to see an organizing product that can fulfill so many potential needs.  I also saw as I was getting the links for this post that if you buy a Grid-It this month (July), they will donate part of their proceeds to The Wounded Warrior Project in honor of our veterans – of which I do work with a couple of. 🙂

As usual, this is written as unbiased as possible, without compensation, and simply because I’ve now used it.

Reusable Bag Organizer & Bags

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Floral Tote Buddy

Floral Tote Buddy bag organizer


  • compact storage for your reusable bags
  • convenient for storage and transporting
  • sturdy materials
  • made of 100% recyclable non-woven polypropylene
  • works with any reusable bags
  • bags are large, sturdy, and easily cleaned
  • bags are square-bottomed (this is important to me)
  • bags come with a plastic removable bottom to keep them even


  • slight smell, which wears off with time
  • has a logo, if that matters to you


Most of the things I review are items I received because I went to the NAPO conference.  This is no exception, but this is something I purchased there.  It was a spur of the moment purchase – I was walking around conference with a large box another vendor had given me, and was struggling with having hands – or rather lack of hands.  The Tote Buddy was offering their product – their bag organizer with 3 regular bags and 1 floral bag for $20-.  I found a table nearby, put my armful of things down, took my money out, and went over and bought the set.  I’ll honestly say that I wouldn’t have spent the money if I hadn’t been desperate!

This did not reflect my interest in their product; it was more a reflection of how frugal I can be.  As well, it was something more to worry about getting home after conference. The truth is that I cannot say I’ve been frustrated with my reusable bags, they live in one of the bags, and I often remember to grab them before I head to the store.  I received FlyLady reusable bags a couple of years ago as a gift – they’re the ones I take: 3 lovely purple, square-bottomed bags and 1 black insulated square-bottomed bag for refrigerator/freezer items.  The thing about these is that a couple of them have started to unravel at the edges, but they still work.  Yet now that I have the Tote Buddy, I do really appreciate how much easier it is to grab my bags and carry them.

As with so many new bags, there’s a smell – last year’s bag smell was worse – and as usual, the smell does fade with time. I usually wait to talk about the negatives, but in this case, this is really the only one.  This product is exactly what it proclaims to be – an eco-friendly v to organize your reusable bags, and it’s stylish too.

The Tote Buddy’s bags are larger and have a much sturdier feel to them.  The bags are orange, not my personal favorite color, but are bright and pretty.  I’m also not a big floral person, so I got my bag organizer in black.  This also has a sturdy feel to it.

I didn’t show my husband right away these bags and organizer, but as he was helping me put things away, he noticed.  His comment was pretty much – “Wow, I like these.” I showed him how the organizer worked and he liked that too.  He was pleased with how sturdy they feel.

I also like the idea of using a binder clip to clip my list and any coupons (rarely) to the bag organizer, which sits well in the front basket of the cart.  They say that the bag organizer holds up to 10 reusable bags – although mine seems a little full with 7 bags.  For me, this works fine since I rarely need more than 6 at a time.  I also prone to keeping it clean looking, but not wanting to fill it until it’s bulging.

The other day one of my cats vomited liquid all over the floor, where unbeknownst to me, it was running across the floor – right to where a bag was sitting before it was unloaded.  First, I was shocked at how far it had run, was our floor that uneven? Second, I was a little miffed, kitty vomit on my relatively new bags – but it amazingly wiped off and left no mark – woohoo!  Now that’s a product.  Now, I just need to continue working at getting the bag organizer back into my car, or at least remember to grab it before heading out for shopping.  🙂

Here’s a video they did from YouTube.

Note: All my reviews are done without consideration for the company (sorry!) – as unbiased as possible! I don’t receive anything from any of them and most don’t know I’m even reviewing their products.

Pendaflex I-Organize Storage Binder

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Pendaflex Storage Binder

That bit of red is part of the new binder technology.


  • new technology for securing items into binder
  • selection of accessories for use in binder
  • the fasteners secure behind accessories when not in binder
  • sturdy materials
  • customizable for your needs
  • strap to close binder


  • shaped like a traditional binder
  • only two sizes of binders
  • hard to find locally to look at and handle in person


At some point after the 2010 NAPO conference, this arrived in the mail for me – a Pendaflex Storage Binder with several accessories.  I was excited, as I’d admired this binder at the conference.  Initially what caught my attention was the different technology they used for securing things into the binder.  They did away with those rings and put in “channel slots” with a release lever at the bottom. It makes it easy to use and your fingers aren’t at risk of getting pinched.

There are 8 different styles of accessories that work with the binder, and this is critical due to the way the binder functions. They are all made of poly material.  The clipboard is the most interesting and unique to me – as it clips into the binder while still being sturdy enough to use independently.  They offer the more traditional media file, envelope with string closure, a file folder with elastic closures, and a single and a double (“twin”) pocket.  They also offer a display book and a project pocket – neither of which came with my binder.

Pendaflex Clipboard

Pendaflex Clipboard

Each accessory has a piece of plastic on one side for slipping into those channel slots, and when they are being used outside of the binder, they bend behind and can be held there.  This makes them look like your basic accessory – clipboard, document pocket, document envelope, etc.  This is a wonderful feature for offering those accessories for multiple purposes and not limiting them to use only with the binder.

I’ve talked before about how normal binders are just OK to me, I dislike how their shape affects their utility when not in use, whether upright or on their side, it doesn’t make them conducive for stacking or keeping on a shelf.  These binders are shaped in the same way.  I do appreciate the elastic closure they’ve included and if you prefer not to use it, you don’t have to.

These binders come in only two sizes.  In some ways, this might not be a detriment; it forces all of us to limit how stuffed we might be tempted to fill it.  It certainly won’t stymie us with choices, as there are two choices for the binder – the presentation or the storage style.  Of course, there are all the different accessory pieces we can choose. The binder has 8 channel slots, so you can fit your choice of 8 accessory pieces.

I realize that the world is moving more and more to online shopping, but I really prefer the ability to see and feel products before I decide to spend my money on it.  These do not seem to be available locally – OfficeDepot offers them on their website, but only for delivery.

Note: All my reviews are done without consideration for the company (sorry!) – as unbiased as possible! I don’t receive anything from any of them and most don’t know I’m even reviewing their products.

PlanetSafe Planners

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

PlanetSafe Planner 30-day planner

Undated 30 day calendar planner


  • customizable
  • adjustable; easy to rearrange (with post-it notes)
  • environmentally friendly
  • reusable (depending on style used)
  • great for visual people
  • thin and sturdy


  • restricted to home- not possible to carry around
  • limited space on some calendar squares
  • not reusable, with some styles


This is another product that I discovered through the NAPO expo, at last year’s conference (and this year’s too) – PlanetSafe Planners.  I love the idea that you use a dry erase marker on the calendar, how easy and clean to change things.  As well, they enable using post-it notes for other areas, again so easy to rearrange and move things. The flexibility and ease of using their planners is exceptional.

My husband and I might be unique; we have no calendar in the house to record events.  We have our Google calendars synced, and these are always with us.  Without kids or any other reasons, we’ve found no reason for a wall calendar to tell us about our appointments.  Nevertheless, I think this can be a superb calendar for some people – as long as you need that household calendar.  The only condition is that you use it and don’t rely exclusively on what (if anything) you carry with you.

Considering what my schedule often looks like, the squares look too small for extensive schedules, and then trying to add in other people’s schedules too seems unrealistic.  Thus would depend heavily on how much you need to keep track of.  If I only put in rough hours of when I’d be otherwise occupied, there’s potentially enough room for several people’s obligations.

I think I might be a little odd – for I found myself resisting the idea of this environmental calendar that I’d need to replace every year – and how “environmental” that it is.  Then again, it’s not paper.  Although reading about their development, these calendars are a 100% green product after struggling to find a natural adhesive. They also offer options for undated calendar options.

Although for myself I’m not interested in their calendars, I am tempted by some of the goal planners- the idea that my husband and I could have a very visible post-it note planner for our joint goals, for the house and other plans.  This is one the strengths of PlanetSafe Planners – they are a great visual – with the different color post-it’s, you’re unlikely to miss it!

PlanetSafe Planner Yearly Goals

Yearly goals with post-it notes

In some ways, the intriguing part of their planners is how a number of them also focus on goals and tasks – having a space included separate from the calendar for these items.  It would be very rewarding to take down the post-it notes after completing tasks.  The limited, yet not small area would encourage people to NOT over schedule.

PlanetSafe Planner 30 day calendar and tasks

30 day calendar with task or customizable section

From my limited perspective here in the Midwest, it’s sad that this company is not better known.  Although there are some limitations to some of their products, they are worth keeping in mind to help you plan – depending on the contexts relevant to your life.

Note: All my reviews are done without consideration for the company (sorry!) – as unbiased as possible! I don’t receive anything from any of them and most don’t know I’m even reviewing their products.

Ziploc Big Bags

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Middle of 3 sizes


  • Thick and sturdy plastic
  • Pleated bottom for standing & bulky items
  • Built-in handles
  • Easy closure
  • Flexible shape
  • See-through material


  • Can tear from hard items inside
  • Only so useful for heavy items
  • Potential wasted storage space


The local WI branch of NAPO was fortunate to have a couple people from SE Johnson present at one of meetings and the following month, they had an exhibitor’s booth the national NAPO conference.  That is where I was able to get samples to try out – and this month is the Ziploc Big Bag.  The truth is that I wasn’t sure what I’d use them for and I’m not convinced how useful they are for many people.  Although there are certainly times when they are handy, and I found a couple of things to try mine out on.

My husband and I have been working on another room in the house.  Most of the boxes and other containers were used to gather everything to pull it out of the room.  I have a cherished stuffed turtle, and wanted him to be protected, so I grabbed one of the Ziploc Big Bags.  It worked well.  We painted the room and as we were moving the media cabinet back to the wall (which didn’t hold all the movies anyway), I questioned how many movies we needed.  Between the DVDs and VHS, we had almost 350, and similarly to the CD collection, I needed to consider the movies by time as well space.

So, I grabbed the second Ziploc Big Bag, dropping each movie into it that could probably go away.  I decided I wanted to watch most of the movies before getting them out of the house.  I put them on periodically while doing other things and worked my way through that bag.  I actually went through the movies in the cabinet again and added to the bag, and it slowly emptied.  In the meantime, I needed to periodically move the bag around for vacuuming and whatnot.

The Ziploc Big Bag helped contain all those movies and the handles made it easy to move around when I needed.  I did not stack movies in there nicely, they were jumbled up, and the bag did get some puck marks from the corners of the movies.  It did end up tearing just a little, after several months, though I felt like I was rougher on it than I needed to be. Since it was most see-through, I could see movies closer to the bottom and dig for them when I wanted and see titles without sticking my head into the bag.

I find the idea of using bags, especially large bags, for storage to go against my inclinations, with the exception of for soft, squishy things.  Then again, I don’t have kids and use the storage that we have without much need for more.  I’m not crazy about the shape, great it’s got a pleated bottom, but the top is still going to have a different shape than the bottom.  To me this means that there’ll be some wasted space.

I do like the idea that a Ziploc Big Bag is good for gift bags, and ours are currently not in the most convenient storage.  In some ways, I admit I need to think outside the box a bit more to fully appreciate the diversity of how these can be used.  I’m not sure whether I will ever be a bag person for storage overall, but I do think they can provide some benefits.

Overall, I’m quite impressed with Ziploc Big Bags and as long as they’d fulfill the storage (or transportation) needs, would suggest them.  I’m even going to keep them in mind for future storage needs of my own.

Note: All my reviews are done without consideration for the company (sorry!) – as unbiased as possible! I don’t receive anything from any of them and most don’t know I’m even reviewing their products.