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for the love of a calendar

I love a new year, a fresh start, and best of all — a brand new weekly desk calendar. For a design geek like myself, it can't be just any calendar. Here's what works for me: 1) it needs to have one week per spread  2) it needs to lie flat when open, spiral-bound works best 3) each week must be divided into days, with ample space for writing in appointments, birthdays, etc  4) it can't be larger than 6" x 9" since it sits open on my desk all year long, and 5) it needs to look good.

After years of buying all different kinds of calendars, I finally found the calendar of my dreams back in 2001. On my way home from work, I stumbled into the Ordning + Reda store on the Upper East Side and there it was...

The Ordning + Reda cloth diary. It was the perfect size. It came in an array of colors. It had the perfect amount of space between the lines for my tiny handwriting. The paper felt nice. It was beautifully designed (I love those little red numbers). And it was Swedish (everyone knows Sweden is the land of all things beautiful and well designed).   

For the next few years, all was well. I developed a little system with my calendars. Birthdays and anniversaries were written at the bottom of the page in red, appointments and other to do lists were written in black. In 2002, I got married. And JR started giving me a calendar for Christmas, a different color each year. 

And then a horrible thing happened. Ordning + Reda closed their US stores! But we were not deterred. In 2003 I found one at the Swedish import store in midtown, but they stopped carrying them soon after. Then JR found them at the Bodum store in the meatpacking district, and for the next few years I always found one waiting for me under the Christmas tree. But last year the Bodum store stopped carrying them, and as far as we know, they aren't available in the US anymore. Last year I protested and didn't have a desk calendar at all. But I miss it.

I've considered a few options, (like this, or this, or this, or this) and this year I decided to go with the Kate Spade weekly calendar. It meets all of my requirements (even if the lines are a bit too widely spaced for my writing) and though I don't love it the way I love my old calendars... it'll work.

 Now does anyone have a connection in Sweden who can hook me up for 2010?

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Reader Comments (26)

Even though you don't know me, I do have a really good friend from high school who lives in Sweden. I'd be happy to ask her to send you one. I think I want one for me too!

01.2.2009 | Unregistered CommenterHolly

those calendars are amazing! how sad that you were unable to find one for 2009!! i want one!

01.2.2009 | Unregistered Commentercarmen

Oh my gosh, the more you described the Ordning + Reda cloth diary, the more I loved it and wanted one for myself. I was really getting into your calendaring system! What a bummer that you can't find it anymore - I really feel for you. I will keep an eye out for that one in my part of the world.

01.2.2009 | Unregistered CommenterTerriaw

i too have a good friend living in sweden! i'd be happy to ask him to pick one up for you... just let me know!

01.2.2009 | Unregistered Commenterkristen

I bet if you e-mailed a shop owner in the UK they'd ship one to you...check the website, they have e-mail addresses for shop owners.

01.2.2009 | Unregistered CommenterSooz

Have you checked out the The New Yorker desk diary calendar? Definitely not as hip as the O+R offering and a bit wanting in vertical writing space but you do get one of their classic cartoons each week :) I like the space for notes too.

01.2.2009 | Unregistered CommenterGina

Hi. I live in the UK and they are available near my home so i'd be happy to post one to you if you are desperate!, even for 2009? Regards, Sarah

01.3.2009 | Unregistered Commentersarah armstrong

this is too strange: i too have an obsession with these calendars--though mine are the smaller version and my obsession is newer: 2005-2006, i still have those calendars laying around.

my best friend's sister lives in copenhagen and whenever she visits she picks one up for me. last year i settled into a moleskine planner---this year i am hoping her danish sister will visit! thanks for the reminder, the inspiration, and the delight of sharing!

good luck on your search, br.

01.3.2009 | Unregistered Commenterstephanie alaine


Have enjoyed reading your blog for a while, and find it a great source of inspiration!

I live in Oslo and have an Ordning & Reda shop nearby so would be very happy to post one to you!

All the best,


01.4.2009 | Unregistered CommenterKristine

I too am obsessed with calendars. I love the moleskine red weekly calendar. Thanks for sharing the calendar you love. I like it a lot!

01.4.2009 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

I ordered the 2009 Zwimpfer calendar (that you linked to) for the first time. I'm a bit irritated that the cover is only a hard cardboard, but the design is lovely, and there's plenty of room for daily notes. I hope it holds up for the whole year!

I love Ordning + Reda planners. I bought one in London back in 2002 from one of their shops.

01.6.2009 | Unregistered CommenterChelsea

Have you thought of designing your perfect calendar? You certainly have the skill set!

01.7.2009 | Unregistered Commentershan

Dear Brooke,
I really enjoy your blog and as I live in "the land of all things beautiful and well designed" (thanks for that) and have a friend who owns an Ordning & Reda store I would be happy to help you with the calendar. Send me an e-mail an we´ll work it out.
Kind regards, Cina

01.8.2009 | Unregistered CommenterCina Kjellsson

and the adress; cina@designbyrancirrus.se

01.8.2009 | Unregistered CommenterCina Kjellsson

Hi there. You are in luck... I live in Sweden! I'll totally send you a calendar. Let me know which one you want and what color... although as I'm sure you can guess the dates and months will be in Swedish. To make things even easier... I'm an ex-New Yorker so place your order with me and deposit the money in my WAMU account in NYC and we're all set! 2009 or 2010 just let me know.


01.8.2009 | Unregistered CommenterTheresa DeMyers

I have the Kate Spade calendar and I love it! I hope you end up loving it too!

Hi Brooke!

I'm new to your blog and love it as I have loved your work for years (being av avid reader of the magazines you worked on). I live in Stockholm. Let me know if you still need the calendar or anything else from here in Sweden for that matter :)


01.10.2009 | Unregistered CommenterBenita

I just purchased the Whomi calendar for my mother, she had been on the search too. I told her one that lays flat is the way to go. So far she is enjoying the Whomi. It snaps like a wallet! You have gotten a lot of wonderful offers from residents of Sweden, looks your calendar just may return to you.


01.17.2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Love your blog, it's the first time I've stumbled upon it. Just had to say that I have had a planner obsession myself--for many years I would buy (or receive as a gift) a new planner with the works of my favorite artist, Keith Haring, starting as a freshman in high school. I would doodle & color in them & utilize them not only as a planner but as a journal. The publisher was based in Germany & after several years I couldn't easily find the Keith Haring one, it was only in museum gift shops. Then they couldn't be found period & I had to settle for their Andy Warhol version & eventually none could be found at all. Heartbreaking. Ever since then, for years, I've felt like a rudderless boat, floating from one type of planner to another, always hoping to find something similar to my elusive Keith Haring ones but never finding any quite up to par....I did save each of my planners & love that I can look at any date ten years ago & tell you exactly what I did on that day. I'm sorry you're having agenda book withdrawal, I empathize. It's like having had an awesome boyfriend that no other guy can compare to. Sigh.

01.21.2009 | Unregistered Commenterjoanna

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