Also a huge fan of sponges...specifically like the Aquaclear sponges. Besides using them in the filter, I also slit one end of the AC70 size and use it over the ends of my Maxijet PHs to both filter and keep little'ns from getting blenderized. Pop one of those into a silty new setup and it can clear the water in a couple hours...then just bag the sponge, remove from the tank, clean it and replace it! They are incredibly versatile. I also use them to quiet the overflow to my sump (and hold my Pothos' roots in place), which besides acting as a silencer, also does double-duty as a bio filter, and, keeps extra sponges ready for use if I ever need to keep fish or plants in a bucket for a few hours...or days....even weeks.
I hardly ever use other media, although I do keep some carbon and Purigin on hand.
Thought I'd add...for a planted tank, you really don't want filter media like carbon, ammonia remover, nitrate removers, ect, because those substances are plant nutrients. If your tank is planted sufficiently and the plants are actively growing, they will use those nutrients up as fast as they are produced. Adding too much outside bio filtration...such as sponges, bio/ceramic rings, lava rock, ect..is also not desirable for the same reasons. Although your plants can use the by-product of nitrification - nitrate - plants prefer to use the raw ammonia which is easier for them to take up. Therefore, excessive filtration, either chemical or biological is not needed in a healthy planted tank. Many aquarists, however, myself included, do like to keep a little bit of extra bio filtration on their planted tanks as a safety buffer, especially if the fish load is high. A single sponge in a HOB filter is usually sufficient. HTH!