Those Mead binder notebooks

Have you guys seen these? They're basically 3 ring binders where the cover folds around to the back like a Circa notebook. I've seen them in the school supplies at the drugstore. I want one, but I doubt I'd actually use it because all my school stuff's in Circa notebooks at this point. Still, they look cool. Brilliant idea on the part of Mead. I would have loved one back in high school.

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I couldn't resist...

I had to go to the drugstore this morning to get some prescriptions filled. They told me it would be half an hour before the meds were ready.

So, uh, I went to the school supply aisle.

I bought one of those binder notebooks. And a three hole punch. And some paper. (And a ruler and compass, but I needed those for algebra anyway.) I didn't spend much, but now I'm using the binder notebook instead of Circa and I'm feeling guilty for cheating on my disc-bound notebooks. But the binder notebook and three hole punched paper are so much more durable than Circa...

I'm still using a 3x5" hPDA, though, so I haven't abandoned Circa entirely. Although I was really tempted by that small 5 Star notebook this morning. I didn't buy it, though. Mostly just to prove to myself that I have some restraint.

To be fair, I haven't bought any office/school supplies in months. So I refuse to feel bad about blowing twenty bucks on cool toys-- uh, I mean, tools. Yeah, tools. :)

Is this the "Flex" line?

Is this Mead's "Flex" line? I have to admit I haven't haunted the school supply aisles as much lately (probably a good thing, really.)

Here's what I bought.

Yep, Flex. Link

letter size?

Is the paper standard 8.5x11"? I wonder if I should take a peak. I have nothing working for me right now... I'm a disorganized mess!

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Standard letter size. Takes filler paper or whatever you feel like punching. I'm using filler paper for my math practice, but 28# laser paper (printed a while back with light gray lines from for the notes I really want to keep and reference.

I'm so goofy with new notebooks. I like holding them and looking at them and imagining all the possibilities.

Yeah, I'm a dork. :)

Fellow dork here

I don't like to write in new notebooks because I could mess up all of those possibilities. Glad someone else shares my dorkiness.

Me too!

Although I must say that it's easier to bring myself to use the binder notebook, since I can take all my pages out and it would be like new again. :)

Oh, and...

Besides putting away most of my Circa, I've also gone back to Pilot G2 Pro pens (extra-fine point, blue ink) instead of using my fountain pens. Sigh. I have all this beautiful expensive stuff, and I'm back to cheap stuff. (But the cheap stuff works so well! I guess I shouldn't be complaining...)

Oooh... I have never heard

Oooh... I have never heard of Circa before... what is so great about them??

What is great about Circa (and other disc-bound systems)

Advantages of Circa and other Disc-bound Systems

1. Moving/removing pages is quieter.
2. Discs are smaller than rings, for comparable amounts of paper. The usual rule for deciding disc size is to use twice the size paper stack you want to hold: If you need to hold a 1/2" stack of papers, use a 1" set of discs. However, my experience has been that I usually end up dropping to 3/4" for a 1" stack. Of course, the thickness of the paper affects how much the discs will hold.
3. Discs are not attached to each other, allowing pages to turn completely to the back.
4. THE BIG ONE: Rings differ in spacing depending on the size of the notebook (letter, half/desk/clasic, pocket/compact, etc.) and because holes from one size rarely match up with holes from the other sizes, each different size paper requires its own notebook. Discs, on the other hand, are spaced uniformly on 1" centers, regardless of paper size. This means any size papers, from business card size to 11" or larger, or even oddly-sized greeting cards and napkins, can be punched for disc and will ALL FIT IN ONE NOTEBOOK! This is something that can't be done with ring- bound notebooks without sometimes disastrous consequences.

Some Considerations for Disc-Binding:
1. Frequency of paper-turning: Smurfs - what disc hole shapes are unofficially called - fit closer to the inside edges of holes than rings do. Consequently frequent paper-turning or frequent removal/reinsertion will wear the edges of the smurf. Solution: use heavier weight paper.
2. Paper weight: thin papers, including the 20-pound copier paper or 16-pound lined school paper, don't survive frequent turning or frequent removal. Solution: use heavier weight paper.
3. Quality of disc: Circa (Levenger's brand disc system) discs tend to be more smoothly finished than others, so wear less on thinner papers. However, Circa discs are priced accordingly. If you can't afford Circa discs, keep a bit of sandpaper or a finger-nail file handy to smooth down any rough areas on discs.


For me, just the thought of using ringed binders almost gives me the hives! I was soooo glad to discover the Rolla/Circa method! It took me a while to understand one difference. With a 3 ringed book, I needed 1 1/2" rings to hold 3/4" of paper. With Rolla, I can have much smaller rings/discs. And the flexibility and all it gives me...

However, I suppose that, were I still studying and writing notes, I would use 3-ringed paper still--but I never used a binder. I would use them loose-leaf in my manila folders, and then put them into a presentation-type folder (with those flat metal things that you folded back over to hold everything together) for studying for exams, and archival purposes. I don't think I would change that. But for everything else I need, give me Rolla. :-)

And I still prefer fountain pens, for some reason.... I think because I cramp my hand less--even though I'm a leftie. ;-)



I still love Circa, it's just that it doesn't work for me for school stuff. I'm using my 3x5" Circa PDA, but I don't have anything else going right now.

I got some colored tabbed pockets for my NoteBinder today. Happy! :)

Ring vs. Disc-Bound: Do both!

The good news is that ring holes and disc smurfs are not incompatible: the smurfs are closer to the paper edge so do not interfere with ring holes. Punching for both makes your pagex "ambi-binderous": able to be used in both ring and disc-bound notebooks.

I trimmed my Flex Binder to

I trimmed my Flex Binder to nearly flush with 8.5 x 11 paper. I love the ease and simplicity of three-ring binders, but their size and, for me, unecessary ring capacity frustrate me. Komtrak makes a similar (better, imo) product called KooolBind--its rings are free-floating and better designed--smaller. Unfortunately their covers are much more rigid and thus not easily trimmed freehand, like the FlexBind. Having said that, the very kind people at Komtrak will trim the covers if requested. Be aware that Mike, the designer/man who takes orders might sound bewildered as to why anyone would WANT to do such a thing to the excruciatingly and painstakingly crafted KooolBind.

Thanks for KooolBind note

I felt like there has to be competition for the Mead Flex binder. I like mine, more than I thought I would, but still It's too big for just a single project. Regarding sturdiness, it has held up well (5 years) with a few loose threads.