One of my favorite parts of going back to school in September was always getting new supplies. I’ve been a stationary nerd since I was a kid and I still get a rush from breaking out a new notebook or writing with my favorite pen. Years ago, when I decided to go back to school for interior design, I took my school supply obsession to the next level and actually researched notebooks to find the best one for me. That was when I discovered the discbound system, and I haven’t looked back since. If you still enjoy taking notes on paper whether for school, work, or your personal life, the discbound system is a great organizational tool and flexible enough to adapt to your specific needs.
Discbound notebooks have been around for years but still remain a somewhat niche product. They use a unique binding system that combines the customizability of a 3-ring binder with the ease of use of a spiral notebook. If you ever used an old-school Rolodex you’re familiar with the concept: paper is punched with mushroom-shaped holes that allow it to be held together on discs.
The magic of this binding method is that any paper or accessory that has the mushroom punches can be easily added or removed from a notebook, creating a completely customizable system. I love the ability to insert, take out, and move pages around as my needs change, something that is impossible with spiral-bound books. I own a punch as well, which lets me add my own documents to my notebooks. This was a great help when I was taking classes and needed to keep track of syllabi and handouts.
You can purchase pages and inserts in a variety of sizes and styles to create something that works perfectly for you. The most widely-available sizes are standard letter (8 ½ x 11 inches) and half-letter (5 ½ x 8 ½ inches). The distance between punches is one inch regardless of the overall size of the paper, which means you can add smaller pages within a larger notebook, as seen here.
Covers come in a variety of colors and materials as well. I use a sturdy faux-leather one for my main work notebook because it provides a hard writing surface when I need to take notes or measurements on a job while standing. Discbound notebooks easily fold over onto themselves like a spiral binding, which is handy if you need to write without a tabletop or if you have a limited amount of desk space.
If you’re interested in putting together your own discbound notebook, you can find them sold as the ARC line at Staples, TUL products at Office Max/Office Depot, and the higher-end Circa line at Levenger. If you enjoy paper agendas, the one that I use (and love!) is called The Happy Planner, and it also employs the discbound system. They carry lots of fun products and accessories that allow for unlimited customization of your planners, notebooks, and scrapbooks.
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