Arc Customizable Notebook Review (sorta)

This may be the first of many posts chronicling my experience with the Arc notebook from Staples. I’m taken with it so far but I’ve only had it for a week.

The spoils of my trip to Staples.

I got the following:

~A junior-size leather Arc in blue, after a friend advised me that the red looked stodgy and dead.

~A packet of grid paper since man cannot live on lines alone.

~A ruler that snaps right into the rings, thus eliminating the need to constantly dig in my pen case for one.

~A pack of larger rings with an approximate capacity of 150 pages.

~A pack of five tab dividers in black. They also had the dividers in packs of colorful but ‘office-friendly’ colors that reminded me of potpourri.

The first step in preparing my new notebook was replacing the smaller 100 page rings with their beefier successors, a process that can be best summed up as me repeating the phrase “Oh, God, I’m going to break it this time for sure,” eight times. I never broke the covers, but the terror never left me. The black portions of the cover that snap onto the rings are sturdy to the point of feeling as though they might snap if treated too harshly. They have just enough give to snap on and then immediately reform as if you never bent them at all. Impressive.

Nuts to you, day planner monopolies!

I didn’t buy calendar inserts. I don’t like being forced to either toss out half the pages or wait until January 1st to start using my planner. Instead, I made a cute little prototype for use with the grid pages. Each page has one week, so an entire month can go on two or three sheets of paper.  I decided to start my calendar’s weeks on Monday, as this was most convenient for my work habits.

And now – Ink!

I don’t yet feel the need for a monthly calendar, though I may devise one if I feel like plotting out timelines for a month’s worth of projects ahead of time.

With my calendar pages made, I used the dividers to slice the notebook up into four sections: Agenda, Writing Projects, Blog, and… spare paper. Look, I keep my contacts in my phone and you’re reading my journal right now. There’s only so much I can bring myself to do with one notebook right away.

And if I decide to do more in the future? That’s the beauty of these systems. I’ve already done a lot of note-rearranging, for instance, and I could see myself changing the book’s composition many, many times as circumstances require.

Structurally, the leather Arc seems resilient enough to be chucked into a laptop bag and jostled around for a few hours. The inner flap is useful for tucking away grocery lists and other such disposable reminders. The pages turn easily even after the abuse of being repeatedly repositioned.

In short: After owning the Arc for seven days, I like it and so should you. If I still love it in December, I’ll buy myself the punch as a holiday gift and free myself from buying my paper at Staples. Until then, expect regular updates on the state of the notebook. My craft-happy housemate has been casting her gaze at its unadorned pages…

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