My Loose-leaf Binder Solution

"Binder Ingredients" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/100 sec, ISO640
“Binder Ingredients” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

So this weekend I have gotten closer to figuring out the type of binder solution that will work for me. Last year I really got into my Traveler’s Company Passport-size Notebook, but I’ve found that it’s just too small for me. I think the regular size Traveler’s Notebook is also a bit too narrow. The notebook inserts don’t lie flat enough for me to write or draw in comfortably.

Those shortcomings led me to the A5 Binder. First of all, the A5 size is perfect for my sketching and note-taking. I have a bunch of A5-sized notebooks, so I know that these aren’t too small, but I also know that A4 or letter-sized is just too big for me. It would take a lot of writing/drawing to fill one page so that would keep me from starting on a new page. Also, the A5 size binder fits nicely into my messenger bag.

Secondly, the 20-ring binder is good because I can use loose-leaf paper. The advantage of this is that the paper lays flat for easy writing/drawing, or I can even take the paper out of the binder and work on it by itself, then add it back into the binder. And the fact that I can add/remove/reorder pages gives me a lot of freedom!

I actually have a bunch of A5 bound notebooks but I don’t really use them. The reason is that I feel like once I start a new notebook, I have to finish it before moving on to the next one, and also I don’t want to mess up a page and thus “ruin” the whole notebook. I know it’s kind of dumb, but still, it’s holding me back. I have about 10 notebooks sitting on the shelf! But with the loose-leaf paper, that burden is lifted. If I mess up a page, I just throw it away, and no one (me) will ever know it existed.

Another advantage of the binder is that I can mix and match different kinds of paper. For instance, I have graph paper, blank paper, and lined paper all in the single binder. The only things that I wish I had were dot-grid pages and watercolor pages. But the good news is that I should have these two fixed soon, though, because I am planning on printing dot grids on some of my plain paper, and in order to add watercolor pages, I’ve ordered a 20-hole punch. That should give me the freedom to add not only watercolor paper but pretty much any kind of paper (after trimming to A5 size).

One thing I’ve been doing is putting my sketches into the binder. Since I am using drawing paper from my sketchbook, I’ve just been cutting those out and taping them onto blank pages using washi tape. To make a little cleaner, I purchased a Tombow Adhesive Tape tool. But I think since I will have the 20-hole punch soon, it might be easier just to trim the sketchbook page and then hole-punch it.

Lastly, I purchased a clear pen case that also goes into the binder. I’ll probably keep some cash, Instax photos, or other fun stuff in there.

If you already use a loose-leaf type planner or binder, all this might be old hat to you. But for me, I am loving my new “discovery”. It’s great!

Here are the items that I mentioned in this post:

So that’s the current state of my everyday notebook/binder. I’m not sure what to do with the Traveler’s Notebook yet, but I guess I’ll figure out an alternate use for it.

I hope you had a nice Sunday!


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