Keeping Myself Organized (aka, Finding the Perfect Notebook System)


I consider myself to be a fairly organized person, and at the same time, kind of a mess. I run a mishmash of digital and analog technologies on a day to day basis. On the one hand, I don’t think you can beat analog for convenience. There’s almost always a scrap of paper and something to write with around, almost anywhere you are. Plus there’s the fact that I love fountain pens and paper, and therefore like to write things down. That addresses being in the moment.

But when it comes to going back, to accessing the information previously recorded, I don’t think you can beat digital. That is, if you initially input things digitally. But now with the advent of scanners, OCR, tags and things like Evernote, intermingling the digital and analog worlds is fairly easy, and more and more commonplace.

20180130_123358I run all my calendar information through Google Calendar. Everything. Multiple calendars for work and home and the ability to share with my wife and kids. All my note taking is done in a notebook, and later scanned into Evernote.

As far as notebook systems go, that’s where I feel like kind of a mess. I’ve tried just about all of them, and several I’ve changed from – and returned to – again and again. I started off with Moleskin and Moleskin knock-offs in the 5.5 x 3.5 size. Love the convenience of that size. That gave way to the  disc based systems, first with Levenger then Staples ARC system. I really bought into this system, picking up several notebooks in various sizes and getting a heavy duty hole punch to be able to use the disc system to it’s full potential. Utilizing the hole punch and some really nice heavy laser paper, I designed my own sheets too. But the size and slight bulkiness (I used the Jr size notebook) began to put me off, so I went to Field notes with a leather cover from Rustico.

But ultimately, I really, REALLY like the disk system. Currently, Staples offers 3 sizes of these notebooks, a letter size, a Junior size, and a “compact” size (paper size 4.25 x 5.75). It’s this last one that I kept thinking about. It was close in size to the Moleskin; that was a big plus for me. And then adding to that, it’s the disc system, and I love that! Another big plus! But a huge minus for me – it’s just a hard plastic / nylon cover. My letter and Jr size Arc notebooks have nice, real leather covers. So my first thought was – make my own leather cover for it. Yep. That’s what I’ll do. I typically enjoy stuff like that. However, once I started adding up the costs to acquire all the tools I would need, as well as the leather itself, I began to think I might need a plan B.

So….Plan B.

Can I find an existing leather cover that would fit the Staples Arc  “Mini”? (I don’t know the correct name for this Arc notebook, so I’ll refer to it as the “Mini”. My article, my rules.)

Staples Arc Mini.jpg
The Staples Arc Mini version

The Arc Mini notebook hosts 5 discs, has outside covers that were 4.625 inches wide by 5.9375 tall and houses 4.25 by 5.75 inch paper. So, I need to either A) find something that would accommodate that notebook, or, B) find a leather cover that that I really like, and make my circa notebook fit it.

I investigated several sources of leather goods companies, and ultimately, I ended up utilizing the first company I thought of to check with.

About a year ago, I did a review on a large leather notebook cover from a company called Galen Leather, based in Turkey.  They sent me their “Extra Large Moleskin” model which I gave a 6 out of 5 stars. And I meant it. Turns out they offer the same style of notebook called the “Leather Leuchtturm 1917 A6 Notebook” cover.

Leather Leuchtturm 1917 A6 Notebook

This A6 size works out to about 4.9 by 6.9 inches. I thought it might be a tight fit, but it would be close. So I figured I’d try it, and if it didn’t fit, I could shave off the cover of the Arc notebook itself and make it fit.

And…..It worked. Basically. Initially, I just slid the back cover of the Arc through the elastic band of the Galen leather cover. The problem was that the Arc notebook tended to shift around too much inside the leather cover. Ultimately, I used a 2nd back cover on the Arc, shaved off about 1/8th inch off the top and bottom of that cover, and inserted that into the back flap slot of the Galen cover. Perfect. Nice, snug fit and no shifting around.

I ordered my cover in brown (it’s available in a LOT of colors). The leather is fairly heavy weight, and yet still supple. It’s vegetable tanned and exquisitely stitched.  The edges are smooth and burnished. Simply stated, these Galen covers are absolutely fantastic!

Following are some eye candy and links to other reviews on these covers.

Companion Video HERE!

Galen Leather


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