It’s no secret that I love a good notebook. So when I saw the Staples Arc Notebook, watched a billion youtube reviews and found myself continuously browsing the Staples website, I knew I had to buy myself one.
It’s featured pretty extensively on my Instagram and Tumblr accounts, and as such I’m always fielding questions about it, so today I thought I’d do a review on the ARC notebook and hopefully it will answer some of the questions you all have.
Note: Everything marked with an * is an affiliate code. You don’t have to use them, it just simply means I make a few cents if you purchase using my link!
Let’s get started with talking about the ARC notebook I have – I use the M By Staples Poly Arc A4 Notebook in black* with the 38mm disks and the normal lined paper. I also added that Poly Dividers* and the Poly Pockets* to help me keep organised. I purchased my ARC notebook from the Staples Australia website but obviously if you’re not Australian, your best bet would be Staples or Amazon. I don’t remember how much I paid but they retail for about $13USD (or $24 AUD) for the plain Poly notebook.
Now, as a Psychology student, I accumulate a lot of notes – both my own handwritten ones but also hand outs and work I need to print and bring to class. This has been my biggest issue when finding a note taking and organising system over the past two and a half years. The ARC system almost completely solved that issue for me. I’ve been able to divide my notebook into four sections for each of my classes and have an extra section for scribbling quick little reminders, to do-lists, or non-school related things.This means that everything was in one place and not in four different notebooks or four different binders. I’ve also been able to hole-punch in any hand outs or print outs I have, which means I can keep everything in the one place with my own handwritten notes. This was a lifesaver when it came to being in class and needing to look back on things or review work from previous classes.
[13/30 #aprilstudychallenge] MY JOURNEY // I've been thinking for a few days what I wanted to write about and I decided I want to write about my journey on the good old instagrams. I started this account just over a year ago. It’s original purpose was to promote my blog (cough, link in bio, cough 😂) but I stumbled across the studygram community and well, it was a bit like fate. Somehow, I assume this was simply because I joined at the right time, I amassed a bit of a following (and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, seriously, I would hug you all if I could) and things were good for a good few solid months, then the community changed and evolved and this sounds ridiculous but I felt as though I couldn't keep up and questioned myself and my posts a lot because of it. I can’t/don’t/won’t do the amazing hand lettering, bullet journals, super inspirational, super perfect notes because that’s not me and that’s not how I study. I can’t/don’t/won’t do the perfect flatlays or hauls with super expensive stationery I don’t need because that’s not me either and posting that stuff because it was popular didn't feel sincere and very forced. It's kind of made me not enjoy Instagram anymore. Now, I've made the decision to stop putting so much of my self-worth into Instagram and just post what I enjoy. So, I’m doing a 360 and going back to the start. I’m just gonna post what I want. It'll still be uni/study/school related but just not solely notes and stationery anymore. I totally get if you're not into that but change is good and this community just is not right for me anymore. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the support, whether you stick around or not and appreciate you all ❤❤❤
I also really loved the paper refills. At 100GSM, the paper is nice and thick so pens don’t bleed through or ghost onto the other side. It’s also lined really nicely with a header at the top for titles and the date which makes even the most simple of notes look nice.
Another added benefit of the ARC system for me was that I was able to move and organise my notes. Personally, I like things being grouped together by content but sometimes professors don’t present their lectures in a linear manner and you’ll be halfway through one topic and then suddenly moving onto another before moving back to the original topic. This kills me and my obsessive organising ways. The ARC notebook means that I’m able to group my notes together how I want them and I’m able to organise and reorganise as often as I want which you cannot do with a normal notebook.
Onto the negatives, the biggest issue I had with the Staples ARC notebook is the hole-punching. This is an easy fix for most people as there is a purposefully made hole-punch for this notebook but being from Australia means that it’s not only expensive to buy, it’s also expensive to get shipped to me, so I tried to make do with a normal hole-punch and some scissors but this was a messy and time consuming process. As such, last semester I found myself grabbing the classic four subject notebook and pulling out my old binders and returning to my old note keeping system.
My most commonly asked question is about my notebook, so i though I'd do a quick little FAQ. Hope it helps (if you have any other questions – let me know!) 📚 1. What is it? What brand is it? It's a disc bound notebook. There are a bunch of different brands but mine is by @staples / @staplesaustralia. 📒 📚 2. Where do you buy it? I personally buy mine from the Staples Australia website but you can also get them from amazon! ❤ 📚3. Wow, they're expensive! $24 AUD for a notebook is ridiculous, I agree but they're not normal notebooks. You don't need to replace them, you just refill the paper when you run out. 👍🏻 📚4. How do you add printed notes? They make a hole punch you can use but I refuse to pay $80 AUD for it, so I use a normal hole punch and scissors! So far so good! 😊 📚5. What size discs do you use? I'm using the biggest (38mm? Maybe?) because I'm storing an entire semester worth of work in it 💁🏼 📚*also, my arc notebook is the plastic cover not the leather one and the subject dividers, bigger discs and sticky notes that clip in, that you may have seen in previous pictures are sold separately! Oh and someone help me start a petition for @staplesaustralia to start selling the grid paper inserts on their site, I am desperate. Please and thank you!
Another issue I had was the bulkiness. It didn’t take me long to fill up the 38mm rings, maybe about three or four weeks, and I had to begin removing things in order to put in paper to write notes. This meant that my notebook was really thick and actually really heavy. It became hard to shove into my bag and the rings tend to get caught on things because they’re not quite as stable as spiral coil or binding. This is something to be aware of if you’re looking to buy an ARC notebook.
Personally, as much as I love the ARC notebook system and it’s ease of use, it’s just not as practical for me as it may be for others. If I didn’t only have one semester left of undergraduate studies, I’d probably invest in the hole-punch and use the ARC more diligently but for now, I’m just going to stick to my classic notebook and binders.
Do you use an ARC notebook or discbound notebook? Or are you looking at buying one? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!