New Favorite Circa/Rolla Hack


I have a new favorite hack involving Circa/Rolla now.

Illustrated beautifully by our own Karen the Shutterbug (flickr link), the folder-as-cover is the new Great Thing for me.

I will explain, I'm sure there are folks wondering what the magic is.

OK, here's the deal. I have a few big projects I'm working on right now. They involve documents, meetings, etc. Notes and action items have to be recorded, and sometimes I handwrite these on my scratch pad (a rolla-bound bunch of misprints with a fancy set of covers). That's lovely, but I need a spot to keep them so I can look up what was said.

Enter the manila folder and a set of small Rolla discs--these are smaller than the smallest Circa discs, holding about 40 pages at most. The manila folder barely fits into my rolla desktop punch, but it fits. So, punch holes along the original fold--the bottom of the folder. Then crease along one of the pre-scored marks just beyond the round edge of the holes. Turn the original fold inside out, insert discs, and the manila folder now is a binder.

OK, that part's not magical. What *is* magical is that I can use it as a binder while the project is going on, keeping the pages in order and neat regardless of size, and when the project is over I can remove the discs and file the folder (now returned to it's original function as a file folder) in my archive cabinet for six months or so.

The magic is folder = binder = folder. The folder has enough 'spine' to accept a label or some writing to tell them apart, I can color code with both the folder itself and the discs I use if I want, and when it's all over I can recycle the discs for another purpose and keep the folder stuffed in a file the way it was originally intended.

Cheap, easy, effective, useful. Ahh. Love it. I think I'll use it for my dental bills and my medical tax-related records too. Sweet.

OK, so why not just use the folder in a folder stand on my desk instead of punching everything? Order. When the papers are bound, they stay in the order I want them in (chronological or otherwise). There's no dropping stuff if the folder slips off the desk, it's easy to flip through without having stuff end up in your lap.. Convenience and security, really. There are other ways to solve all of those issues, of course, but this one utilizes things I already have. No new money. :)

Happiness in small things makes the rest of work happier too.

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Great idea

The storage binders Rollabind sells use the same idea, executed a bit differently. I'll get a picture posted ASAIC (as soon as I can)
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

manilla folders!

What a simple, elegant idea! Have you tried using them with fewer rings attached? I wonder if that would be ok for something that isn't heavily handled?


fewer rings

Hi Jon.

Haven't tried it with this application yet, but fewer rings works fine for some other things I've done. You can easily get away with an every-other-hole situation on the big stuff, and on letter size you can do the two top and bottom holes, and leave the other seven open if you're really shy of rings.

However, that limits your ability to add stuff like 3x5 cards and post-it scraps to the binding. That's occasionally an issue, since I write notes on whatever's to hand in some situations--when I get a call from the boss that I wasn't expecting, for example.

So yeah, you can economize on discs if you aren't too worried about multiple paper sizes.


I was thinking....

However, that limits your ability to add stuff like 3x5 cards and post-it scraps to the binding.

I was thinking primarily of your medical records or bills, etc. Those are items that are typically all the same size. I guess, though, with the every-other-hole idea, you could add in pretty small stuff, too. I will need to play with it. Now, were are my old, worn out manilla folders????



What an excellent idea! For projects that generate a lot of notes, I try to fold and stuff everything into my classic planner, but I had not thought of using the Magic Rolla Spine method for making an archivable binder just for projects.

Off to nab some folders from supplies. :-)



It just occurred to me that you could do precisely the same thing with whatever ring binding system you prefer.

1. Punch manila folder with whatever punch you like.
2. Insert loose rings of your preferred small size through the holes.
3. Add papers.

Doesn't have quite the rolla/circa advantages for multiple paper sizes, but it would still work for keeping papers in place.



That's the kind of idea that I love! Elegant and useful. Thanks so much.

Punch on the back

I have an old one that Levenger sold once that is very similar, but it's punched on the back, near the spine, so that the spine itself doesn't show the rings.

If I can, I'll try to post a pic a little later.


The binders Rollabind makes are like that. I have a couple. Although I think I'll try this folder hack before I buy any more...