Renaissance Art Large Moleskine/3x5 card case review

A few weeks ago I received my large moleskine and 3x5 card case from renaissance art, thanks to both Arthur of Renaissance Art, and our very own Doug for their parts in the recent competition. I was looking for something in Junior/Classic size, and so opted for the larger of the two cases on offer. There has already been a review of the smaller case on here, but I wanted to add some of my own thoughts, and highlight some of the differences between the two sizes.

The case is slightly larger than the moleskine, by about 1/2" top and bottom, and almost 1" wider, making it a little bigger than I first expected. The width of the case is a little over 1" when filled with cards and the moleskine, again, a bit bulkier than expected. Of course, it's still small enough to throw in your bag and take it with you, and the larger size helps protect everything held inside.

As said in the review of the smaller case, the leather has a worn, traveled look, for which I am grateful. Not only does it look good, but I feel like it can take a beating without it damaging the appearance of the leather. So far, it has held up really well, although I haven't really subjected it to much wear and tear, it just gets thrown into a bag with everything else when I go out.

Unlike the smaller version, there isn't a single card holder on the top that will let you write directly on an index card without taking it out. In practice this doesn't seem to be a problem as I use the holder while sat down at a desk (or more usually, while sat on the sofa), and the single card view that you can write on seems much more suited for capture while on the move. Instead, there are 4 card pockets on the left hand side that can hold many more cards. The case arrived with 5 cards in each pocket, and it looks like it could comfortably hold several more. The index cards from renaissance art are very thick (they say they use 100lb cover stock - 270gsm using my trusty chart), and if you normally use cheaper, thinner cards, then you may be able to fit even more cards in. Each pocket allows a clear view of the top of the card, from about 1/2" to 1" depending on how far you slide the cards in, which is easily enough to identify each card.

My card case had diagonal pockets sloping down the the right, differing from the horizontal pockets shown on the site. You can see what the pockets are like by taking a look at their Moleskine planner 3x5 Card Case and clicking on the More Pictures link. This arrangement allows you to see more of the cards, especially the one in the bottom pocket. It also makes it very easy to add and remove cards from the pockets, while still holding the cards secure. The folks at Renaissance Art evidently realized this and have added the new style pockets to their other card case.

Behind the card pockets is another larger pocket from top to bottom that can hold any other papers you might have. Because the case is sized perfectly for a large moleskine, the pocket is just slightly too small to hold a letter sheet of paper folded in half. The same goes for A4 paper too, which is about 1/4" wider than the moleskine. The pocket looks perfect however for holding miscellaneous receipts or smaller papers, and of course, you can fold paper further in order for it to fit. The pocket would also hold a pocket briefcase or other similar sized index card holder, so you could keep it with you and then take it out to just carry the pocket briefcase and cards when you need to carry less with you.

I'm a GTD person, or at least I'm trying to be, so my use of the card case isn't very original. I keep running projects and someday maybe lists in the moleskine, along with any other miscellaneous notes. The lists are kept in the front of the moleskine on alternate pages, and other notes are kept in the back. Next actions, waiting for, and agendas are kept on index cards in the card pockets, being transferred to a smaller card case if I need to carry less with me. This seems to be working well for me, and the case is a very good way to hold a large part of my GTD system. Only a calendar and reference filing system are kept separately, and if you used a moleskine planner instead of a notebook, you could even keep the calendar together too.

This is a beautiful, well made product that I am very pleased with. Renaissance art do some very high quality work that will no doubt delight anybody who receives something from them.

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