Cri de coeur

Once, long ago (actually last year), when I was young and impressionable, I was seduced by the siren’s song of Levenger’s beautiful, expensive Circa system. The paper was luxurious, the pictures in the catalog were sensual and filled with leather clad offices and crackling fireplaces. I succumbed, and dropped a couple hundred bucks on the stuff.

But since then, after getting frustrated with all those little smurfs and flaps, I’ve returned to my senses and my roots - my beloved Trapper Keeper roots. Today the productivity tool for me is a humble three ring binder.

You don’t have to buy any special equipment to use it. Most offices already have a three-hole punch. You can even buy packs of pre-punched filler paper or glued pads on sale at office supply stores during back to school season for less than a dollar. You can punch smaller pages with just two holes instead of three. You can include customized forms, checklists, typed notes, and articles from the Internets easily, without having to futz around with margins and complicated templates. You can seamlessly combine the analog and digital.

See here my friends: Behold my efficient, flexible, couldn’t-live-without-it, less-than-three-dollars binder (which is actually a Staples brand presentation folder, which I use because it’s light):

It’s not beautiful, but I use it far more often than I ever used my Circa stuff. It’s a little big, but it makes it to work and back just fine. I transfer unneeded pages to other binders for storage (Four binders for $6 at Staples!) and keep only the current stuff with me.

Circa, I hereby proclaim, is a fraud. A fraud I tell you!

Talk amongst yourselves.


JensPoder said...

This is very funny :)

I can really understand your thinking. I wanted to have a cool slick organizer, to take with me everywhere. And Levenger is really cool.

But I find myself carrying round my backbreaking Levenger Holepunch as well. Is this thing made of lead or what? And I keep speculating if I should dish out another fortune for extra holepunches.

And I keep running out of paper.

Until now, I had imagined the solution to be the even more expensive german X47 system.

But now I'm not so sure :)

- Jens Poder

shris said...


If you only use a letter size system, then you are quite right--3-hole is easier than Circa.

However, if you are a regular user of strange size pages, or you have multiple sizes for different environments, then circa/rolla is really very cool.

Personally, I think having a large number of different forms for different tasks is the fraud. :) Plain lines or grid, or even just plain, should be good enough for darn near any application. Having a bunch of different forms just means you have to keep track of more different stacks of paper.

I look at my Levenger catalog and try to figure out what I would use certain things for. I finally broke down and bought a shirt pocket briefcase and a book bungee, but that's about all I can really justify. I can make my own cool covers from some really great papers I already have. The stuff is tempting anyway, but I just can't justify the price tag.


Rasmussen said...

The temptation of the Trapper Keeper is one I, too, covet. It's the nostalgia that draws me in. I was compelled by the variety covered with holographic dragons and wizards.

Yet, I am in the same boat as Shris when it comes to size. Were a trapper keeper fit for a shirt pocket, I might give it another whirl. Until then, I am bound to 3x5's.

- [struck by urgent desire to hunt for materials to fabricate a new cover remin. 1980's ; puff stickers from Krull, holograms, anything hot pink] ;)

Jennifer George said...

I was a little disappointed to learn that Trapper Keepers are now held closed by magnets. The velcro closures were so satisfying. I remember mine was green and white. We got it at Zody's. My mom had to get a rain check because they were on sale but ran out.

Ryan, thanks for understanding that I meant this all in fun. :)