Saturday, May 4, 2013

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How to Turn the Customizable "M by Staples Arc System" Notebook into a Blogging Organizer (Free Printables)

Thank you to Staples for providing complimentary product samples to facilitate this project.  All opinions expressed are my own.

For the past four years or so, I have been using a serious day planner.  By "serious" I mean that it had two pages per day, a pocket for my portable drive, a complete A to Z address book, sleeves for business cards, and more.  This organizer was so cumbersome that I never took it anywhere with me and I just ended up leaving it open on my desk all the time.  I could also only fit 3 months of refills in the planner at one time.  In addition to this organizer, I used a separate small notebook to keep track of product reviews.  I also used large Post-Its as page markers and to write ongoing to do lists, so that I could just move it to another page instead of having to copy the list over.  This definitely was not the best system, but I had been using it for so many years, I had grown accustomed to it. When I was introduced to the M by Staples Arc System, I saw this as an opportunity to streamline my daily planning.

To help me with this endeavor, Staples provided me with everything I needed (plus a few other fun home office products) to build my own blogging organizer . . .

I will be describing how I set up my Junior Arc to turn it into a basic daily blogging planner below, but the M by Staples Arc System is so versatile that you can easily change it to meet your own needs.

Step 1.  Remove most of the ruled paper that came with your Junior Arc Notebook.  I just left 2 or 3 sheets in case I needed scrap paper to jot something down for someone else.

Step 2.  Print out the free blogging planner pages I made at the bottom of this post (or make your own).  Fold the pages in half with the printed side facing out.  Then insert the shaded edge of the folded piece of paper into the Arc System Desktop Punch, while lining it up with the easy-to-use guide for Junior Arc-sized pages.

Once the page is in place, push the handle all the way down to punch the slotted holes in the paper.

Step 3.  Decide what sections you would like to have in your planner.  My organizer has ruled paper, a Notes section, a Photos/Ideas Log section, a Review Log section, a Calender Planner section, and a Contacts section.  Then insert the Arc System Tab Dividers between each section and label them with the included self-adhesive tab labels.

Step 4.  I took a page off the Arc System Task Pad to use as a page marker and an ongoing to do list that I can move from week to week, if needed.

Step 5.  To save room, I removed the pages of the Arc System Week/Month Calendar Refills that I no longer needed.  I highly recommend putting 6 months of refills in at a time.  How often do you need to go back to previous months in your day planner, right?  These refills also come with a regular monthly calendar at the beginning of each month so you can jot down any important events just as you would on a wall calendar.

Because the 3-Year Reference Calendar is only printed on the front of the first page for January, I cut off the January tab with scissors and placed the whole page inside an Arc System Pocket Divider.  Since the divider is larger than a standard page, I put the calendar at the very end of my notebook.  It worked out perfectly and I can read the 3-year calendar right through the pocket.

For the specialty double-sided blogging organizational pages, you really only have to print them as you need them.  There is no need to add extra bulk to your planner just to store the extra blank pages.  On the same note, you can easily remove any pages that you no longer need.

I also created a page for any notes you may need to jot down or record.  Our children are on a points system where they can earn (and lose) points based on their behavior and how they handle their responsibilities.  Everyday, I need to make a note of how many points each child has earned or lost.  This page works out perfectly for that, but it really has an infinite number of uses.

TO PRINT:  Be sure your computer's printer is on and ready to go.  Click on the desired page to enlarge.  Then right-click on the image and choose print.  Use your browser's back arrow to return to this page.

Product Review Log
This printable is designed to record all your product reviews, with places to mark whether (or when) the product was received, the scheduled posting date (or due date), whether the post is a review and/or a giveaway, and a place for special notes.

Photos and Topic Ideas Log
This printable is designed to list out everything you need to take photos of for upcoming posts.  There is also a place to record any future blog post ideas you may have.

This printable is a versatile place to jot down notes, whether it is for blogging, parenting, or something else.  It is a good way not to waste paper because we often use one notepad page or one Post-It per note.

To view all the M By Staples Arc System products, visit your local Staples store or Staples online.  Why not get Mom an Arc System Leather or Poly Notebook along with a Staples gift card for Mother's Day?  That way she can customize the notebook to fit her own personal needs.


  1. I am not a blogger, but I am a serious list/note maker. And I like to write and read things on paper! I cannot use a PC or a phone or whatever, I find them very impersonal and a pain. I like some of these ideas very much and think I can adapt them to suit my needs. Thanks!

  2. you have so many good ideals listed,,I so wish I was a organized as you are my dear,,im envious

  3. Thanks for your post, if you like Arc products, I run an Arc blog - - check it out if you like!

  4. Wow look at how organized you are. I am so not even this close to being organized.

  5. I started something very similar to this for my recipes. I hate keeping them online. I have to 'fess I didn't finish it, but I'm still using it!!! This is nice!

  6. I have used the arc notebook system for the past 2 years for my daily planner, to do list and notes pages and discovered that this year they are not selling the 13-14 academic calendar!!! I love my arc notebook but am so ANNOYED with Staples for discontinuing this!! Have you found anything that is comparable. I have considered purchasing the punch so I can make my own calendar pages since that is the main focus of my book!!

  7. @Julie Bell: That is so strange Julie. Perhaps they will release a new calendar in the fall? I can't see Staples doing away with the calendar refills altogether.

  8. I can't find the calendar pages at my local store or online at the website. Like Julie, I would love advice on what to use instead. I bought this system last summer for my son to use at college and I hate to only get one year out of it. He mostly uses the calendar portion

  9. @Amy: Let me see if I can find out through my contact. I'll update here when I have an answer. :)

  10. @Amy and @Julie Bell: My contact for Staples was nice enough to verify that the calendar refills have NOT been discontinued. If they are not in your local store, they should become available online sometime during the Fall for 2014. Hope this helps! :)

  11. Thank you so much for finding out, I hope they do put them out as I just check my Staples this week and they didn't have any. I am going to check Martha Stewart's line because I think she uses the same disc/punch method so maybe they're interchangeable...I was SO disappointed when they weren't in the store but hoping they're out soon!

  12. @Dana - Vintage Interiors: I'm happy to be able to help. I will be keeping an eye out for the refills online for myself. :)

  13. Great post! I love my arc and am blogging about it for the 31 Days challenge hosted by the Nester. ;)

  14. I really to get more organized, and having an organizer like this would be a huge help. Especially love the free printables, makes it much easier to create.


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