tuesday hack: rollabind hanging folders

Rollabind Hanging FoldersRegular readers know that my freelance writing business is completely “on the rings.” From creation to disposal, almost every printed document I work with ends up in a Rollabind or Circa notebook. I have Circa notebooks for administrative documents, project files, and permanent archives. For admin files, I use punched poly folders. For project files, I use Jotz Refillable Notebooks.

But for the permanent records — as defined in my PaperJamming schedules — I decided to do something different. I transferred permanent records to their own Rollabind notebooks once they were no longer needed in the admin or project folders, which I stored in plastic file boxes. While this method worked fine, it lacked a certain elegance — that sense of modular panache which Rollabind and Circa users have come to expect from these systems.

What I wanted, in other words, was a Circa-fied approach to hanging folders.

I was talking this over with the ever-resourceful ygor of D*I*Y Planner — your one-stop shop for the best in Rolla/Circa innovation — when he suggested I take a look at this very clever hanging folder prototype developed by Ryan Rasmussen, who at the time was at Levenger’s. I immediately saw that this was the elegant solution I was looking for! Plus, it would work perfectly in the nifty rolling rack that had been relegated to the basement after I had converted all my files to Rollabind.

A quick test using some hanging folders that I had on hand showed that the idea had promise — but, like my original tests with Rollabind hacks two years ago, it also showed that paper and cardboard weren’t the permanent solution. A heavy binder on a big set of rings would cause a single hanging bar to bow excessively, causing the folder to “unzip” from the punched holes starting at the edges and quickly working inward. Sure, I could use two hanging bars, just like you would for an ordinary hanging file — but then there’s that elegance problem again.

As with all Circa hacks, the solution is poly. In this case, Pendaflex Esselte EasyView Hanging Folders, which look and behave like ordinary hanging folders except that they are made from durable clear plastic and have a color-coded band across the top where the tabs slots are. The folders come in boxes of 25, in five colors. Like all Pendaflex products, they’re built to take it.

I cut off the folder tops 1/2″ down from the bottom of the color portion. It’s easy to mark the opaque plastic with pencil and ruler because it has a slightly rough texture. I punched the cut tops in my desktop punch; the plastic is thin enough to fit into the punch, though you’ll have to remove the punch’s metal page-edge guide first.

That’s all there is to it. The result is a hanging folder that’s strong enough to hold my heaviest binder — a year’s worth of invoices on 1″ rings. It can take smaller, lighter binders with ease. The color coding is a nice touch too, as it lets me visually categorize the files. I’m really pleased with the results.

A tip: If you’re storing the hanging folders in a tight space, you might want to stagger the holes (by aligning some cut folders to the left in the punch, and others to the right) to avoid “ring jam.” Another tip: For covers, I use thin clear single-sheet report covers from Office Depot, which come in boxes of 100 and, page for page, are probably the cheapest Circa-fiable rugged plastic covers out there. Another tip, for heavy loads, reinforce the hanging bar by sliding a length of heavy-gauge coat-hanger wire through the gap underneath the bar.

P.S. — I know it’s not Tuesday, but
I didn’t want to wait to share this.

Author: Paul Lagasse

Paul Lagasse provides expert-to-expert communications services to nonprofit, business, and government clients in the metro Baltimore-DC area. Specialties include science and medical writing, technical report editing, and content marketing.

4 thoughts on “tuesday hack: rollabind hanging folders”

  1. Just wanted to let you all know that Ultimate Office (the Jotz folks) are going out of business.

    Hit their website: http://ultoffice.com and use the promo code: CLOSEOUT

    Great prices on rhodia pads – some of their stuff has really big discounts.

    Purchasing from them today i felt like I was closing a casket on an old friend.

  2. Hi, Andrea —

    Thanks for the heads-up. I heard about it too, when I received a “going out of business” coupon e-mail from them. It’s a shame indeed. I will miss their Mini Jotz pads, the paper was wonderful in both quality and size.

    For every Rollabind door that closes, though, at least two new ones seem to open. Franklin Covey recently started offering high-end Rollabind covers, and Pinnacle Promotions, a retailer for Leeds, is selling that company’s much less expensive covers.

    I recently ordered a junior Leeds cover from Pinnacle and I’m really happy with it. In fact, I’ll be reviewing it here soon.

    And in the meantime, let’s hoist our Jotz Refillables in salute to Ultimate Office…

  3. Hi, Ralph! Thanks for the reminder. We wrote about the return of UO here, but we’re probably due for a follow-up now that they’re actually shipping products again. The Jotz notebooks are still listed as “Coming Soon,” and I can’t wait. I have plans for them…

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