When I got the opportunity to get organized with the new M by Staples Arc Customizable Organization System I couldn’t say “Yes” quickly enough. The opportunity to compile all my scribbles in random spiral notebooks and note pads into one organized system? Yes, please.

About the Arc Customizable System

Arc customizable notebook system is a unique line of notebooks and accessories form M by Staples. It’s ultra-flexible design allows you to add, remove and rearrange pages easily as your needs change. Plus, you can personalize it with your favorite add-ons for a system that’s uniquely you.

My Arc

I’ve been keeping track of my thoughts and scribbles and notes in a Junior Size Leather Notebook. The Notebook comes with 60 pages of lined paper that you can move around how you want. You add on and purchase accessories to customize the Notebook separately including graph ruled paper, project planner paper, to do lists, pocket dividers, tab dividers, page flags and small task pads. The Notebook isn’t a planner and, in fact, there aren’t calendar refills to add to the system. I am a little disappointed there aren’t calendar inserts to make the Notebook a planner and organizer in one. But, I have gotten more use out of it than I expected without the calendar portion.

The Notebook isn’t spiral bound like it looks, and instead everything can be removed and moved around. That is a big benefit for me since it always seems like a new project is a priority and I like to be able to rearrange things. At the moment, the Notebook is as full as it can be and it doesn’t lie flat. I think it might be better if the ring were larger to accommodate more paper, dividers and such.

To be honest, I didn’t check the price of the System until I started working on this review and I was highly impressed with the price tag. I expected it to start at a minimum of $20. I was pleasantly surprised to see the Notebook is only $10 and the accessories are about $2. So affordable!

To Buy or Not to Buy

To Buy… I really like using the Arc Notebook System and love how affordable it is. It’s totally customizable and you only need to buy the accessories that you want to use. All the accessories are effective and you can place them wherever you need them. I recommend the Junior size – it’s plenty big but fits easily in my purse.

Or Not to Buy… I do wish the Notebook System had a monthly calendar accessory so I could use it as a planner and organizer. It’s possible to use the narrow ruled sheets as days of the week – since they’re unmarked – but it would be a bit of a waste.

Shop! The M by Staples Arc Customizable Notebook System is available in Junior size (6 3/8 x 8 3/4 inches) and Letter size (9 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches). The Notebooks start at only $5 for Poly material Junior size and go up to $14.99 for Leather in Letter size. Accessories are available for purchase separately and are $2 to $3.

Thanks to Staples for providing a sample for the purpose of this review. As always, opinions are my own.


Kate started The Shopping Mama™ in January 2009 when, after graduating law school, she traded in online legal research and writing for locating the best products for children. She shops for three kids ages 8, 6 and 3 from their home in Japan. Her military family is making the most of back-to-back overseas assignments by traveling every chance they get.

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  1. 1.

    I have this too! I love it! I WAS having a big issue with not havinga calendar, but then I found a weekly planner that was about $5, and used a clip to hold it in the front cover. Works great! I mean…REALLY great.

    • .

      Oh, that’s good to know. I have a hard bound planner right now that won’t fit inside. But I might switch over to one that fits in the Planner.

  2. 2.

    I like my ARC system, but want to put other paper in the notebook (photos etc.) Is there a punch to make the holes?

    • .
      Nicole Miller

      Hi Ian,

      Staples is releasing the punch in October of this year. I read that on Staples website. But Levenger offers the punch now; a portable one for $39.00 and a desk punch for $59.00 (I believe). Check them out at http://www.levenger.com and search for or click on “circa punches”.

      Happy planning/organizing!


  3. 3.
    Melinda Mehaffy

    Love the arc system and have turned a couple of coworkers on to is as well. Disappointed that it is getting very difficult to find and is not available on the Staples website. The customer service agent said I would have to wait until it was available again in the store!

    • .
      Nicole Miller

      Hi Melinda,

      Staples.com offers most if not ALL of the ARC products and accessories. Check it out http://www.staples.com!

      Happy planning/organizing!


  4. 4.

    I LOVE the system..wish there were insert pages for coupon organizing! Any way to retro-fit other brand of inserts into the Arc system?

  5. 5.
    Nicole Miller

    Hi Kate! Guess what??? ARC has larger discs to hold more paper in your notebook. And the largest ones only cost $2.99. I bought some today.

    The other things is the calendar. You can always print a monthly/weekly calendar from Microsoft Outlook and place it in one of your pockets and use that as your working planner for the month or the week. Hope this lil’ tip helps you…that is, if you haven’t found a different option yet. 🙂

    Happy planning/organizing!


  6. 6.
    Gerry Seymour

    For those looking for additional accessories, both Rollabind and Levenger’s Circa (a Rollabind re-brand, I believe) mate with Arc. These have many more options (including both larger and smaller discs), though the price tag is higher. A nice way to fill out any missing spaces until Arc includes everything we want!

  7. 7.

    Arc does have a calendar system. I just picked it up.

  8. 8.
    Nicole Miller

    Hi Kate! So I’m sure you know by now that Staples offers the weekly calendar pages, right? Are you still using your ARC and if so have you gotten the pages. If not, you must! 🙂

  9. 9.
    Mickey S.

    Nicole Miller – Could you tell me where you found the information about the calendar pages. I haven’t been able to find them on staples.com?
    Thank you.

  10. 10.

    Nicole Miller, etc. I too can not find the calender pages on staples.com nor in the store. I don’t want to buy the arc system until I can definitely get the calendar pages.

  11. 11.

    I agree with Janalyn. I’m basically sold on the Arc system but I dont want to purchase a cover and accessories untill I can get my hands on the calendar pages!!! Where have you found them? They’re not in stores yet here in Louisville, Kentucky.

  12. 12.

    The good thing about the ARC notebook is that you don’t have to wait until Staples makes a calendar insert. You can buy the ARC “hole” puncher and insert your own calendar and anything else you desire!

  13. 13.

    Hi, I was really excited when I saw this system as well. I am concerned though about how well the pages stay on the ring things?

  14. 14.

    I just got my ARC in a couple of days ago and I am completely in love! I can organize every part of my life in one place and switch it around as things change. The hole punch is totally worth it. You can add anything to it, and from what I can tell so far, everything stays in great! Love! Love! Love!

  15. 15.

    I insert my own calendar pages that I have downloaded and printed from the internet. They can be printed quite decoratively, and on card stock and then hole punched. I am having difficulty finding the hole punch in Canada…..any hints anyone? I love this system. I use it as a portfolio.

  16. 16.

    They sell calendar inserts for Arc on their website. Both monthly versions and monthly/weekly.

  17. 17.
    Julie Bell

    They may have the 8.5 by 11 calendar but they are no longer selling the 8.5 by 5.5 academic calendar pages!! I am furious because I invested in the arc system specifically because I could purchase refill calendars each year, but now they dont offer them!! Love my book, but HATE STAPLES!! They did a search and couldn’t find the refills anywhere so they offered me a new calendar to purchase! NOT!!

  18. 18.
    Sylvia Womack

    I love my customizable notebook system. Currently using the 8.5×5.5 size would love to be able to also find a larger size in leather and in bright colors these notebooks allow me to be able to organize my life the way I wish.

  19. 19.

    I just bought the arc system, I am disappointed that I can’t find the planner pages with daily calendar. I am too busy to make my own and too broke to buy the hole punch Being a student and having student loans makes this difficult.
    Does the levenger or rollabind system fit in the smaller arc 8.5 x 5.5? Obviously many people want the planner, how do we get the company to hear our plea?

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