Why Notebooks are Superior to Binders

Think back to the middle of August. Specifically, Aug. 22, the Sunday right before school began. Let me guess what your day looked like. You woke up around noon—standard for summer—and scrolled through social media until about 3 P.M. Right there, at that moment, you realize that school will start tomorrow and you have bought a total of zero supplies in preparation. Everything’s totally fine though, just a quick trip to Target should suffice. But as you walk through the strangely large school section, a question suddenly hits you. Should I buy notebooks or binders?

In middle school, every student carried a humongous Case-it binder that was genuinely always bursting at its seams. With a locker, backpacks weren’t carried class to class and instead replaced by those giant fabric monsters. However, going into high school, those binders disappeared (fortunately). Now, a battle commences. Are the binders that we know and love more efficient than plain notebooks?

The answer is no. Although it is supposedly easier to organize content per class in binders, notebooks’ overall efficiency in notetaking and lack of bulkiness lead to their superiority over binders.

Everyone can agree that notebooks are infinitely easier to use than binders. Just flip the cover and you can write to your heart’s content. For a binder, you first have to hunt out loose-leaf paper and snap it into the rings before you can even start writing. Even then, almost every sheet of notebook paper will probably tear out no matter how many hole reinforcers you stick on. It’s just not practical. 

Also, what’s up with binders’ weird triangular shape? Even though they can stack semi-nicely on top of each other, they always take up way too much room in your backpack. And throughout the year when they get filled up more and more, they just get larger and larger. It’s just endlessly easier to buy notebooks and folders for each class (or an accordion folder that can store all your loose papers in one place). One subject notebooks are precisely the width of my fingernail.

While people appreciate the small folder-like pockets on the sides of the binder to store loose worksheets, I have numerous negative opinions regarding this feature. The fact that the pockets exist is already saying something. Most teachers will not pass out hole punched papers for binders. That means you either have to hole punch sheets yourself or store them into these “folders”. Both options fail. Firstly, it’s impossible to space out the holes evenly. Self-punched holes end up looking like a mess with staggered papers poking out from every side. Secondly, the pockets hug the sides of the binder so tightly that barely two sheets of paper can fit into them. In conclusion, binders cannot support unholepunched papers in any capacity. 

For your future school shopping endeavors, I hope you keep my statements in mind. Obviously, everything is still up to personal preference but these opinions have been formulated by years of experience from using both binders and notebooks. Now for which notebooks to buy, that’s a whole other story…