I have been continuing my research (sounds like a 'white coat' science project) in to using a personal size Filofax organiser as a wallet and as an organiser. Could I even take this big leap, well may be.
This 'research' has been a pet topic of mine that I've been playing around with now for a couple of weeks. It hasn't cost anything apart from time. I have been playing around with all the ones I have already. Thinking it would have to have big rings, ten zillion card slots to satisfy everyones needs.
I love it though when the solution or one I that I liked the best had been staring me in the face all along... it will I hope make you smile when you see what I'm talking about. But let's not spoil a good story shall we.
I want to take you on the same journey I've been on this last couple of weeks. So put on your lab coat and step this way.....
So in true lab experiment let us outline the problem we are looking to 'solve'
We want a Filofax that can hold a typical number of pages with our diary and all the usual pages in it. My own 'personal fill' including the various dividers and A-Z tabs measures about 21 mm in thickness. We also require the Filofax to carry a typical number of credit cards (how many? see later), coins, paper money, id documents, drivers licence, health documents, passport, a pen. I know some of you might have additional things, but that is bound to be the case.
So at first I thought the obvious answer to carrying coins was to use my Filofax change holder, it has two zip pockets and fits on to the rings. The main pocket is gusseted so you can fit a reasonable number of coins in it.
I found almost by accident that it's best to put this at the front of the organiser, with the zip side facing the inside front cover. This then leaves you a nice flat writing surface on the reverse side of the change holder to use instead of the lumps and bumps of the cards etc.
The leather on this is also quite stiff so I found it didn't really work on smaller 23 mm rings at all.
So then I tried it in a couple of 30 mm ring organisers, first my Cuban zip.
So plenty of capacity, secure in the sense of it has an all around zip, two pen loops, 7 card slots. The downside of using this particular model though is it is quite stiff and bulky too! But as long as I was never thinking of putting it in my pocket I would be ok. Well I do carry most things in a shoulder bag so that wouldn't always be too much of an issue for me. But I didn't stop there.
Next I tried for full contents in the Cavendish, again 30 mm rings and a great internal layout.
This felt more manageable and everything slots in ok. I was able to find pockets to keep everything and feel that is was secure and wouldn't fall out if I happened to turn the organiser over or mistakenly pick it up upside down. The paper money is nice and secure in the smaller of the two back cover pockets. The coins are accessible in the shallow outside pocket too.
So I thought that's improvement for sure on the Cuban, it also lays flat too.
However, one of the flaws of this solution and the Cuban to a lesser extent is that neither the Cuban Zip or the Cavendish are made any more, nor is the change holder, they stopped making those in the 1980's. It would be better if we could get this to work with a more recent model.
When I was looking at the change holder in detail, I realised there might be a bit of a flaw in the design of it. The overall width is about 106 mm, of course a personal page is only 95mm in width, so the change holder is about the width of a tabbed divider. This isn't too much of an issue with a typical personal size Filofax, but the modern day compacts and slimlines are slightly skinny on width, especially the compacts, try to put a pen in the pen loop and you find there can be conflicts with your tabs, unless the pen is quite thin. The change holder though doesn't bend out of the way like a thin tab.
So if I was redesigning the change holder I would make it out of slightly thinner leather, and make the overall size slimmer too. say 93-94 mm that way is should stay clear of the pen in a compact.
So at this point I reverted things in my set up back as they were, my wallet being my M2 and my organiser as my Gillio Amica.
I wondered could I do away with the change holder all together. So I started looking at how many coins do you really need to carry. The variety and the numbers of each coin to make up different amounts. Now this will vary of course from currency to currency, country to country etc. But it is possible to reduce the number of coins to a minimum. Then if you can get these coins to lay as flat as possible, they take up less space. Reducing the number of coins also reduces the weight of course.
I settled on about 8 or 9 coins being the number I would need and started to play around with a few ideas to hold them in place. One idea I found was to take a piece of card and cut round holes in it to hold the coins in place. It sort of works, but I would need to improve on the card and cutting a bit to get it to work well.
A week went by and I was still pondering on a few issues before I came to any conclusion.
Then late one evening, it suddenly dawned on me as I was looking for something else looking through my 'collection' in the cupboard. I had pulled out a personal Malden.
The Malden of course as a thin full height zip pocket, I've never really used it much in the past. But when I tried it with my selection of coins it is a perfect size for coins. The notepad pocket in the back cover will take a passport ok and other larger paper documents.
The card slots take most of what I need on a daily basis.
The bank notes might be better in a zipped envelope but I will see how they fair.
Overall with everything in it, it's quite compact and whilst it is heavier than normal, if you discount the additional weight of the M2 that I was carrying, then it works even better and there's now additional space in my bag again!
Now I know a few of you already Maldens and other similar personals as wallets, but have you come up with any better solutions for a combined wallet/organiser?