Did you know these little rectangles of paper we use as flash cards, recipe cards and more were invented more than 200 years ago by one of the greatest minds in history? Neither did we, until now. What we have always known is that the humble 3×5 card is an ingenius tool for getting organized — so it tracks that an actual genius created them.
Way back in 1767, Swedish botanist, zoologist and physician Carl Linneaus (you might know him as the guy who started the system of binomial nomenclature, like calling us Homo sapiens) was overloaded with the information he was recording on plants and animals. So he started writing everything down on “little paper slips of standard size” to get organized. He cut them by hand to about three inches by five inches, and thus, our modern index cards were born. (Additional fun fact: More than a thousand of Carl’s cards are still at the Linnean Society in London.)
So, whether you’re helping your child study for a test, prepping for your own work presentation, writing down a favorite recipe, making to-do lists, or just organizing your thoughts, using 3×5 cards is quite literally the genius way to do it. We’ve rounded up the best index card options, from bright or pastel colors to lined or blank sides to perforated books or durable card stock. Check out the choices below to find the perfect way to get your life organized, 3×5 inches at a time.
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1. Oxford Ruled Index Cards
When you think of index cards, you probably think of something like these Oxford Ruled Index Cards. They have classic blue lines on one side for easy note taking, and they’re constructed of a durable premium-weight paper stock, so they’ll stand up to frequent shuffling if you’re quizzing your kiddo on multiplication facts or releasing a speech! Bonus: They’re proudly made in the U.S.A. They come 100 cards to a pack — stock up on a 10-pack and you’ll be set for any assignment!
2. Spiral Bound Colored Index Card Books
With bright colors (canary yellow! Ocean blue!), ruled fronts and plain backs, Spiral Index Card Books are a great addition to cars, purses and nightstands. You’ll always have something on hand to write on when you need it, and the perforated cards tear out easily with no mess. Each spiral-bound pack contains 50 cards.
3. AmazonBasics Heavy Weight Ruled Lined Index Cards
You can’t go wrong with the basics! This 100-count pack of white heavy-weight index cards from AmazonBasics is ruled on one side for easy note taking. Made from top-quality heavy commercial stock (114-pound paper) for added strength, the cards have precision-cut edges for uniform size.
4. 1InTheOffice Ruled Pastel Index Cards
These 1InTheOffice index cards come in a standard 3×5 inch size and feature pretty pastel shades (blue, salmon, green, cherry, canary) for easy and fun color coding. They’re line-ruled, and have smooth edges, and come in a jumbo pack of 300 cards. Plus, the paper is made from 10% post-consumer recycled content.
5. Home Advantage Set of 50 3×5 Index Cards
These 3×5 white unruled index cards are made with heavy weight 14PT un-coated paper, which makes writing or drawing on them with pens, markers and pencils easy. While the lack of lines may make them less-than-ideal for kids’ note-taking, they are great to stash in your purse or bag to have on hand for doodling when those inevitable long waits and “I’m bored!” moments crop up.