We stole this from our sister company Naked Binder, but it seems like it is something people need to know, so thanks Naked Binder!
The first thing most people do is grab the center ring and yank the rings open. This certainly works and in some cases is the only way.
At issue here are the forces acting on one ring of the mechanism. That ring that you are forcing apart is a piece of not super strong metal especially in your average vinyl binder.
Eventually, the rings bend a bit so they don’t connect anymore. This causes paper to slip out or tear and you to tear your hair out and the binder to be tossed.
Many if not most binder rings have what are called boosters – those tabs at the top and bottom of the binder ring mechanism. These are put there to solve this exact problem. If your open your binder with the boosters, no rings bend and that binder will last you a lot longer (well if you are using a vinyl binder not much longer unless you have duct tape to hold the cover on…)
The boosters are the small tabs you can see here right at the end of the binder.
On some binders there is a simple booster, but most still have two.
Simply push the two tabs out and down and there will be no ring bending. All your problems are solved, your worries are over and the world is suddenly a better place.