These Are a Few of My Favourite Things

Some of my favourite things

Some of my favourite things

I bet I’m not alone in being a blogger who loves office supplies. I can hardly imagine life without file folders, paper clips and Post-It notes. I like office accessories far more than I like fashion accessories!

Despite keeping most of my records electronically, my home office is fully outfitted with calculator, a stapler, a mini-stapler, a hole punch, a paper cutter, scissors, rulers, tape, and a math set with a compass and protractor, just in case! I have pens, fountain pens, pencils and erasers, colour pencils, gel pens and brush markers. I have clips, brads and push pins. I have binders and binder tab dividers and report covers and page protectors. Inkjet paper and glossy photo paper and card stock and sketch books. Avery labels and Hello Kitty stickers. Kraft envelopes and Tyvek envelopes and puffy envelopes. Cute packs of greeting cards and little notebooks. And yet I can still joyously browse at Staples, thinking I need more stuff!

Before we had Contacts, we had a Rolodex?

Before we had Contacts, we had a Rolodex!

Where did my love of stationery come from?

  • As a bookish person, my heroes were authors who wrote manuscripts and letters by hand, and I wanted to follow suit.
  • I have a special fondness for “little things” like beads and buttons, but since I am not much of a crafter, colourful Post-Its and thumb tacks fulfil my craving for having dozens of tiny objects. (Oh, and LEGO!)
  • As someone who grew up pre-PC and pre-Internet, I remember people taking pride in their writing instruments, engraved stationery, bond paper, letter openers, paper weights, and typewriters. I would have felt cheated if I didn’t get to own those things too. Never mind that I also have a laptop, a tablet, and an all-in-one printer/copier/scanner!
  • When I got my own office, I felt successful when my cabinets and shelves had every conceivable supply I might need.
  • How can you not like Filofaxes, DayTimers, Rolodexes and my all-time favourite, the paper-impaling desk spike!
Your co-workers used to leave you messages and notes on the spike on your desk!

Your co-workers used to leave you messages and notes on the spike on your desk!

Now I have to be honest – some of my favourite desktop items have big drawbacks. Any archivist knows to never use paper clips or staples on documents because they crimp the paper, rust, and otherwise cause damage. And producing adorable plastic-coated paper clips must be terrible for the environment. Likewise, using an adhesive-backed Post-It for every note to myself must be worse for the planet than using recycled paper or listing my tasks in an app. On the other hand, refilling a fountain pen is better than buying and discarding ballpoint pens.

So it’s time to say goodbye to some of my stationery items, or to enjoy them while they last, and not replace them. It feels like the end of an era.

It's February and my day book is still free of coffee spills...

It’s February and my day book is still free of coffee spills…

But my paper-hogging day planner? That’s staying!

See also:

My Life in Print: An Ode to Type and Fonts

You Need Art! Historic Design Edition


  1. mmmmm pens.
    One of the great gifts I got as a kid was a set of pink and green sealing wax and a stamp. I think I may still have it as a matter of fact. Back in the ‘good ol days’ I guess people didn’t worry about kids wielding a burning flame over paper!!!

  2. I too love stationery…but I’ve reduced what I use drastically, both to have more space and to reduce waste/harm to the environment.

    I love a notebook with a pretty cover, but I never seemed to find something equally amazing to write inside!

  3. Fiona

    I don’t know what it is with stationery but clearly it’s addictive! I go into browse in those big stationery stores, firm in my knowledge that I need nothing…only to come home with a new recipe binder, a “book of lists”, special adhesive file tab dividers, different grades of pencils.

    I love seeing what the kids at school have (many are also addicted to stationery.) Today was a discussion on novelty USBs: the ones disguised as turtles, puppies etc. A great way for the kids to remember their USBs and not leave them randomly in computers around the school!

  4. I always scour those ‘declutter’ & ‘minimalism’, ‘simplicity’ and ‘saving money’ lists, and the one thing that i got me years later was one tip that said ‘don’t buy paper products’. I didn’t like the tip, but it’s true – I have an endless supply of one sided printed paper through work, so i don’t need a pretty notepad or binder now! Like Fiona, I browse the stores, but I’m strong enough to hold off the allure of pretty. Sad, but true. I do keep writing card and papers – but I had some childish ones for a long while, and finally decluttered them on freecycle.

    I have to say, I am lost without a stapler, paperclips and a hole punch, both at work and at home. But I am working hard to minimise what I store at home. I had some oversized binder clips, that I used to clip curtains to existing vertical blinds. Since installing them properly in my own home, I gave my binder clips to work’s general supply! Smaller binder clips still get a strong calling for closing packets in he kitchen.

    • I have a lifetime supply of some things and hope to never buy another pretty notebook, pack of note cards or package of photo paper. But I do receive some as gifts and I am not averse to that! I have also used stuff from home to supply work.

  5. Hands up here too. A stationery addict. Except the message spike. That scares the hell out of me. I have visions of my hand being impaled.

    And why do I keep buying paper diaries when I use my electronic version? Something so nice about those organisation diaries – the ones thst come with different premade lists to fill out. Have a lovely one with goals, entertaining, going away, important details for home, house and family. Love opening a fresh one.

    And who can’t love all the different sized and coloured post-its?

    I could stock a small school with my supplies!

  6. I simply love stationary too! That means I have way too many notebooks, especially those with beautiful covers, I should fill them with my writing way more 😉

  7. Paper diaries beat electronic ones every time! (Unless you lose them,of course.) At my book groups, those of us with paper diaries find our free days straight away and can skim through weeks of appointments while the electronic users are still accessing theirs! And environmentally, what about all that power charging up mobile phones…

  8. Me too! 🙂 When I was little, I would beg my grandmother to take me to Eckerds and I’d spend easily 30 minutes (or as long as she’d let me) in the stationary and office supply aisle. I’ve switched some things over to the electronic version, but I still like paper calendars and journals (although the only one I still keep up is my one line journal).

  9. I love office supplies and stationary too! There is just something so wonderful about colorful and fun office supplies. I recently set up my home office, and I’m having a great time pulling out all of my sparkly pencils and bright post it notes and highlighters.

  10. I LOVE stationary! I am trying to use the iPad a little but more though, to be reduce the amount of pretty notepads I have lying around everywhere!

  11. I too belong to Stationers Anonymous – a complete addict and it all began aged 5 with my post office set. An afternoon in Staples or Paperchase is sheer heaven. I am simplifying my office space at this very moment as part of this months focus but in order to change some of my systems I just have to have some new products, thats my excuse anyway! I do get a lot of my paper from work however, I save it from the shredding bin as often a wasted typed sheet of A4 will often have at least half of it that is still usable if cut down to A5 size and use it in my A5 planner.

  12. Lane

    Ok, I’m in. I have used a Filofax for decades; creating lots of subfiles in there with different colored paper is such fun! I still have a very small Rolodex in which I keep addresses I don’t need in my phone. I remember it was the fashion in fifth grade to have a cartridge fountain pen with peacock blue ink and a collection of a certain kind of colored pencil you could collect by individual color. Those were the days!

    • I remember the cartridge fountain pens and the peacock blue ink 🙂 I’ve never owned a Filofax but some are turned into veritable works of art! (I had a Day Timer instead).

  13. I was just in the bookstore looking at notepads and pens I don’t need. I am a self confessed pen whore. 😉

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