Six favourite items of stationery

Apart from my work slaving over materials and on this blog I am a regular online tutor for teacher education courses, inlcuding courses with The Consultants-E, and  a Trinity Diploma course offered by Oxford TEFL. At the beginning of the course we get people to share lists of things (surprise surprise!), a bit like here. Well, this month one teacher started a list that was so popular that I just have to do it here. It seems so perfect for teachers, even though it’s a bit sad in a way…

These are my six favourite items of stationery.

6.Multi-coloured paper clips. Perfect not only for holding things together, but also can be used as counters.

5. Magazine holders. I particularly like the really sturdy card or plastic ones. Seeing my magazines neatly lined up in a bunch of those on a shelf… beautiful!

4. Highlighter pen. Always have one to hand as I am editing or correcting things. I usually stick to standard yellow or pink.

3. Leather moleskin notepad. I used to carry one around with me all the time and jot down ideas. I’m beginning to do this more on my ipod touch now, but I still have the notepad. Gorgeous little thing.

2. Leather wastepaper basket. I picked one very similar to this up in a market in Florence, it’s great. Does it count as stationery? I think so!

1. A really good ballpoint pen. I would never buy a Montblanc or anything expensive like that (even if I could afford one, which is far from being the case) but there really is no substitute for a good heavy ballpoint pen.

Many thanks to Paul Walsh, the teacher in question who came up with this idea AND let me use it on my blog.

What kinds of stationery do you like? Am I the only one who likes getting interesting stationery gifts? Do you have an item of stationery that you protect like mad and would never leave just hanging around the teacher’s room? Post a comment.

Published in: on November 13, 2009 at 2:13 pm  Comments (25)  
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  1. I always lose my really good ball point pen – like clockwork. Have em for about a week all proudly and then they just disappear. I have given up! I have recently brought a moleskin notebook though (called journalist’s notebook in the shop) and am finding it dead handy as its small enough to carry around and make notes on all manner of things and look important and organised! I also like small sized different coloured bull dog clips. Oh and OHP pens used for writing on documents being edited but not on OHPs.

  2. Hmmm…

    It’s all on my iPhone: voice recorder, note taker, etc. Can’t hold on to a pen for more than an hour (so no point having a good one). No stationery in the house, to speak of… I’m so… modern, me!

    I do, however, love stationery – just got no real use for it these days. I usually holiday with a Moleskine.


    • Have to admit that my iPod Touch is beginning to edge out the stationery too. But I can’t live without the paperclips…

  3. You are a man after my own heart. These comforts/pleasures are all for both the mind and spirit… Oh the decadence of moleskin…the weight of a nice thick heavy metal pen… so masculine, and the colours… the colours…

  4. You can’t beat the satisfaction of sharpening a pencil into a fine point before you begin your next masterpiece – the crunch of wood against the metal blade, the little scarf of wood shavings, blowing the graphite powder – it’s a very tactile experience. So for me, it has to be a pencil sharpener every time.

  5. Paperclips are undoubtedly great and on the first place in the list! Especially colour ones; I used to have metal clips but they left brown rust traces. Exploiting modern technology facilities I never forget about my indispensable paperclips as I constantly cut some cards which should be categorized and in order.

  6. Thanks for this post! It made me smile so 🙂

    I too share your love of stationary. For me a walking round a Paperchase gives me a special warm feeling inside. I’ve often thought about whether I need to get out more, but your post has justified my geeky obsession.

    I always carry a little Moleskin around just as you mention and have entire lesson plans in there that I’ve written on the train.

    I would add to your list if it were mine…POST IT NOTES – in every colour and shape (squares, flowers, arrows, large, small – pastel, neon) – you name it!

    Great post 🙂

    Emma Herrod

  7. I’d say 3- or 4-color pens are my most favorite items. I usually use the 4-color pens (red, green, blue, and black.) Great for braintstorming ideas as well as marking homework,

  8. Oh, I love stationery!!

    I find it really calming that I’m not the only one ;)) My favourites are:

    1. coloured papers of any size for any purpose – I write random notes for students on them or my shopping lists… They are fun and bright!

    2. notebooks. I don’t need them this much these days, though (( As Gavin says, it’s all on my phone, computer or on-line. But I keep buying notebooks – right now I have 3 just sitting there. But they are so pretty!!! Not going to give them to anyone )))

    3. CD pens. I love my handwriting when I write with those…

    Thanks for the blog!

  9. I love the moleskines. I have a stack of old ones, and I always have one in my bag. I’m a compulsive list maker and I also use them for sticking clippings and photos etc. They are a bit expensive, but they’re tough…and by the time one gets finished it is bulging at the elastic band and battered at the corners, but still holding together.

    Here’s the sad bit. I bought three – one for each of the questions in the DELTA exam (as it was then) and stuck in all my answers for practice tests with examiners reports notes. Passed though, so I guess it’s not that sad.

  10. Oooh, the Moleskines! I pinks ones, slim ones, long thin ones, fat ones…. I use both my BlackBerry and my 18-month Moleskin diary to keep my notes in.

    And I can’t walk past a Faber-Castell display without picking up something to buy… Their pencils are the BEST!!! I like the 3-sided shafts with animal designs, like tiger stripes…

    My daughter (aged 6) has inherited her mum’s love of stationery too and now has boxes and boxes of felt-tip pens and piles of notebooks waiting to be used. If I lose a pencil, a pen, a stick of glue, a rubber, I know she’s pinched it and all I have to do is rummage through her stuff! 🙂 I like sharing, but she doesn’t!!!

    I lose pens and pencils like the washing machine loses sock! Into that mysterious black hole. I don’t mind though, as it’s a great excuse to buy more of my favourites! 🙂

  11. Thanks everyone for the comments so far. Two things strike me as I read these: 1) I am not alone in getting a little thrill from stationery 2) I should stop writing English materials and open a Moleskin book shop!

  12. Interesting to see so many Moleskin lovers – I used to be a great fan, until I discovered Paper blanks, which have got to be the ultimate object of desire for any notebook lover ( – Despite my love of technology, I never go anywhere without one of these precious items

  13. Hi Lindsay! I belong to the Moleskine club as well! Every year I say I’ll buy a different notebook but it is always a Moleskine. The colored paper clips were great to see and so were the highlighters!!! Since you have lived in Canada you must have spent endless hours, like me, at Grand and Toy (fantastic school stuff there)!

    • Yes, Grand and Toy is still a MUST visit every time I go back to Canada. Great place!

  14. Coloured paperclips are very useful for regrouping learners in jigsaw tasks too.

    Bulldog clips are something I never have enough of.

  15. Hi
    My top tip for stationary-lovers based in Spain: Moleskine’s (with and ‘e’, no idea how it’s supposed to be pronounced)are great but too expensive for me – I get through one a month. So I’ve started buying Barcelona-based Miquel Rius “Flexible” notebooks, which are similar but far better value-for-money. Maybe they’re also available elsewhere (in Spain, try El Corte Ingles).
    The pen has to be a Pilot, and at the moment I’m really into my 0.5 “V-ball”. The only drawback is that they seem to be highly attractive to stationary “magpies”.
    I’ve seen no mention so far of scissors. Personally, I couldn’t get through a working day without my deadly-looking hairdresser’s scissors: Jigsaw readings in two snips.

  16. What a great post! I think I’m a stationary addict 😉 The more technology we use, the more we appreciate our special notebooks or paperclips as you say.
    I’d add post-its as they are colourful and can be placed all around the house, classroom or wherever -moved about and are fun for reminders or messages of any kind. My daughter and I are fans of the creatively shaped ones -bubbles, arrows, flowers, hearts you name it! Yes, we use the digital type too but the smell (e.g felt-tip pens) and feel (e.g scissors) of stationary still add sensational moments to our everday life.

  17. No better place to be a stationery lover than Japan. The hallowed aisles of Tokyu Hands! The depth, range and beauty of their stationery department, beyond compare. I spent many a happy hour browsing contentedly, left there by a family who just didn’t understand how much I hated lesser forms of shopping. That’s when I started on a road that was to bring me to the brink of ruin.

    Like many of you, I have been obsessed with the feel of a fine notebook. I have toyed with the idea of a Florentine wastepaper-basket but shied away purely through lack of self-belief. I have been intoxicated by marker pens. I have stroked good paper. I have taken a nibble of a strawberry-flavoured eraser. and like many of you, I have a secret collection of writing paper rifled from various hotels. Which of us hasn’t heard the voices of the ancients in the jingle of paper clips? Who doesn’t know the ghastly hollow worry of “Will my stash of Blu-tack last the weekend?” Who can honestly claim not to have thrilled at the prick of a staple? Is there a single man or woman amongst us who hasn’t shed a bitter tear over the nub of a favourite glue stick?

    The truth is however that stationery steals lives. Psychologists believe it can even do as much damage as Twitter and is twice as harmful as crack cocaine.
    Since leaving Japan and returning to a land where a stationery department means a couple of rubbers in a jar by the till, I have come to understand the folly of my old ways. The arrogance! The pomposity! The delusion that better notebooks make better writers. The false belief that seeking out the company of others who shared my fetish somehow made it all acceptable.

    It’s been a long hard road back to mental health but I now find a deeper, more real pleasure in reusing the back of an old worksheet or a rehabilitated stump of Doraemon pencil than in all the shallow excitement of those bad old days. The best weapon in my arsenal has been a ‘found’ eraser with the name ‘Yamada’ still faintly visible. And of course, Pritt. Oh God, yes. There will always be Pritt…

  18. For those poor souls who have never witnessed ‘Tokyu Hands’….I am so sorry, I am an addict. My husband is worse, he has gold nibs. As for my ipod touch – it is full of music and does not appeal to my stationary fetish. I prowl round the stores with my eagle eye!! A pen is a pen but no I am looking for so much more. Thank you Patrick (had cubed tatties in my soup tonight) to meet a fellow pen addict is good.

    • Stop! I am cured. Those days are behind me.

  19. I’m a big fan of blutack and would find it hard to live without it. I’m also a bit of a blutack snob and won’t accept any poor imitations. I’ve even had it posted to me a couple of times from England because the local alternatives in Poland just aren’t sticky enough for me.

    I also like those special tipp-ex mouses, they’re very handy for blanking out large chunks of text. Also, unlike normal tipp-ex, you don’t have to wait ages for it to dry.

  20. LOVE stationery!

    I’m not a simple leather notebook person myself as my eyes are always drawn to the Japanese-style multi-coloured, multi-patterned covers. I have to say that I have a weak spot for any stationery tool that resembles an animal as well.

    If you’re in Toronto sometime, I recommend taking a gander at what’s offered at The Paper Place ( A cozy spot, it has every kind of print you could imagine on paper and some definitely unique pens, erasers and notebooks (like the animal-shaped ones I mentioned above).

  21. I’d been working for 5 years in a remote area of Peru with no resources and a few months ago I got to go back to the UK. The first thing I bought was a laminator and several thousand pouches. You can’t imagine the joy of not having to print and cut up thousands of bits of paper every time a new course starts.

    However, I could wax lyrical of a particular thick pastel lilac fountain pen that I was given when I was about 12. Whenever I feel the need to write something elegant I get it out. I brought a lot of cartridges with me too as they are inexplicaby unavailable in the Andes.

  22. […] A new moleskin notebook. On my six favourite items of stationery this ranked as a big fav. Cheap, small, perfect for the […]

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