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Fuzzable’s Guide to Stationery Shopping

It is the most wonderful time of the year: back to school! The return to class may look different this year, but that does not mean the back to school shopping experience needs to be compromised. Whether you are going back to in-person classes or spending your semester online, or perhaps you are even taking the year off, there is no doubt that a brand new set of stationery can make a person feel refreshed and productive.

The stationery shopping process can be fun, but it also has the potential to get overwhelming (and expensive) without the right preparation. Keep reading to discover Fuzzable’s best tips for successful stationery shopping.

Know what you need

Desk filled with books and papers.
Photo by Ella Jardim on Unsplash

Picture this: you go out stationery shopping and buy everything you think you need. You grab a pack of pencils, pens in every colour of the rainbow, and one notebook per class. You get home and place everything on your desk, only to realize that you already have a jar of spare pencils that have accumulated over the past three years. Next to this is an equally-large jar of free pens that you received during your school’s orientation week. In the corner of your desk is a stack of notebooks that you received for your birthday. Nowhere in sight is a single ruler, stapler, or eraser.

Avoid this situation by planning ahead, noting the items that you already have and what you still need. Before going shopping, make a list of the items you plan to purchase and stick to it. This will ensure that you remember to buy the most important pieces of stationery and will prevent you from getting distracted by the endless abyss of gel pens.

Pick a theme

Brown and black paper stationery lies on a table.
Photo by Vitor Santos on Unsplash

Just as you would theme room decor and an outfit, theming your stationery is an important step in helping your collection feel elevated and organized. Pick a stationery theme prior to shopping. Some examples of themes include colour schemes, specific patterns, or a favourite popular culture character. Remember to look at the stationery items you already own and create a theme that is appropriate. Do not get discouraged if not everything fits into your theme exactly as planned — standout accent pieces can add character. Not only do themes create unity among your stationery, but they help to guide your shopping experience and keep you on track.

Search outside the box

Pens organized by colour at a store.
Photo by Camille San Vicente on Unsplash

Growing up, many of us likely had back to school shopping experiences that consisted of trips to stores like Walmart, Target, and Staples. While these big mainstream stores certainly carry a plethora of stationery items, there are many other options that are worthy of exploration.

Visit specialty stationery shops in order to find high-quality and one-of-a-kind school supplies and accessories. Many cities have their own secret gems that sell stationery by local brands with designs by local artists. Japanese stationery stores are another great choice for items that cannot be found anywhere else. From the classic food erasers to the increasingly popular lettering pens, to “how could I live without this” items like folding rulers, Japanese stores like Oomomo and Muji truly have it all. Online stores and thrift shops are great cost-effective options that also lead to unique pieces of stationery.

Get crafty

Close up of a handmade calendar in a journal
Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Unable to find a piece of stationery that truly speaks to you? Use the last few weeks of summer to get creative and do it yourself. Did you pick up sewing during quarantine? Make your own pencil case with some spare fabric from a past project. Are you a big movie fanatic? Customize your pencils by adding your favourite movie quotes along the edge. Do you need a planner to stay organized? Stop buying generic planners and make your own with bullet journaling techniques instead. If crafting is not for you, something as simple as stickers on your binder can make your stationery feel all the more personal.

Use what you love

Paper hearts next to two pencils and a blank sheet of paper.
Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

The most important thing to remember when stationery shopping is that you are buying the items for yourself. You will spend hours hovered over your notebook, pen in one hand and highlighter in the other. Make sure you are purchasing supplies that are practical to use, lead to productivity, and make you happy. Good stationery, despite its small size, can lead to all the difference in the school year.

Have you completed your stationery shopping this year? Tweet us a photo of your stationery haul @Fuzzable.

Written by Kendra Seguin

Aspiring journalist and Price is Right contestant.

Instagram: @kendraseguin
Nail Art Instagram: @kendranailingit

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