When I first got into stationery, I felt like a kid in a candy shop. Stickers? Need. All. Of. Them. Washi tape? The more patterns the better. Pens? They were accumulating faster than I could use them! So today, I decided to share a few tips I wish someone had told me before I bought up the whole of Paperchase.
There are so many different types of pens: fountain, gel, rollerball, biro, brush, etc. Choose one to try from each category if you're that curious and then go from there. This way, you'll know if that type of pen is one you get along with. With time, I've realised that rollerballs and my handwriting just don't work; gel pens are great for when I have a bit more time to take notes and fountain pens are my go-to pens for rapid fire scribbling.
- Start cheap: pens can get expensive! Especially if you're buying ones without the option of refills.
- Some cheap 'starter' pens include Muji gel pens, Pilot Juice gel pens, Pilot Kakuno fountain pen, Lamy Safari fountain pen, Bic biros and Banner biros (surprisingly good!).
Notebooks: Leuchtturm 1917, Pantone, Moleskine, Clairefontaine, Rhodia... There are so many brands of notebooks out there and the choice doesn't stop there. A4? B5? A5? A6? Ruled? Plain? Grid? Spiral or bound? There are way too many options! I guess it all depends on what you want to use them for. If you're thinking of journaling, A5 plain paper might be better for you as it is less restrictive; for note-taking, ruled or grid would be much better at keeping things neat and you might want to also think about A4 rather than A5 here.
For paper, I always recommend trying to see it in person before buying. Some paper is more fountain pen friendly than others (Leuchtturm 1917 is always a good choice here, as are Rhodia and Clairefontaine).
In terms of loose-leaf refill pads, the brand I always recommend is Oxford paper. I've been buying their refill pads since I was 17 and I don't see this changing much in the future (unless they decide to deviate form their 90gsm paper!).
When I first got into stickers, I was young and naive and bought quite a bunch of cute, Asian-inspired stickers but what has resulted is that I now have a bunch of stickers in my stash which barely get used.
There are different types of stickers out there: functional ones, that is those that have 'appointment' or 'birthday' on them so you can use them without fear of others judging your planner; diary stickers which are quite common in Asia - normally reserved for journaling sessions and the bog-standard cute animal ones.
Firstly, work out why you want the stickers. Are they to decorate your planner or will they be used to add function? Will they be mainly in your planner or in your journal? If in your journal, you might be able to get away with more of the cute ones :) I wish I'd thought about this before as I now know that I tend to use functional ones, if any! Also consider how long it'll take you to use them up! It can be slow progress if you're a one-sticker-a-week type of person.
Patterned or plain? Thin or thick? These are the two main questions regarding this tape. I like to use washi tape to highlight things in my planner or as a purely decorative thing in my journal. However, there are so many options out there, it can be hard to choose if you've never used it before. Masking Tape (MT) is a solid brand to go for if you're after a roll or two to try. Yes, it is pricier than other brands but the quality is unrivalled and if you want to write on it, the ink won't bleed (something I have experienced with other cheaper brands).
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Ultimately, my regrets are buying too much in one go when everything was still new to me. What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your stationery obsession? :)