What do we mean when we say ‘back to basics’ – what are the basics? the basics of life? Keeping it simple; taking pleasure in the uncomplicated; the natural; the instinctive – the basics.

According to the term means either a ‘return to previously held values of decency’ or ‘that people have become too concerned with complicated details or new theories, and that they should concentrate on simple, important ideas or activities’.

So what are the stationery basics?  Paper, pens, pencils…?

What about the essentials? The stationery items that your business simply cannot run without, and what of our own stationery essentials? The go-to highlighter, the trusty pen we always use, the items that make up our desk and defines it from anyone else’s. What makes it unique and makes it ours?

Stationery never ceases to surprise me and the emotional response that it evokes in people. Forget about the essentials and the basics for a minute, the stationery purchase regardless of the necessity is an emotive one.

What attracts? What appeals? What is going to brighten our day at the office and our desks when we sit at them. Why do we love stationery?

Wherever I have worked there has always been one place that has drawn everyone – like bees to the honey – the stationery cupboard. The Pandora’s box of the office. Colleagues clamouring round preceding the perhaps yearly clear out or as soon as the latest delivery has been made, to discern – what’s to be had? What can be snapped up? Neon Post-it’s, a full pack of highlighters, looking shiny and new. Do we even use all of this stationery that we hoard? It truly is the office candy that we all crave.

According to Cathy Bussey “grown women really fetishise stunning stationery”. I don’t want to go as far as to say stationery changes lives, but certainly for us women, it unleashes some really powerful emotions.

In Martin Weedall’s VOWtoguide ‘The forever appeal of stationery’ three reasons are given for explaining the constant appeal of stationery. The first reason is that it gives us independence…according to psychologist Emma Kenny “as children we have few options for controlling our environment or expressing our individuality. Stationery is a way of doing this”.

The second reason is personalisation, “every time we choose a new notebook, thank you card, letter or envelope, we’re telling the world a little about ourselves”.

Thirdly and finally, is the permanence of stationery; there is an “absolute feel about a reply or invitation that drops onto the doormat compared to the more temporary, all-too-easy nature of a Facebook message or text message”.

So whether you “fetishise” your stationery or not, isn’t it time to go back to basics in your office? Enjoy the tactile pleasure of writing a note rather than an email, make your desk a statement and unleash your individuality…indulge yourself in a little office candy.


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