As the days left in this term dwindle, exams and deadlines have started to permeate our lives like permanent marker on poor quality paper.

But when I am struggling to make my nose connect with grindstone, there’s one thing I can trust to shift my poor palpitating heart from terror to excitement. Stationery.

The sweet cellophane smell of new post-its, the springy resistance of a new biro on a new pad, the creak and snap of an empty ring binder waiting to be filled. These aren’t just the romanticised phantasms of my coursework-addled brain, these are profound life-affirming moments, the fluorescent yellow highlight of my revision day.

Practically speaking of course, stationary can help make sense out of the chaos of information we absorb day to day. You don’t have to be the kind of person who alphabetises their fridge to know the triumphant clarity of fully filed lecture notes, but if that’s a bit advanced, even proponents of the floor filing cabinet have something to be gained from the humble card document wallet. The critical point is that stationary allows you to feel organised when you’re not, and even the superficial gestures can affect productivity.

How much less intimidating is a long forgotten lecture handout when transcribed onto an index card that you can hold in your hand! And how much more manageable is this (soon to be ignored) revision timetable when it’s colour coded by subject?

And for the truly Type A personality, developments in stationary present opportunities to organise where there wasn’t any before. Paperchase now sell a selection of journals for everyday tasks such as ordering takeaways. This genuinely excites me; think of the fraught minutes of deliberation to be avoided: was UK Pizza Delivery better than Lickin’ Chickin’, and which was the one with the questionable pepperoni? “Consult the journal!”, I’ll cry, and be heralded the hungry man’s hero.

If somewhere in the electronic ether there’s a white blank page with your name on it, and the ticking, taunting, terrifying flash of the cursor just won’t move, turn to stationary to break the cycle. Put pen to paper. Or buy new paper. There might be a recession on, but even the smallest semblance of control can make all the difference; what’s a few pounds for some serious spiral-bound self-actualisation?

Victoria Urquhart 

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