Back to School for Adults: Fun Office Supplies

Aug 9, 2022

This week, a friend and I were talking about one of the lost joys of childhood: shopping for back to school.  Going to the drugstore with your list to pick out the freshest notebooks, pens, Lisa Frank folders (#lisa4life), and scented erasers.  Then, taking a trip to the nearest big mall to pick out new flare leg jeans, Dr. Marten’s, and the perfect fall coat.

But then I thought, why can’t we shop for back to school as adults?  And let’s start with some fun office supplies.

Deep breath. This is 2023 planner.  I know, I know.  We still have four months before the end-of-the-year, but this planner starts in August 2022 so you can get ready for next year in style.  Anthro also has 16 other planners that run the gamut between pretty floral themes and minimalist simplicity.  I think this mini-planner is my favorite.

I use a lot of index tabs, and until last week, I only had five colors.  Now, I have these tabs from Amazon, which have provided me with dozens.  So get 1200 colorful tabs to bring a little color into your life.

This Aubrey Desk Organizer from Pottery Barn is a great way to organize a small space.  Corral all of your desk items in this simple organizer that coordinates with any decor.  Looking for a less expensive option?  Try this gold metal mesh option or this bamboo option.  Or if you really want to blow the doors off, try this leather desk set.

These U-Line Felt Tip Pens are so fantastic.  The material they’re made with is velvety soft and easy to grip.  The writing is smooth, and I love them so much that I’m willing to tolerate writing in black ink (something I have never done in my life).

When I asked my husband if he had any office supply recommendations, he offered up this Microsoft Surface Arc Mouse.  It comes in eight colors, works with Mac or Windows machines.  Its sleek design is curved when it is turned on, and flattened when turned off.  It’s easy to transport and easy to use.

I wrote about cord organization a few weeks ago and some great gadgets to help you organize cords.  I had not seen these beauties (which are now my favorite thing I’ve bought this summer).  They’re small, unobtrusive and effective.  You can use screws to secure them to a desk (or nightstand) or you can use adhesive.  Either way, they make sure your cables are available without taking up too much space.

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  1. Kim says:

    I feel like you have missed the pure joy and luxury of also hitting the craft store or specialty stationary store to attach the pen displays where you can sample and select the exact tip style and color of pen you need. I always wanted to bask in the unlimited options for shades of blue, teal and purple ink. Just me??

  2. Em says:

    Inquiring minds would love to know how these pens compare to the stand-by of so many (and I think Abra!), the PaperMate Flair M..?

    • Belle says:

      I still love my Flairs, but I can’t sign legal documents in purple ink (unfortunately). But they are pretty fab.

  3. Orla says:

    Love this post, I have tried to keep up this tradition most years. Some of my personal favourites: Muji 0.5 retractable black ink pens (a wander around a Muji store is my equivalent of a spa day!), Sharpie S-Gel pens have a great flow and the ink really jumps off the page – highly recommend for signatures and/or addressing envelopes, also love Staedtler 430m ballpoint pens in blue (distinctive blue ink but the pen really flows with your hand). I usually gift my friends and family Eccolo diaries from TJ Maxx/Marshalls as they are affordable, have great designs, the pages are smooth and they usually come with ribbon page markers/bookmarks.
    A recent find has been large, lined Post-Its which are great for to-do lists and look a little more streamlined on your desk for anyone who finds Post-Its a little chaotic!

  4. Liz says:

    Thank you so much for this post! It brought me so much simple joy and some great home office inspiration!

  5. Libbi V. says:

    I was just having this conversation with a friend the other day – I love back to school shopping and miss it! I have so many pens already, but might have to try a few out. Love the tabs, too.

  6. Caitlin f says:

    I have never been a paper planner person, even in school before cell phone calendars were a thing, but every year I see beautiful planners like that and feel a deep, primal need…

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