My Back To School Essentials

One of my favourite parts of starting a new academic year at any level, was preparing all the stationary. To be honest, I miss it. I also found that as I got older, I would be able to refine what stationary I actually needed, and how I would use it during the academic year. Now obviously there will be differences between what you might need at each different level (for example, in secondary school you would write in the provided books but at sixth-form college, I needed my own notepad), and also for what course/s you are taking and in some cases, which country you are in.

In today’s post, I am going to be talking about what my must-have stationary was for back to school that helped to keep me organised. Also, even if you are no longer in education, some of this might be useful for your own personal organisation.

A Notepad:
For me personally, I always found that a ring-bound notepad worked best for me. From sixth-form to university, my go-to was Pukka Pads. I used the A4 Jotta Wide Ruled notepads. I have used other notepads, but I just always end up going back to Pukka. Even today, I use an A5 notepad to write down any important tasks or notes at work!

If you want something a little more fancy, there are so many aesthetic designs for notepads out there. I have two from ASOS which I use in blog photos (but to be honest, I just don’t want to use them because they are so neat and perfect!), and there are so many out there. I would recommend checking out ASOS, Ohh Deer and Urban Outfitters! These brands have also done collaborations with each other!

A Diary
It is the best way to keep yourself on top of everything. University was the first time where I was not given a diary, but I knew I had to have one to keep on track of everything. From putting in a timetable, essay deadlines and events, I knew where I needed to be and what needed to be done.

Even now I use my bullet journal to keep track of my life. Although it is considerably less busy as I don’t have any classes or subjects to keep track of, it makes me feel more organised - and that is saying a lot as I am not organised with many other things, particularly tidying!

A Good Pen!
I went through almost every type of pen out there but there was one kind that I would always end up using again - a biro. Whilst not being the most sophisticated pen out there, I would be able to get so much written. It was extremely helpful when doing research for essays or making sure that I do not miss anything during a university lecture, or even to write down a quick note.

Whether you use a biro, fountain pen or a fineliner, a good pen can really make a difference. From improving your handwriting, to writing quicker, the right pen will be a lifesaver! Also, bare in the mind the different shape of pens, I hold my pen quite tightly so I don’t want a pen that’s going to dig into my hand.

Coloured pens!
As well as a good basic pens, I found coloured pens helped even more with being organised. Now I was not using these in colour in, but at the start of every academic year, I would allocate a colour to each subject/class I was taking. I would then use that colour pen to write in my diary for any important notes for that class. It helped me visualise my working week a lot better, and also made my diary look a lot more colourful!

I really liked the Staedtler Triplus Fineliners. They are available in a variety of colours, but I would recommend getting either the 10 or 20 pack set. There is every colour in the rainbow and if you get the larger pack, there will be a colour that you can use for every subject - but if there isn’t, that is impressive and I’d be interested in finding out what you study haha!

Back in sixth form, I only used notepads. No folders to keep them in. Then one day, I stupidly threw away one of these notepads and lost some notes. That wasn’t clever, but don’t worry I passed at the end of the year so it was not the end of the world. From then on, I always made sure to put my notes in a folder.

As I did with pens, I made sure the folder was the same colour and it was just a further step to keeping organised. I did not have to spend time finding folders by opening them up, I could just look for the colour and go. I used both standard A4 folders, but they can get quite full during your first term, so I moved on to the A4 Lever Arch files (I would get all my folders from WHSmith) and there was just so much more room! I would be able to keep everything, from the subject programme, all my notes and any other documents.

Whilst I hope that some of my must-haves might prove useful, it is important to remember that what is essential to one person, might not be essential to you. I don’t think I’ve watched or read a single ‘Back To School’ organisation video or blog, and felt like I needed every single thing. We all take different subjects and take note of different things. We don’t all need the same as others so don’t feel pressured to have everything single stationary item under the sun!

Writing this post has awakened the stationary lover within me, I must restrain myself from buying all this - thankfully I still use some of this stuff today!

What are your stationary must-haves to keep you organised during the academic year/year in general?

Ellyn xx

Check out my last post here


  1. I used to love getting my back to school/university stationery! I always used to head to WH Smiths and pick out my note pad and coloured pens :)

    Emma -

  2. I'm definitely a notebook collector. There are so many great ones out there now!
    I do love stationery.

    Louisa |


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