What Are Your Favorite Office Supplies?

favorite office suppliesWe haven’t talked about this in ages, so I thought we’d have a fun little poll today about your favorite office supplies! Which pen do you swear by? What notebook do you buy again and again? What planner are you prepping for 2018? And, on the techy side, what calendar app do you let run your life? What to do list app are you using? Is there any other office “thing” you just can’t do without? Here’s a handy template for your responses…

  • pen –
  • notebook/notepad –
  • planner –
  • calendar app/program –
  • to do list app/program –
  • other office “thing” you can’t do without –

We’ve talked about favorite pens, the best notebooks, and how to find the best planner for you before, but it’s been a while. For my own $.02, here are my answers:

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  • penPilot G2 blue
  • notebook/notepadComposition notebooks (with a leather cover I got ages ago)
  • planner – searching (although I bought The Happy Planner for 2018 because I found one for $10 and it was pretty and blue)
  • calendar app/program – searching
  • to do list app/program – Just bought Things and LOVE IT, particularly for big picture projects, but it’s early days (and I wish I could edit it on PC). I still like RTM for smaller projects. (I’ve also tried Asana, Trello, Todoist… so far really love Things far more than those.)
  • other office “thing” you can’t do without – I have strong opinions on the best eraser, but no strong opinions elsewhere…

Over to you, readers — what are your favorite office supplies (and office-supply-like apps)? What are you stocking your office with for 2018? (Are you getting them as stocking stuffers for anyone you know?)

Picture via Stencil.favorite office supplies - image of pencils

This was a fun open thread with the Corporette readers - we discussed our favorite office supplies like pens, notebooks, favorite planners and more.


  1. Lana Del Raygun :

    Any recommendations for a properly hard-backed notebook? I’d like to be able to write with it on my lap in the bus–I’d prefer spiral binding so I can open it 360 degrees, and preferably about 8″x5″. Or would I be better off getting a hard-backed mini-padfolio type thing?

    • CorporateInCarhartt :

      I love the Tops Royale notebooks. Not super fancy, but professional looking and sturdy. They come in various sizes. I get mine from Amazon.

    • Levenger Circa

      • Staples has a house brand ( “Arc”) that functions a lot like the Levenger Circa but for significantly less cost, in case that makes it feel like less of a commitment to test out that type of setup!

    • Heather N Harrell :

      Try any discbounds. Mine is predominantly office depot’s TUL brand, but I supplement with other brands if they have pieces I like.

    • Black n’Red (my new weird obsession) has hardbound spirals in that size. I haven’t used the hardbound ones, but the poly covers do open 360 degrees.

      • Pen and Pencil :

        Same! I love my Black n’Red notebooks! I just wish they came in colors other than black and red so it would be easier to transition from an old notebook to a new one!

    • This is my fav

  2. Ooh, I like this (also, I have time to kill before an early release at 2…!)
    *pen – Staedtler triplus fineliner, black and green
    *notebook/notepad – moleskin 5×8.5 grid lined
    *planner – the day designer for target, academic calendar (I work in higher ed), with the weekly spreads
    *calendar app/program – I’m a paper person where possible, but I calendar in google for my life stuff and work outlook for work.
    *to do list app/program –again, paper person, mostly, so the reminders app that comes with my iphone is plenty
    *other office “thing” you can’t do without – attractive supplies for my desk. I have “clients” in and out of my office all the time for my work (like, sitting with me across my desk), and I like to keep a tidy desk to maintain a friendly environment. So, the lucite desk accessories (stapler, tape dispenser, pencil cup, business card holder, and phone stand, upright file divider), plus festive file folders (usually from tj maxx or marshalls) keep my crap contained in a stylish, work apropos way.

  3. pen –Bic Z4 – I make admin order these especially for me, and then hoard them in my office – lol
    notebook/notepad –for personal, my F*cking Brilliant lined journal by Papyrus, for work my company embossed Hyde Port books are great
    planner – Planner Pad – I’ve been using this for 7 years now, and I’ll never use anything else
    calendar app/program – Outlook
    to do list app/program – Outlook/iphone reminders
    other office “thing” you can’t do without – no real office things, but a good lamp and a couple plants make my office feel much more comfortable

    • Thanks for the planner pad rec. I have been looking for an Ink+Volt type planner with less of the woo-woo. Something to encourage me to make longer term goals and stick with them; use my time more intentionally.

      • Fan of anonymous engineer's idea :

        I love mine – good luck with it! I laughed when I first saw that there was an instructional video (they used to send it out on DVD) but it’s not a typical planner and it’s worth watching.

  4. Anony Mouse :

    Pen – Pilot Precise V5 Roller Ball, 0.5 mm, black
    Notebook/Notepad – for work, legal pads in a black portfolio; for personal use, various notebooks I pick up here and there, preferably handmade or made with recycled paper
    Planner –searching
    Calendar app/program – for work, Outlook; for personal use, Google Calendar
    To do list app/program – searching
    Other office “thing” you can’t do without – n/a

  5. Salad Schmalad :

    *notebook/notepad: Moleskine 5×8.5 lined notebook
    *calendar app/program: Outlook
    *other office thing I can’t do without: Knock Knock pads! I use their Organized To-Do list and their Five Days a Week list at work, and their grocery shopping list and packing list at home. I’ve come to really depend on them – I have used up my Five Days a Week list recently and have been discombobulated without it.

    • I LOVE colored p’ost-it’s! I make Frank get me all different colors for me to flag my brief’s. RED means that it is a bad fact, green is GOOD, and yellow is mabye good mabye bad. Orange is more good then bad, and brown is smelley! FOOEY!

      Rosa may be pregenant again! I can’t beleive I will have 4 neices if it is a girl! Now Dad is wondering if I will ever bear him a grandchild. FOOEY! It was bad enough with Grandma Leyeh getting mad about me taking the $50K and not comeing through, but that was b/c Sheketovits was shooting blanks. He often was sloppy with his technique, but I never used birth control when I was trying to make good on the $50K, but he was neutered I suppose. I am about to wonder if I can EVER get pregenant. But I now need a boyfreind b/f I can get a child. Once I do, I will be a GREAT mother, the manageing partner says! And he is right! YAY!!!!

  6. espresso bean :

    Fun topic!

    Pen: I love the Uniball Vision fine tip pens in black. They must be black, and they must be fine tip!

    Notebooks: I have recently become obsessed with Papier Tigre’s beautiful lined books. The designs are punchy, modern, and fun.

    Planner: don’t use

    Calendar: Google calendar, always and forever. I have multiple calendars for different things.

    Office “thing” you can’t do without: My standing desk (Varidesk), fun pieces of art and postcards, tiny figurines from different places I’ve traveled. Little things, but they make my desk feel more personal. I’ve been meaning to get a plant, but I have no natural light, so I’m afraid I’d be dooming the thing to death!

  7. Pen – Pilot frixion erasable pens! They actually erase, unlike the ones from my childhood that just smeared, but I only use for relatively temporary things like hand marking a doc to scan with comments, since it fades over a few months.
    Notepad – Just a plain legal pad, but college rule for more lines – for some unholy reason our office orders wide rule unless I ask them for a special order
    Planner – N/A
    Calendar app – I use outlook for everything work related and iPhone reminders/calendars for personal stuff
    To-do list – Handwritten on above mentioned legal pad! I sometimes take a photo of the list if I’m leaving for the day and it’s not done, in case I get stuck at home the next day with sick kiddo for instance.
    Other office “thing” – stapler that does 20-30 sheets, not the standard 10, sit/stand desk attachment and anti-fatigue mat, and headset for office phone

  8. Sloan Sabbith :

    Pen: Pilot G2s, .38 tip.
    Notepad/to do list- Moleskine notebook, soon to be replaced with one I got from Target because this one is about out. I like the pockets in the back and the bookmark/elastic band. My notebook has everything in it- personal, work, doodles, to-do lists, etc.
    Planner: I’m hoping Ink+Volt will work, but for some time this year I used a planner page I made myself. One of my 2018 goals is to just commit to using 1 planner and stick with it.
    Calendar app: Fantastical, which has my work and personal calendar combined, as well as to-dos (which I don’t use on my phone much)
    To-do list: Handwritten in my notebook
    Other office thing: A phone charger attached to my computer so I never forget to plug in my phone. Plus a tiny beach chair for my phone. And a bulletin board behind my desk that only has Stuff I Want to Save on it, not work stuff- ACLU sticker, the Do All the Good You Can quote, stickers that are related to our work, Christmas card from colleagues, the note from my family when I passed the bar. It’s right above my desk, so it makes me happy every time I see it.

  9. pen –Pilot G2, in navy blue (hard to find, I order mine from amazon)
    notebook/notepad –Moleskine hardcover 5″x8″, also in navy (they call it “sapphire”)
    planner – Ink & Volt rocks my world
    calendar app/program – gcal
    to do list app/program – omnifocus
    other office “thing” you can’t do without – a small pad of paper next to my computer for jotting down quick notes

  10. Anonymous :

    Shopping for my 9-year old niece’s birthday present. I am trying to decide between a girls’ (real) household tool set and the game Sushi Go Party. Which one should I get?

    • Sushi Go Party

      A household tool set is a great gift for someone going to college or moving out of their house for the first time. And then it can be just a tool set. No need for it to be a girls one.

      • Anonymous :

        Although I agree with your philosophy, the pink flowered tools were the only ones that didn’t slowly get stolen through my college years.

        • I have to second this – my parents gave me set of flowered tools when I was going to college, and I still have them all. Generic toolkits my roommates had all seemed to slowly disappear throughout the years.

          • lost academic :

            This is brilliant and now I need Craftsman to come out with flowered adjustable crescents and spinners so I can keep a complete set. (Too much to hope for a good socket set I suppose.)

            But I’ll also add that I gave a family friend a Leatherman when she graduated high school and it has been her go-to tool through college, law school and two cross country moves and every year or so she calls me to remind me of how important it has been in her life and how glad she is that she has had it, and who she’s recently gifted one to.

  11. No time to respond to the full list today because I am on day 3 of sick kid duty where I am only in the office half days, but I would love to find a pad or planner that allows me to have my day broken into tenths of an hour on one side and my to do and to call lists/priorities on the other side. Right now I have pages I have made myself that break the day into tenths and I scribble everything else in the margins, but an actual planner would be so much more professional.

    Is this a unicorn item? Or a business plan?

    • Cornellian. :


      • Very intrigued!

      • Do you use this? Do you find it difficult on days when you do not have, say three or four discrete tasks, but instead have many tasks., including things that were not originally planned or scheduled? I average over 20 entries a day and whatever I get needs to be able to handle that volume.

  12. Anonymous :

    Muji notebooks, Muji pens. You need to try them.

  13. Baconpancakes :

    If anyone wants to get sucked into a dark abyss of stationary, I discovered this blog and am a little in love with this woman: https://nopenintended.wordpress.com/

  14. Amenia pond :

    Pentel energel needle tip in purple! They are crazy expensive unfortunately and I can’t convince the office to buy them for me.

  15. Question about legal pads – how do you people use them effectively? I’ve never seen anyone writing on the other side of the page after flipping it over, so between that and the fact that they have no cover to keep the pages from getting rumpled in a bag, I’m very confused about their usefulness.

    • *should have been “how do people…” or “how do you….”
      not trying to be unnecessarily rude!

      • I only use one side of the page. My favorite thing is that I’m always looking at a fresh notebook without the zillion old pages to flip through since I tear out the pages as I go – I use them primarily to make to-do lists for the day or week, then tear off that sheet to make the list for the next day/week. Or taking notes from a call that I either file into the record or address the action items and toss. I carry it next to my computer in my bag and it rarely gets wrinkled, but I also don’t care that much if it does since it’s nothing official.

    • I like the Rhodia Wirebound Pad because it has a front cover and thick cardboard back. It seems less susceptible to rumpling, and the spiral binding makes it much easier to write on the back of a page when you want to. I don’t always use the back, but I like to have the option to do so when taking notes on one subject or when in need of scratch paper.

    • lost academic :

      I use one side of the page – most non BP pens bleed through the thin paper too much and it’s not helpful.

      I will say that it is also WAY too hard to find college ruled legal pads and I hate wide ruled anything.

  16. pen – Pilot G2, 0.38mm, in black (for everyday work) and blue (for editing)
    notebook/notepad – I’ve recently discovered the Black n’ Red notebooks, which are sturdy and have high-quality paper inside (a must with a G2)
    to do list app/program – My husband and I have started using shared Notes on our iPhones to manage our family to-do lists, and it has made a huge difference in our household organization.
    other office “thing” you can’t do without – Sharpie brand highlighters.

  17. Anonymous Engineer :

    Frixion erasable pens! Perfect for redlining engineering drawings.

    • Fan of anonymous engineer's idea :

      So smart! I often wish I could erase markups – instead drawings end up with scribbles. This will start in the new year!

    • Anonymous :

      Agreed! Perfect for engineering.

    • lost academic :

      Are they really great? I could use those on my giant CAD printouts and I haven’t touched an eraseable pen since the Papermates from the 80s and 90s that weren’t worth much.

  18. Pen: Lamy Al Star Rollerball, black ink (great weight/balance & post-able)
    Mechanical Pencil: Sakura Sumo Grip, 0.7 mm (excellent grip & eraser)
    Notebook & Note Pad: Rhodia Webnotebook, 5.5×8.3 dot grid & Wirebound Pad, 8.3×11.7 dot grid (beautiful, smooth paper – perfect for the Lamy rollerball or your favorite fountain pen)
    Planner: Planner Pad, Executive Size (the BEST organizational system – I’m lost without it!)

  19. Does anyone have a desk stapler recommendation? I’d love one that works smoothly and lasts. I feel like so many are cheap plastic and just break or jam after a while.

  20. biglawanon :

    pen – Mitsubishi Uniball Signo 0.38
    notebook/notepad – Moleskin 5″ x 8″, soft cover, with dots
    planner – don’t use
    calendar app/program – don’t use, unless you count Outlook
    to do list app/program – don’t use
    other office “thing” you can’t do without – label maker and plastic sleeves for organizing papers

  21. I have all-capitals OPINIONS on office supplies.

    Pen-Pilot G2 bold (1.0) in green/teal. So hard to find, but I love them. Also the purple/burgundy/hot pink–much easier on the eyes than a red pen.

    Pencils–old-fashioned yellow Ticonderogas. No mechanical pencils, ever.

    Planner–Blue Sky brand weekly/monthly at Target. Still looking for my holy grail planner, but I like the size, the 360 spiral, plastic covers and pocket.

    Other must haves–two-tier inbox system and the Martha Stewart vertical file folders (that fit inside of a desktop file holder). So handy to have the things I need right there, and they never fall out of the files.

  22. I'm Just Me :

    pen – Pilot G2 blue (I picked that up from you)
    notebook/notepad – Circa (although I use some ARC from Staples as well)
    planner – Circa Smart Planner
    calendar app/program – Google
    to do list app/program – I’m a paper person/ so all my to do lists are in either my personal Circa or my work Circa

  23. Paperclips.

  24. Ramona Flowers :

    pen – Pilot v-ball in turquoise
    notebook/notepad – I like a wide variety but they have to be perfect-bound
    planner – don’t use them
    calendar app/program – Outlook as it’s what my workplace uses
    to do list app/program – Due
    other office “thing” you can’t do without – Post-its and sticky page flags

  25. ISO planner or system for tracking delegated work. Suggestions?

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