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Let me begin by stating the obvious: pencil cases are for storing pens and pencils. This is fine and straightforward. If you find that you have more pencils than case you can simply acquire a second or third as your needs dictate. I failed to acknowledge one key point. Storing writing implements while on the move is also a key function.

Makeup bags fall into a similar category. Prone to overcrowding, particularly when in handbags.

These pouches, tins and zip-up bags are part of your preparedness for whatever the world might throw at you. You want to be sure that whatever might cross your path you are ready for it. It’s exactly this kind of thinking that leads to packing your entire desk drawer into your handbag.

Just in case

So you pop in your favourite pen which has coloured ink, and a backup; then a pen with black ink (in case you need to sign something), and a backup of that. Then you’ll want a pencil for Sudoku, and the inevitable backup. Throw in an eraser, and a pencil sharpener, and a few paper clips for good measure. Pop your nail file in too because it fits nicely. Then sit back and wait for the breeding effect to take place. Check back in a week or two to discover that you have acquired half a dozen biros in random shades of black or blue (half of which don’t work), a promotional highlighter, and some dried up gel pens.

It’s time to carry less

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how much we carry around with us. Inspiration then came from Sarah of Yes and Yes, who managed a 3 item make up bag.

 So I propose a minimalist approach to the pencil case. If you do it with makeup you can do it with stationery. While having always having a pen to hand used to be vital it’s far less the case. Forms are filled out online. We take a photograph of bus times or a must-buy product as a reminder. ‘Phone numbers are recorded on mobiles instantly as are social media handles.

However, it’s always good to be able to take notes, doodle, complete puzzles, write lists, record serial numbers, and write reminders on the back of your hand.

My suggestions – for a more elegant approach to on the move writing supplies:

minimal and elegant
  • 1 pen with signature coloured ink (for signing personal items and making job lists)
  • A second pen with sensible ink (for signing official forms)
  • mechanical pencil (no sharpener required)

That’s it. So, go and declutter your pencil case, buy a small one if necessary, and schedule a regular time to weed out those naughty breeding pens.