It’s papery things. Things for recording in or on. Notebooks, diaries, journals, planners, receipt books, writing paper, jotter pads, index cards, sticky notes.
But probably not floppy disks any more.
It’s pens and pencils and things that make a mark. It’s ink in a bottle or a cartridge, gel pens, highlighters, rainbow crayons, painting pencils, pens in novelty shapes, fountain pen nibs, letterpresses and photocopier toner.
But not so much quills.
It’s more than paper. So it’s about storing the paper and accessories for paper. That means erasers, staples, paperclips, pencil cases and tins, sharpeners, letter openers, document wallets, folders of all kinds, correction fluid and scissors.
So cases for business cards but maybe not the actual cards themselves.
It’s moved a long way from its origins. It’s no longer a medieval merchant selling from a fixed place. It’s the stationery cupboard. And stationery stashes and ink colours that no one could ever have dreamed of. Analogue and digital integrations.
And if it’s what sold by a stationer then it could be cans of soft drink as well as unicorn pencils and revision cards.
So that’s stationery. It’s not pithy. It’s rambling and uncertain and it’s what we use to try and pin down our ramblings and uncertainties.