How Should I Store my Stationery?
This one has been a long time coming as I’m forever Googling “how should you store brush pens” and “should gel pens be stored horizontally” since learning embarrassingly recently that not all pens should be stored upright in a pen pot!
Storing pens correctly improves their performance and prolongs their life so it’s really worth giving it some thought and investing in storage solutions that work for your stationery collection. Thankfully, Nikki’s Supply Store has you covered for both horizontal and vertical pen storage! More on that later.
This information has been compiled from manufacturers’ guidance where available.
Ball Point Pens
The best way to store ballpoint pens such as these Bic classic biros is vertically with the nib down, although they’ll be perfectly happy stored horizontally too. Ballpoint pen ink is viscous and slow-moving so storing them nib-down means the ink is already ideally positioned, and you won’t need to scribble enthusiastically to get it flowing again!
Storage advice for brush markers varies slightly between brands, but a good rule of thumb is:
- Water-based ink brush markers (such as Stabilo 68 brush pens, Ecoline brush pens and Pentel Fude Touch brush calligraphy pens) can be stored either horizontally or vertically
- Dual-tipped brush markers (such as Tombow brush pens, Brunyzeel brush pens and Zebra Mildliner brush pens) can withstand being stored vertically, but should ideally be stored horizontally to ensure that the ink doesn’t settle in one end. If you do decide to store them horizontally, it’s a good idea to rotate them periodically
- Alcohol-based brush markers must be stored horizontally to prevent them from evaporating
If you’re not sure what type of brush pens you have, it’s a safe bet to store them horizontally!
Felt Tip / Marker Pens
Water-based felt tip markers with a single nib such as Stabilo pen 68 and Crayola Supertips can be stored horizontally or vertically, but may benefit from being stored vertically, nib down to ensure that they don’t dry out. The same applies to storing highlighters such as Stabilo Boss, Stabilo Swing Cool and Zebra Kirarich.
Alcohol-based markers such as Sharpies should be stored horizontally to prevent the ink form evaporating.
Dual-tipped markers such as Zebra Mildliners benefit from being stored horizontally to prevent the ink from settling at one end of the ink cartridge.
Fine Liner Pens
Fine liners (such as Pentel Ultra Fines, Pigma Microns and Stabilo 88s) are best stored horizontally to prevent the ink from settling. I must confess that this is the one I was still doing incorrectly until I wrote this blog post, as I had a mug of Pigma Micron pens on my desk! (Fear not reader, they’re now safely tucked away in one of Nikki’s Supply Store’s beautiful new corduroy pencil cases!)
Fountain pens such as Lamy Safari and Kaweco fountain pens should be stored horizontally to prevent ink from pooling and blocking the nib. The cap should be replaced as soon as possible when not in use to prevent it from drying out, and its good practice to clean the nib between each cartridge or refill.
There were a lot of conflicting opinions online about how best to store gel pens like the Zebra Sarasa Clip, Pentel Energel and Sakura Gelly Rolls, but the general consensus seems to be that they should can be stored horizontally or vertically, tip up.
Sakura state that if you’re storing Gelly Rolls vertically, you should take care not to drop them into a pen pot as this can cause air bubbles to form in the gel which disrupts the ink flow. That sounds like pretty good advice to apply to all vertically-stored pens to me!
I also learned that you can temporarily store gel pens vertically with the nib down to help get dry gel pens flowing again, although this comes with the caveat that I haven’t tried it myself as I didn’t have any dry gel pens to test!
…and finally: The pen that made me realise that storage really does matter! Paint pens such as Archer & Olive Acrylographs should be stored horizontally to prevent them from drying out. You can read more Acrylograph tips in my blackout journal blog post.
General Pen Storage Advice
One of the best things you can do to improve the function of and prolong the life of your pens is to return the cap or retract the nib as soon as possible when not in use. It has the added bonus of keeping your pen pot, pencil case, pocket or bag nice and clean too. I put my hands up and confess that I am absolutely terrible at doing this, but I recently got my comeuppance when I knocked a gel pen with an exposed nib onto a sewing project, and couldn’t wash the ink out! At least I’ve been making a concerted effort to do better as a result.
Pens also prefer to be stored away from sources of heat such as window sills and radiators.
Pen Storage Solutions
Now that you know how all the different types of pen in your stationery collection prefer to be stored, you may find yourself in need of some new storage solutions! We got you, bestie.
First up are these gorgeous cosy new corduroy pencil cases. Designed and sewn in Scotland exclusively for Nikki’s Supply Store, they come in a choice of mustard, terracotta or blush corduroy. They’re fully lined and feature a sparkly label and a zipper that’s just calling out for one of these adorable charms! They’re big enough for Tombow dual brush pens, but small enough to take out and about with you.
If you like to keep your stationery divided across several cases and want to see what’s inside, you may like these Japanese Hightide Nahe vinyl stationery pouches. They feature internal pockets and fasten with a metal popper. Plus, they’re cute as hell!
I mentioned this in my blackout journaling blog post, but I find it really helpful to keep all of the pens and washi tapes I’m using for that month’s bullet journal set up in a separate smaller pencil case with my go-to basics, so I don’t need to rummage through my whole stationery stash or try and remember which particular shade of green Acrylograph I was using!
For pens that are happy being stored vertically, you can’t do better than these super kitschy cute Japanese import Penco mini desk caddies! They’re bright and cheery and would be the perfect space to store pencils glue, rulers, scissors, sticker sheets and washi too.
I hope you enjoyed geeking out about stationery storage with me, and that your favourite pens will reap the benefits of your new-found knowledge. Nikki and I would absolutely would love to see your stationery storage! Please tag @nikkissupplystore on Instagram, where you can find heaps more journaling and stationery inspiration. You can also follow me, @joy.margot, for more craft content and pictures of my cat.