Collecting writing supplies is almost as much fun as getting letters in the mail. But if your goal is to send more encouragement and joy, your supplies don’t have to be expensive or massive. You just need a few basics to make the process easier – and then it’s more likely to get done.
Of course you’ll need addresses, but it’s OK to start slowly if you don’t have many. Ask a few friends for theirs and add them to your address book or contact list. Next week, repeat the process. Anytime I’ve tried to add more than a handful at once I’ve gotten overwhelmed and procrastinated!
Then – and I think this is most important – buy postage stamps to have on hand. Keep them tucked in your wallet, stashed in the junk drawer or paper clipped to your weekly planner because if you have to make a special trip to buy postage stamps, you’re much less likely to send a note when you’re thinking of someone.
If you have the space and the budget, fill a shoebox with greeting cards and pull from there when you need to wish someone happy birthday or send your condolences. Individual cards can get expensive, so I almost always buy them by the box or create my own. I’ve always liked ordering from Current but some discount stores like Dollar Tree and Marshall’s have great prices, too. I love beautiful stationery, but the personal message is always more important.
When I make my own stationery, I often use my sons’ artwork. I buy white cardstock 150 sheets at a time from big box stores like WalMart, and I fold them in half for an instant card that the boys can decorate. Sometimes, if there is a particular piece of art that I like, I use my home printer to make a few extra copies.
If you’d like to get in on the fun of decorating your own cards and letters, you’ll find thousands of YouTube videos and pins on Pinterest to help you. But, if it’s simplicity you want, take plain copy paper and add a row of stickers or draw spirals or arrows with a pen. My favorite? Adding washi tape to any kind of paper. It’s already decorative, you have thousands of choices of patterns and it’s easy to put on in a straight line – which is usually a challenge for me. (Rolls of washi tape range from 50 cents to around $4, so I like that part, too.)
Now, if you’d like a few more recommendations, I do have some I’d love to share:
My three favorite note cards right now are these doughnut-shaped ones, these Russian nesting dolls that can stand up after you write in them and this set from the Library of Congress card catalog.
Also, I often use things that aren’t meant as stationery… like these free journaling cards that you simply download and print at home. They are small, but I like that. Not every letter needs to be long. Since I’ve been watching Downton Abbey like it is my job, I’ve downloaded copies of blank telegram forms to write on as well.
I’ve been experimenting with these disposable fountain pens, and I love these pens because of their vivid colors and fine tips (mine were closer to $5, though).
I may have a slight addiction to sticky notes and washi tape. You can find lots at craft stores, but I really enjoy what I’ve ordered from here and here on Etsy.
Tomorrow, we’ll talk about finding ideas for things to write about in your notes and letters. If you’d like to make it easy to follow this five-day series, just slip your email address into the box on the lower left!