Where do your inks live? Maybe scattered around a room, under your bed or neatly filed away in a shoebox perhaps? This is something I often wonder about, especially when reading correspondence from pen pals. Many of them use fountain pens and different colors of ink. Where do they keep it all? How do they keep it organized?
I thought I’d answer this question myself and show you where and how I keep my inks, cartridges, converters, seals, sealing wax, stamps and ink pads. I keep all of that in one desk drawer. One. I keep my fountain pens and calligraphy nibs and my enclosures in another drawer. My things weren’t always arranged like this. Years ago, they lived in an old shoebox. Then, they took up three boxes. I downsized and now they live here.
See, it was overwhelming having lots of supplies. Why did I need so much? I didn’t. That’s why I think I felt that way in the first place–felt the need to question the amount of things I was keeping around. I decided to only keep things I used 80% of the time. Boy, that cut out a lot.
I have about half a shoebox full of stuff yet to get rid of. Stamps, pens, stickers, ephemera, pins, buttons, bits and bobs. I’m debating on it. Should I try to sell it to someone who really wants it? Should I just slowly send each piece off to a pen pal one-by-one, as the occasion calls for it?
I don’t want to be someone with a ton of ink, a ton of paper and a ton of stuff. I want to keep a lean desk. I want a desk full of things I actually use.
I think most of us are like that. None of us want a ton of stuff taking up space in our lives, especially when we don’t use it. Stuff is heavy. And stuff we’re just hanging on to for arbitrary reasons is really heavy.
In all my years of yoga, one thing that has really had sticking power is this concept of non-attachment. Yoga is not just physical exercise. The physical part is probably actually the smallest component. Yoga is more like an approach to life. Yoga tells us to practice non-attachment. To avoid having attachments to things. I think this is good advice. I’ve seen family members with entire basements full, literally full, of things they have not used or needed in years and years. I don’t want a basement full of my arbitrary attachments. I don’t want a closet full of things I don’t want or need but are somehow guilting me into keeping them. Why do I let this cheap heart stamp guilt me into keeping it? Why?!
I suppose this post is about just that. I write letters and I receive letters. That in itself just requires pen, paper, envelope and stamp. It doesn’t require 3 dozen stamps, 25 types of ink, 40 fountain pens, 80 packs of stickers. The stickers and ink aren’t what make a letter meaningful and treasured. It’s the words on a page. When I sit down to write, I want to focus on the words I’m choosing and not the placement of all my stickers and stamps, what ink to use, how to place my stamps.
I’m pretty sure that’s a good approach to life in general. Keep and use only that which serves you. Don’t give up physical and mental space to things that serve no purpose.
So what about you? How do you keep and store your supplies? Do you have things you keep for no real reason other than you’d feel guilty if you got rid of it?