I love a good stationery haul post. I’ve never written one, but when I see one pop up on a feed, I have to read it.

I’m probably nosey, definitely stationary obsessed and I just love seeing all the cute things other people buy.

But I’ve been thinking.

Why does nobody ever show what they reuse?

The faithful backpack, the pens that don’t need replacing or the folder you revamped.

In a time when we need to buy less and reuse more, why not celebrate those items that never let you down.

Next week I will do a stationery haul with the new stuff that I have bought. There was stuff I did need to buy.

This week I’m going to show you ways that I have saved money, repaired or revamped old items and injected a little bit of sentimentality into my college kit.

Image Credits: Notebook, Claire Jones. Stars (yellow & pink), Goodfather. Stars (black outline) Nick Abrams. All icons sourced from the Noun Project and licensed under CCBY 3.0

Do an inventory check.

During the summer, you probably weren’t writing as much. You may have pens, pencils, highlighters, erasers, etc, leftover from last semester. If you do use them.

Don’t be pulled in by the back to school offers and sales trying to capitalise on the September rush.

Only buy those items you need.

I was not so lucky on the pens and highlighter front because I do a lot of writing all year round, but I do have all of my pencils, eraser and sharpeners for first time ever.

I also have my stapler, hole punch and paper scissors.

I cleared out my folder from last year, took photos of anything that I thought might come in handy later and uploaded them to cloud storage.

During my decluttering this summer I found two other empty folders, so in fact, I haven’t needed to buy a folder in years.

Which do you like best?

But now I can’t decide which to use, what do you think?

I wish college was a paper-free affair, but we all have that lecturer who still insists on handouts.

One thing I don’t buy is the plastic pockets.

My folder spends most of the semester in my locker so the sheets are protected, plastic pockets are wasteful. I have some old ones at home I kept rather than throw out just in case.

My memory stick still has space so I won’t buy another. I have a second one which we will talk about later.


At the end of last semester, the zip on my backpack started to come off the track and I intended to buy another before next semester.

I needed it during the summer so I took a closer look.

Some threads had come loose and got caught up in the zip, I clipped them and now it’s perfect.

I checked out the rest of the bag and I don’t see any reason to replace it.

Here are some tips for determining if you need to buy a new backpack.

  • Check that no thread is disrupting the zip and clip any hanging so they don’t become a problem later.
  • Check the bottom and sides. From scraping off the ground or being jostled on buses, the bag can get worn. If the wearing doesn’t look too bad, hold onto it.
  • Check your handles. You don’t want them breaking when you become a mobile library during the year.

I have had my backpack since first year. It has served me well and apart from a little wear I don’t see any reason to throw it away.


Do you have an old pencil case, laptop case or folder that there’s nothing wrong with, you’re just bored with it?

Yeah me too.

During the summer I bought a Veronica Dearly enamel pin. I didn’t know what I was going to use it for, I just wanted it. I had a smiley cactus patch from a failed craft project last year, so I revamped my pencil case.

It’s practically new.

Enamel pin by Veronica Dearly £7.50 Patch, Hickeys approx €5. Pencilcase, Supreme, approx €5

If you are going to buy something, it’s good to buy from small designers in shops or online.

I have seen lots of these enamel pins around lately with encouraging sentiments, I just think they are fantastic.

Call me sentimental

My university has a program which organises events and workshops for first year’s to help them adjust to university life, called The First Seven Weeks.

When I was in first year I went to almost all of their workshops and at each workshop, we were given merch, usually stationary.

Most of it I used but I do still have the memory stick. I thought wouldn’t it be nice to use it for my final year project.

Like coming full circle.

We may have declared war on plastic, but who says we can’t be sentimental too?

There’s no getting away from it education is expensive. Even if you are lucky enough to live in a place where tuition is free or subsidised, you still have expenses.

Companies know this which is why everything is so expensive.

There’s a reason they call us broke students.

But where there is adversity, there is creativity, ingenuity and no small amount of make do.

Don’t waste what little money you have right now.

And whatever you do, don’t get caught up in the capitalist agenda that is back to school sales.

Note: While products were mentioned in this post, I purchased them myself and have not been paid or otherwise incentived to mention them.

One thought on “Back to College Stationery Anti-Haul. Reuse and Revamp

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