MUJI Stationery Favorites
For me, there are two places where the word “restraint” loses all of its meaning: Trader Joe’s and MUJI.
For those who aren’t familiar with MUJI, it’s a Japanese retail company that sells simply-designed and practical items, ranging from clothing and household goods to beauty products and snacks. Its full Romanized name is Mujirushi Ryohin, which translates to “no-brand quality goods”. Don’t let the name fool you, though – MUJI prides itself on creating simple, good quality products at a relatively low cost to them and, therefore, their customers.
There’s something for everyone at MUJI, but the busiest area in any given store would have to be the stationery section. Their pens and notebooks were my go-to supplies throughout college, and I still use them to this day. Over the years, I found that there were products that my MUJI trips wouldn’t be complete without. And after going on a little shopping spree a few weeks ago, I thought I’d share some of my favorites!
Capped GEL PENS
We all have that one pen that makes our writing look neater than it usually is. For me, it's a MUJI capped gel pen. They’re super pigmented, and the ink flows oh so smoothly with little to no railroading (when the ink breaks down in the middle, and you end up with two parallel lines). Their barrels are made out of a lightweight matte plastic material, and they don't have rubber grips, which some people may or may not like.
My only real complaint about them is their tendency to smudge a little – they are gel pens, after all. If you’re left-handed or you hold your pens unconventionally, as I do, there’s a 75 percent chance of your hand picking up some of the wet ink. And don't even think about using a highlighter on top of it.
The pens cost $1.50 each and come in three sizes and up to twelve colors, most of which are available as refills for $1.25.
Pros: writes smoothly with little to no pressure, refills available for purchase
Cons: smudges if it’s not given time to dry, not highlighter-friendly, not ergonomic (hello, hand cramps)
As the name suggests, these highlighters have two ends that you can use to highlight and take notes with. You have the fine tip – perfect for underlining and drawing arrows as you annotate. And there's the thicker end, which also has a small window that allows you to see precisely where to highlight. It’s not absolutely necessary, but it’s a nice touch.
The highlighters come in five bright colors for $1.95 each.
Pros: vibrant colors, long-lasting, has a window to see what you’re highlighting, fine tip for thinner lines
Cons: costs more than a standard highlighter
If you want good quality paper without the high-quality price, then check out some of the notebooks that MUJI has in stock! They come in many sizes and paper options, including plain, ruled, squared, and dotted. The covers aren’t made out of the sturdiest material, but the notebooks lay flat and are well-bound.
Another thing to note is that most of their papers, especially their recycled paper, are light beige in color. That’s because they omit the bleaching process during production to reduce both the monetary and environmental costs. All of their recycled and high-quality notebooks are smooth to write on, and most are bleed-resistant.
The prices range from $1.25 to $7.00, depending on paper quality, binding, and the number of sheets (30 to 90), but you can save money with a pack of five for $3.00 (A5-sized) or $3.50 (B5-sized).
Pros: little to no bleed-through for most pens, smooth paper, lots of paper options
Cons: not exactly fountain pen-friendly
If it weren’t for the tower of Post-It notes I already have, I’d probably own all the memos and sticky pads MUJI has to offer*. Nonetheless, their checklist notepad and weekly overview sticky notes are always on my shopping list because they make keeping track of tasks and deadlines simple.
Call me lazy, but I don’t want to pull up a digitized calendar or flip through my bullet journal every ten minutes. By having the memos right in front of me on my desk or wall, I can quickly glance at them and immediately know what to expect during the week and what projects to focus on.
Pros: convenient for keeping track of tasks, deadlines, and events
Cons: not a lot of sheets (40 for the checklist and 35 for weekly sticky notes)
I mostly use pens, but I like having erasers around for the occasional pencil sketches. It seems like a trivial thing to add to this list, but MUJI’s erasers work incredibly well. It doesn’t require much pressure or rubbing to erase mistakes clean and free of smudges. Their erasers also don’t leave a lot of eraser shavings – a major plus for me!
The eraser block comes in two colors: black and white. Smaller ones cost $0.75, while the large is $1.25. If you like holding your erasers like a pen, I recommend their triangular eraser pen, which goes for $2.50. They last quite a long time but when you do run out, refills are available for $1.25.
Pros: doesn’t leave lots of shavings, little to no smearing
Cons: can’t completely erase deep and dark pencil marks
MUJI products get the job done without being flashy or excessive. The supplies mentioned above are basic, but when you have reasonably priced and good quality tools that do what they’re supposed to do, that’s all you really need. Although, I did burn quite a substantial hole in my wallet there two weeks ago. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
MUJI may leave a tiny dent in my bank account, but it’ll always have a special place in my heart.
*2017 Update: I now own all the memos and sticky pads MUJI has to offer.