For the most part, I get my school supplies from the dollar store. Highlighters, binders, ballpoint pens–you name it, they got it. But sometimes I want to be all ooh-la-la fancy and indulge in something of somewhat higher quality. And sometimes dollar-store quality just doesn’t make the cut. (Ever try getting your erasers from there? Don’t. Hard as rock and smudges your writing like hell.) If you’re a stationary nerd like me but also broke half of the time (also me), and you want to explore more of this beautiful city called Vancouver, here is a totally-not-exhaustive list of some of the places I go to stock up:
- Daiso (or, as a closer alternative: Yoko Yaya 123)
- Go here for: notebooks, mechanical pencils, erasers, graphite
- Unless otherwise noted, everything in Daiso is $2. They’ve marketed themselves as a Japanese dollar store, so they have products that are not writing-related (socks, plates, wrapping paper, clay, etc.), but this is a stationary-focused post, so I won’t go too far off topic. I always purchase my mechanical pencils from here, because they rarely jam, last a long time, and come in a pack of five. Lead packs are cheap and come in various grades. Most notebooks sold here are thin and lie flat [cue the angelic music]. Now, Daiso is quite far from campus (in Richmond), but Yoko Yaya 123 is much closer (Gastown/Chinatown area) and sells literally the same stuff, it’s just smaller.
- Go here for: pens, correction fluid/tape, highlighters, rulers that can fit in your pencil case
- Like Daiso, Muji sells more than just stationary, but….the other stuff is kind of pricy, imo. That aside, pens here are the bomb: sleek, smooth, and available in an exciting array of colours. (Ha ha, is it weird that I get so enthusiastic about this?) They’re $2 per pen (not as cheap as Daiso, where you could get a pack), but they’re worth it if you’re picky on how well your pen is supposed to glide across the paper. Highlighters are amazing too. I still get mine primarily from the dollar store because I go through highlighters far too quickly, but they have the dual-tip kind that acts as a neon marker on one end and a highlighter with a window (so you can see what you’re highlighting) on the other. Also, ever since Muji has arrived, I feel less worried about buying correction fluid/tape. I don’t know about you, but before Muji, I had the worst luck with finding good correction fluid/tape–they were such a risky investment! Well, not anymore! There’s a Muji in Downtown and in Burnaby (farther, true, but you get the bonus of being at Metrotown, which is, like, the mall that everyone refers to here).
- Go here for: fineliners, sketchbooks, art supplies
- You get a discount if you’re a student and sign up for free membership. I have a friend who goes here often because she likes to draw and make comics. If you need artist-quality fineliners (e.g. Prismacolor), this is your mecca. Side note: I’m so in love with the colours Copic Markers come in, but why do Copics got to be so damn expensive?
- Pulp Fiction Books
- Go here for: some of your textbooks, especially if they’re more commercially available (e.g. fiction for your English classes), Moleskine notebooks
- Pulp Fiction Books is a used bookstore, but they have new books too, usually displayed at the front of the store. You can also order books, although prices will fluctuate depending on how fast you need them. This is probably your best bet for procuring cheap books, since even new books and books ordered in (with some exceptions) are discounted at at least 20% off their Canadian cover price. Moleskine notebooks, if you’re into them, are perpetually on sale too, although their selection can be small. However, I cannot recommend Pulp Fiction Books enough as a bookworm! You can take the 99 and hit all 3 branches along the way (albeit with some walking if you’re going to the one on Commercial).
- Go here for: ~fancy~ notebooks/agendas
- Walk in the store. You’ll know what I’m talking about. Indigo has a far larger selection of Moleskine notebooks as well as Leuchtturm for bullet journaling (although stock for that brand has kind of faded over the months, from my own observation). My suggestion, if you really crave these higher-end notebooks, is to come in during one of their (frequent) sale periods or at least rifle through their stock, as many items are marked down but not explicitly advertised as such, like through a poster on a wall. If you take the 99 to Granville, you’ll be right at their flagship store, although there are many other branches scattered about the city.
Got some of your own favourite places to shop for school supplies? Leave a comment below, because I’d really love to check them out! 🙂