You’re gonna need a bigger boat

A recent post by Alison at Her Nibs got me thinking about storage.

For a long time, I figured that my hand-converted cigar box would be plenty of storage for my pen collection. Depending on how crammed I’m willing to make it, it holds up to eight pens in felt-lined luxury.

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How naive, thinking that this would hold all my pens. Ha, ha.

Now that cigar box is filled with nib units, converters, pencils and random offshoots from my pen hobby.

Those pens that aren’t riding around with me in my Nock case are arranged in two wooden test-tube racks, cut down to hold precisely 14 pens — which is the upper limit I’ve set myself (after hitting well over 24 before my big sale).

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Ironically, shortly after cutting these down to hold 14 pens, I bought two more pens. Fail.

This is a nice solution for me, because it keeps my pens visible and nib up on the corner of my desk, rather than out of sight where I might forget about some of my uninked-but-loved pens. It certainly works better than the crappy horizontal pen holders that I used to use, which had the annoying habit of dumping all my pens at the slightest nudge.

Now the real problem is ink storage. With something like 60 bottles, I’ve long outgrown my flip-lid wooden box, and I don’t want to consign my bottles to a deep dark drawer for fear of forgetting what I’ve got. So I did want any self-respecting man with a power drill would do: I put up a shelf just for my ink. Then I put up another shelf just for notebooks. Both I put on the outer wall of my house, right next to a window, so they’re guaranteed to be out of direct sunlight.

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Not pictured: another box of about 30 different Field Notes. Oops.

See, there are certain perks to working from home and having a dedicated home office room.

Hobby storage is a perpetual problem for me. I have an aversion to spending as much on storage as on the hobby itself, which is why those multi-hundred euro pen drawers don’t appeal to me. I was really pleased to finally treat myself to a wooden (well, MDF probably) mechanics’ chest for my EDC. If it was a better shape (ie, deeper drawers for ink bottles) and a damnsight bigger, I’d get another one for stationery.

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I will argue until I’m blue in the face that every man needs AT LEAST 20 flashlights.

How do you store your pens and ink?

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8 thoughts on “You’re gonna need a bigger boat

  1. I love that you cut the test tube holders down to store 14 pens – I admire your resolve!!!!
    I hope to have my specially made wooden thingumybobby for my pens tomorrow. It’s looking great *whispers* but we all know that it’s going to be too small lol! Ali x

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  2. I really have all my pens and ink bottles in drawers in order for them not to collect huge amounts of dust. And I really don’t feel like dusting off like 70 bottles of ink or so :-). I always have only 1 or 2 of them on my desk for decorative purposes. My pens also sit in a drawer. But since all these drawers are integrated into my desk (my desk is essentially 2 drawer-towns and a large wooden plate on it), I always have all of them in an arms reach.

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    • You are absolutely right about the dust! Unfortunately my desk only has two tiny drawers… Maybe time to look at new desks?!

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  3. Loose pens are stored in pen folders, boxed pens, in boxes on the shelves. Pretty boring.
    But when it comes to ink….. well at current count (which is accurate as I keep a spreadsheet) I have 280 different bottles of ink, I store them on 1 book case and 1 old dvd case. The book case is overflow from the dvd case I would really like another one of the dvd cases and probably a spare room for them to sit in. I got it years ago from argos, and I just checked they still have them, it is great for storing bottles of ink (as long as you keep them out of sunlight).
    http://www.argos.co.uk/product/6099163

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  4. Pingback: The joy of anticipation | UK fountain pens

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