There's Kikki.K, Smiggle, Red Letter Day, Pencil Boutique and probably plenty more specialist stationery stores around Auckland these days. It seems demand for pens, pencils, erasers, diaries, blotters, exercise books and journals is unaffected by adverse economic conditions.
Oh, the promise that lies within the crisp blank pages of a beautifully-bound journal. We wonder what profound thoughts, what ramblings, what ideas, what witty observations, what germs of embryonic novels will eventually be expressed within it. Perhaps we imagine historians of the future poring over our wisdom and debating our ahead-of-their time pronouncements or even students one day writing essays about our musings.
Mercifully we never seem to take to heart the harsh reality that these books fail to live up to the potential so hopefully imagined. We may acquire them with the loftiest of intentions but they fast deteriorate into receptacles for hastily jotted phone numbers, prosaic shopping lists, recipes for saline solutions to ease conjunctivitis, the addresses of speech therapists and a daily log of Weight Watchers ProPoints consumed. It really should be no surprise to discover that these volumes reflect life as it is rather than life as we wish it would be.
Conspicuous amongst all the negatively expressed resolutions - which traditionally include stopping smoking, reducing drinking, losing weight and generally going without - is just one that could be described as proactive, positive and optimistic. And that's the resolution to become more organised which is evidently right up there in the popularity stakes when it comes to goals for the New Year.
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If being organised is so fashionable, it makes sense that stationery stores are proliferating. Kikki.K is one example of a business unashamedly tapping into this market with niche products tailor-made for every household task that needs doing, for every list-making situation that may eventuate and for what seems like every human whim or desire that could possibly exist.
Kikki.K offers Wellbeing journals and folders for My Important Documents - and, according to its website, can even alleviate stress. Thanks to My Pets Organiser, with its eight tabbed sections with headings that include Certificates, Registration, Vet Checks and Caretaker Instructions, you'll "[h]ave more time to spend having fun with your pet and stay stress-free." Wow.
There are shopping lists, meal planners, Weekly Habits pads, Weekly Chore pads, guest books and recipe books. That's right, there's a book ready and waiting for the day you decide to finally empty that ragged A4-sized plastic sleeve over-stuffed with oil-smeared, tomato-spattered recipes carelessly ripped from magazines and copy them out in your best handwriting under the appropriate tabbed section. It's a fine aim but surely has all the hallmarks of a Tui billboard.
And never fear if it's your memories that need organising. There are dedicated memory books for siblings and grandparents as well as twin volumes called "Adventures with Dad" and "Moments with Mum" which propagate gender stereotypes about men being active while women are passive.
There are travel journals, friendship books, baby books, Goal books, Gratitude books, 101 Dreams books and journals entitled "daily notes". There is even the "3am" spiral notebook in which we can "[c]apture twilight inspiration by keeping this notebook at your bedside."
Perversely, if we purchased and diligently used every one of Kikki.K's journals we'd have no time for babies, cooking, family, friends, pets or travel. We'd be occupied full-time with writing in journals, instead. Then we'd need a journal to keep track of what journals need updating. All of which just makes my head spin.
So, one of the New Year's resolutions on my list this year is to stop buying journals. I must get that list written down before New Year's Eve. Now, where did I put my journal?