Ask The Desk: Storing Pens Up or Down?

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Reader Teri asks,

“So, should pens and markers, etc be stored point up or point down?”


In my opinion, it differs depending on the pen.

  • I find that felt tip pens like whiteboard markers, Sharpies, Microns and highlighters are best stored with the tip down. It keeps the ink in contact with the fiber/felt tip so that it does not dry out.
  • Rollerballs and ballpoints are best if they are stored upright so they don’t leak or get gummy at the point.
  • Gel pens seem to be okay stored either up or down. I have retractables that get stored point down and capped gels that get stored cap up. Both will occasionally need a little priming to get going but neither seems to leak or gum up at all.
  • Fountain pens seem to like to be stored horizontal which keep the ink in contact with the nib but doesn’t let gravity get too sassy.
  • I tend to store pencils pointy end up but this can be dangerous, especially if you are clumsy or have small children in the house. I’d recommend to store them tip down. Mechanical pencils can be stored tip down as well.

I’ve found these are the methods that work for me but I’d love to hear other people’s opinions and comments.

5 thoughts on “Ask The Desk: Storing Pens Up or Down?

  1. If you have to store sharpened pencils point down, put a couple inches of rice in the bottom of your pencil cup, so as not to dull the tip.

    • I use a little piece of foam at the bottom of the pencil holder, so that the points don’t get damaged.

      I follow pretty much the same rules described here. Only addition is for the pencils I use for drawing and other artsy stuff: I keep those in a rolling pencil case/pouch, the ones that have elastic bands for each pencil.

  2. I usually have the best luck storing my porous point pens horizontally (Sharpie Pens, Le Pens, Microns, etc.). Whenever I’ve stored them point-down, I feel like the pigment comes out very heavily. Then I wonder if the end of the ink will be faint, with less pigment. I’ve only had one [Oriental Blue] Le Pen dry out this way, and I think it was 4 years old anyway. 🙂

    Some ballpoints seem to hate being stored point-down: Bic 4-colors, Bic Cristal Bold, Ink Joy (though they’re messy no matter what, save the 100). Regular Bic Cristals seem to like being stored point-down though.

    This is SO much to think about, which is a point in the Pencil Column for store-em-how-you-wanna. 🙂

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