Paper Source Subscription Box Review – Fall 2020
Paper Source has a quarterly lifestyle box that includes some of their favorite items from popular brands like Rifle Paper Co., ban.do, Paddywax, and Lilly Pulitzer and runs $49.95 per season (with free shipping). Expect candles, stationery, and items for your home or office that coincide with each season. By the way, our readers voted this box as one of the Best Stationery Subscriptions of 2020!
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About this Colorful Home and Lifestyle Box
The Subscription Box: Paper Source Subscription Box
The Cost: $49.95/quarter (A minimum one-year commitment paid in quarterly installments)
The Products: A mix of 10+ stationery and lifestyle items from Paper Source as well as popular home and lifestyle brands.
Ships to: The contiguous U.S. addresses only for free
Paper Source Fall 2020 Review
Updated 8/4/20 to add swatches of marker set.
This is my first time reviewing the quarterly Paper Source box and man am I happy to be here. I am a for real-for real stationery enthusiast. Whereas my notebook hoarding tendencies have me quietly obsessing over my stash of unbroken bindings and blank pages for months (or years!) before I can well up the courage to write in one, my obsession with pens, greeting cards, and sticky notes manifests in a much healthier outcome: I actually use them! All the time! My friends get mail from me often, and it is my joy to send little notes through the post.
So, here I am gleefully reviewing the Fall 2020 Paper Source box, pleased that it came a bit earlier than I was expecting. Marne has mentioned in past Paper Source reviews that the info card included in each PS delivery tends to show inflated prices. I’m not surprised to hear this, as a quick gander at the price list shows values that all end in “.95” which smells like a round-up to me. Below, you’ll see I’ve provided a link to each item I could find online and noted a more accurate price.
Well-Kept Fitness Cleaning Towelettes, 26 count — Retail Value $12
I’m loving this take on the cleansing towelettes I often see in subscription boxes throughout the summer. Typically it’s face wipes with this trendy ingredient or that to differentiate it from the others. Don’t get me wrong, I find those types of things useful, it can just sometimes feel like everyone had the same idea—but these wipes are meant for exercise equipment or yoga mats, which is clever for this time when people are doing more home workouts. These wipes are vegan, cruelty-free, paraben- and sulfate-free, biodegradable, and made in the USA—yay to all of the above! They’re infused with eucalyptus and mint oils for their antibacterial properties, and, of course, smell very nice.
Soap & Paper Company Jasmine Petite Soap Bar, 3 oz – Retail Value $5
This little bar of soap is listed as costing $9.95 on the Paper Source info card, which I read and thought, “Wow, this must be a life-changing bar of soap!” In reality it costs $5, and even that seems like boutique pricing to me. It’s a nice bar of soap, sure, made in the USA without parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, or animal testing. But even with its “notes of jasmine absolute, citrus, & tuberose,” it smells like a classic bar of shea butter soap. And it’s relatively small, more like a bar of hand soap that you’d place at your sink than something you’d keep in your shower, I think.
Maggie Holmes Heritage Boxed Cards — Retail Value $13
I’m freaking out! Guys, there are 40 greeting cards in this box! With 10 different designs! And they’re all so cute and so varied! Okay, can we talk about something? You know how sometimes you go out and buy a box of greeting cards, and maybe there are 12 or 18 cards in there, with 1-2 different designs. This is great and you send some to your friends to say hey, or to thank them for being lovely, or perhaps you pass one off as a birthday card. But then, realistically, there are only so many people in your life who you’re actually mailing notes to regularly, and you want to keep it interesting for them because that’s half the fun, so the last few cards in the pack end up lingering around for an eternity. Anyone else in this boat? They always end up being used eventually, and sometimes I even feel sentimental as I grab the last one to write in and send off. But what I’m trying to say here is I’m pretty giddy that not only did my first Paper Source box send me so gloriously many greeting cards to add to my collection, but also that there are only 4 repeats of each adorable design. This is good. I’m happy. I raise my can of sparkling water to this experience.
Detail Doodlers Felt-Tip Pens, 12 ct – Retail Value $10.21
Oh here we go again. I’m breathing into a metaphorical paper bag over these fine-tip markers. The nice case they come in! The triangular shape of the markers (so they don’t roll away)! The fun colors that represent the whole rainbow and more, and in sometimes unexpected ways! These are going to be awesome for envelope decorating.
Boxed Matches Set – Listed Value $4.95
These wooden stick matches are exactly the type I keep on hand to light candles around my house. Actually I had just run out and had it on my to-do list to stock back up, so these came with perfect timing. The tube container is really pleasant! I have these on my front porch, ready and waiting to light citronella candles the next time we sit out there in the evening.
Velvet Zipper Pouch – Listed Value $16.95
Oh, how funny—I actually have a scarf that looks so much like this pouch. It’s made from a light navy cotton, with coral tassels that match the tasseled zipper pull on this little bag perfectly. It was meant to be! I used to feel like I had so many zipper pouches that I didn’t know what to do with them. Then, in recent years, I realized they are the antidote to the reality that a physical mess follows me everywhere I go. I’ve since organized many-a-purse and our diaper bag with things like this. The navy one here (which is more corduroy than “velvet,” by the way) is a good size for tampons, or a lip balm collection, or perhaps for a few folded books of stamps if you want to keep with the stationery theme.
This is cute! I love this type of thing for travel—I often think I don’t need to pack nail clippers or tweezers, then wish I had when I get to my destination. Nobody wants a nagging hangnail on vacation. I can’t tell the difference between the two emory boards, but perhaps since that’s the type of thing that does lose its grit after a certain number of uses, they’re just providing us with a backup.
Mary Square Silk Scrunchie – Retail Value $7.95
I’ve been watching the return of the scrunchie from the sidelines, wondering if and when I might enter in but not wanting to make a move. The reason being that I have very fine hair that tends to become eclipsed by big hair accessories. Typically when a trend I’ve been unsure about trying enters my life through the magic of a subscription box, I relish the opportunity, but in this case the blush pink color of this one felt a little cutesy for my style. Alas, it caught my little daughter’s eye and she immediately put it on her wrist just as we were setting off for a walk. Right around the time that she was sweatily ripping it off her arm and handing over to me was when I was in need of an emergency hair tie, and up my hair went in a messy scrunchie situation. I was impressed with the secure hold (I had previously thought of something like this as purely decorative) and realized the pink isn’t so bad after all. It worked out in the end!
Colorblock Journal – Listed Value $14.95
This is a nice pocket notebook with a faux-leather cover, an elastic band to hold it closed, and gold foiled lettering on the front. Pretty straightforward. It’s a nice size for tossing into a bag if you’re the type of person who likes to jot down physical notes now and then. I’ll add it to my notebook stash and wait for the right time to use it!
TOPS Malibu Single Sparkle Wish Sparkler – Retail Value $2
This sparkler came at the exact right time for me, which is to say, a couple of days before my birthday! While I’ve never been one for pomp and circumstance to celebrate my birthday, I appreciate some fun little touches, and had a nice low-key dinner with my family complete with a delicious homemade cake. I figure in the age of covid, nobody (even my “pod”) wants someone blowing all over the cake they’re about to eat, so this mini sparkler was a festive alternative. I blanked on taking a photo of it in action, but it did its sparkly show for the exact length of time that it took for my family to sing “Happy Birthday.” On another note, it’s listed as costing $9.95 on the Paper Source info card—what the what? The actual cost of $2 feels much more appropriate for this over-in-a-minute party supply.
Sensational Succulents Adult Coloring Book – Retail Value $11.59
I’ve always found adult coloring books to be such a nice idea, but haven’t spent much time with them. I really like that this one doubles as a journal. I think the dual uses of this book would make for such a nice travel pastime. I’ve been hard at work bringing my daughter’s Sesame Street coloring book to life alongside her, so my coloring skills are all brushed up and ready for the finer detail in this succulent one.
Mantra Mask Hemp CBD Collagen Sheet Mask – Retail Value $15
I admittedly had to giggle when I saw the name of this sheet mask: “Hemp CBD Collagen”—how many more buzz words can you fit in? Jokes aside, I have no issues with using hemp products and collagen, but after years of trying to conform to the sheet mask craze I finally admitted to myself that they simply don’t put me at ease. They sort of just make me feel drippy and stuck and stress me out. I think I’m in the minority here, and can think of several friends who will welcome this mask experience with open arms.
Sugarfina Italian Spritz Gummies – Retail Value $8.95 (currently on sale for $2.68)
I’m not typically a gummy person (chocolate, always!), but I do think Sugarfina has a way of coming up with interesting and delicious flavors, so I was happy to give these a try. My daughter and I ate about half the box and then I had to go hide them because the sweet citrusy flavor was pretty great for a hot summer day. Better than a gummy bear, in my opinion!
Paper Source Virtual Workshop Pass – Retail Value $25
I learned from reading Marne’s past PS reviews that the Paper Source subscription includes a voucher every quarter. This time around it’s a $25 voucher for one of their online workshops, which include things like hand-lettering classes, watercolor lessons, and the one I think I’ll take, which is learning paper quilling. I’ve always been fascinated by this craft! The workshops all cost $25 so this voucher will cover the total cost.
Verdict: My first Paper Source subscription has me doing a celebratory jig over here! What a thrill of a lifestyle box to receive and explore. While I was sent the Fall box on the early end of their shipping window, meaning I received it while it still feels like summer, I thought the contents were versatile enough that they didn’t seem off-season. My favorite items were for sure the stationery-themed ones (the box of cards and the doodle pens), but the rest of the assortment was enjoyable, as well, highlights being the matches, the manicure kit, and the birthday cake sparkler. I received a total of 13 items plus a $25 voucher for an online class, which all together add up to a retail value of $158.78. I calculated this value based on a combination of actual retail values found online (using the sale prices for the manicure kit & Sugarfina gummies) and, for items I couldn’t find online, listed values provided by PS. This total is not as impressive as the promised value of $197.35 (found by adding up all the list values on the PS info card), but it’s still a great deal for the spread of useful and adorable products sent in this $49.95 box. I’m happy with the value and the curation. I really look forward to next quarter’s box!
If you’re interested in more great lifestyle subscriptions, check out our list of the 19 best subscription boxes for women in 2020!
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes! As of the publication of this review, the Fall box is still available.
Value Breakdown: At $49.95 for this box, you are paying approximately $3.84 for each of the 13 items. Or, $3.57 per item if you include the voucher.
Check out our other Paper Source subscription box reviews right here.
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Do you like what came in the Fall Paper Source subscription box as much as I did?