Ahhh, shiny, new school and office supplies.
Do you find that aisle or display at the store particularly enticing? I do. All those differently colored pens, markers, neatly packaged pencils, and rows of empty notebooks seem to be full of possibilities. Considering these items are usually on sale around back to school time, they can be tempting pieces to “stock up” on for future use.
I was shopping last week, replenishing some essentials for the house. I just couldn’t help but notice these items as I was walked by, with a big “CLEARANCE” sign over them. It’s October - the back-to-school transition has now passed and the bulk of this stuff has to move to make space for the next season’s offerings.
I stood there and took a good look at everything. And then I snapped out of it, “you already have what you need.”
You might have several notebooks hanging around with something written on a few pages, and you keep them around “for when they’re needed.” I used to - they took up a lot of space on my bookshelf, and the collection seemed to keep growing.
Consider this: it can take months, or over a year to completely use up a notebook with consistent use - if you aren’t a student. The same goes for pens, pencils, and markers. A quick internet search told me that the average ball point pen gets you about 1 kilometer of writing. That’s almost 3/4 of a mile. If you’ve got hundreds of pens hanging around the house, consider that the ink might even dry out before you can get to them all, rendering the pens unusable.
Now I have one notebook. Along with a few pens and pencils that are my absolute favorites. Some markers go into my organizing tool kit for labeling. The rest have been donated.
I use the notebook to jot down quick lists, take notes in a meeting or during a call, and brainstorm ideas. And then I immediately take action on what’s written down: complete the tasks, transfer the notes to digital if needed, and get rid of the page. No more extra noise.
If you keep a paper journal, of course just having one going at a time keeps entries in chronological order. When it’s full, getting to pick out a new one feels special.
Here’s the bottom line: If school and office supplies are always available, and we’re using digital formats more and more to store our information, then we simply don’t need to have that many backups hanging around. Getting this stuff on an “as needed” basis helps keep the clutter at bay and saves the hassle of searching for a pen that actually works.
What do you use notebooks for? Are you inspired to pare down? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!