As a former teacher, I know the true beauty of freshly sharpened pencils. And that glorious moment when the first school supply sales of the summer show up - a package of notebook paper for only 5 cents? Holy cow! I also know that look on my husband's face when I ask him to stand in a different checkout line (so we can both by the maximum amount of items per sale allowed) because I need 20 pencil boxes and 10 just isn't enough.
My excuse was that I was trying to get enough supplies for my classroom to last the year on a teeny, tiny budget. I shopped the sales, found free and donated items, and even put the word out around school that I would take whatever anyone was tossing out. I wasn't one of those coupon people on TV, but if there was an art supply sickness, oh I had it bad. The reason it was acceptable was that I used up every single thing I got on my students. I'd actually run out before the school year was over and would have to start replenishing my stock again. So where did I run into trouble?
The year I quit teaching and started organizing professionally, I hit those sales again just like I always did. Only this time, I wasn't shopping for 1,100 kids, and I forgot that. Big mistake. Big. Huge. The cheap binders, inexpensive crayons, and downright adorable erasers were no longer necessary, yet they called to me that year. I cracked under the pressure. I couldn't help myself. Have you ever been there?
My home, being an organized person, really is quite pared down. But I forgot one of the important rules in organizing about life events. When a major life event occurs - a new baby, a new house, a new job, a divorce - people don't seem to realize until it's too late that a good deal of their habits need to change. Continuing on doing the same thing you've always been doing while leading a new life is just not going to work.
We get a lot of calls from people a few months or even a year after a major event. They start to see that their current systems are not equipped to handle whatever curve ball life has thrown at them. They need a fresh set of eyes to help them jump on the right path and get going again. We love doing that, just absolutely love it. There is nothing better than making a change in someone's life for the better and seeing that sigh of relief and a smile. Gets me all gooey inside.
The good part about my issue with office supplies is that I knew right away, well, a few days too late, that I had to change my current way of thinking and shopping. If you are looking around your office right now thinking that you have too much, well, then maybe you do. If you have a filled desk, a filled closet, and then a backup storage area, then it's probably too much. If you have enough pencils to get your toddler through college, then yeah, it's too much. Do you really want to hold on to those 1 cent pencils for 15+ years or can you utilize that space for something better? We have a few suggestions to solve the office supply overabundance problem simply by repurposing:
Brand new pencils and erasers can be given along with candy in Halloween bags.
Crayons can be used for a crayon melting art project (thank you Pinterest).
Extra binders can store all of those recipes and magazine articles begging to be organized.
Pencil boxes can hold craft supplies, small toys, or loose nails & screws in the garage.
The easiest idea? Donate it all to a school and I promise you they will love you for it.
My current apartment is not equipped with the storage space for anything bought in bulk and that's a lesson that I've learned again here as well. I can't shop at Sam's Club for toilet paper no matter what the price is, but I'm learning to live with that. Can you live without your extra office supplies? I think YES! If not, give me a call and we'll talk binder clips and where you can use them outside your office. Hint: everywhere!