Day 17 – Office Supplies | 31 Days of Decluttering

Hello friends! 

Today's mission is to declutter your stationery and keep your desk drawers clutter-free in the future! As a professional pen hoarder myself, I know the struggle of keeping the balance between minimal and functional all too well. It has been a challenge for me to resist taking home any pens and notepads you often get at conferences ("But they are free!"), and instead think of them as more clutter taking up space in my home!

Set your timer, gather your stationery supplies, and let's get rid of all the unnecessary stuff that is collecting dust our home office!

The Goal

  • organized office supplies
  • functional favourites! 
  • keeping your basics handy
  • more efficient office work
  • no more hoarding pens / sticky notes / writing paper

Guiding Questions

Are my desk drawers overflowing?
Which office supplies do I use regularly?
Which items to I really enjoy to use? 
Do I have several duplicates of anything?
What do I absolutely need for my work?
Do I hold on to any freebies I don't use?
Am I  using up the pens I already have before buying new ones?
Do I know where everything is?

Working Steps

1. Declutter

Empty out your entire stationery storage, including:

pens & pencils
paper scissors 
paper clips
rubber bands
post it notes
hole puncher
pencil sharpener
glue sticks
ink cartridges 
sheets of paper
calendar / planner
to do list
In/Out box for paperwork

Wipe the empty surfaces.

2. Go through your guiding questions

Are all of your pens still working? Which are your favourites? Are you collecting highlighters, sticky notes etc and keep thinking they'll be useful "in the future"? Any freebies you kept for the sole reason that they were for free? Can you say good-bye to those junky odds and ends?

3. Assess and organize

Divide everything into your keep and don't keep piles. 

Keep anything you use on a regular basis, and/or that you love to use. Let go of anything you don't use, don't like, don't need any more, that no longer works, or is broken.

In terms of duplicates, winnow it down to a reasonable amount that you will use within a year, or less.

4. Return

Put back the stationery you decided to keep. 

Use desk drawer trays (or even cutlery trays or ice cube trays) to store and organize your smaller utensils such as paper clips, binder clips, rubber bands, thumb tacks etc.

Keep your most frequently used items readily accessible, e.g. on your desk. I suggest using repurposed mugs, or mason jars, or even empty food tins to hold a set of pens, scissors, markers, ruler etc.

Use a stepped desktop organizer with slots for incoming mail, important papers, unfinished homework etc. 

Consider using a common word processing software such as OpenOffice or Microsoft Word, or an app like Evernote or OneNote instead of paper notebooks to scribble your thoughts on.

5. Donate / Discard

Donate any intact office supplies to a school or charity. Pens are also great to donate to a post office, a library, a doctors office or any other place you have filled out forms (check ink before donating).

Recycle misprinted pages to use as (one-sided) notpads, or for your grocery list or daily to do list. As I already mentioned, you can also use old pens as starter stakes in the garden.

Toss / shred anything that can't be repurposed or donated, but you no longer need or want.

6. Celebrate

High five! You mastered today's mission! Now lean back and enjoy the rest of your day. Maybe write a letter to a dear friend or family member, or response to one letter from your inbox... See ya tomorrow! :)