The leaves are changing, we’ve all had a Pumpkin Spice Latte, or 12, and we’re cheering on our favorite football teams under the Friday night lights! But something about fall makes us gravitate to new school supplies. While we aren’t in school any more, we can’t resist the siren song of new folders, pens, and notebooks.
So here are our favorite office supplies we love to use while Making Shift Happen.
We’re sharing content around the theme of ten all year, as we promised you in our Anniversary Blog post.
Back in the day – i.e., The 80s and 90s when I was in school – I would get the most excited about getting a Trapper Keeper. I’ve been excited to see those make a mini resurgence in recent years (following the trend of every old is new again). Selecting which style of Trapper Keeper was of utmost importance, as it set a tone for the year. And, well, if you chose wrong, you just might be stuck with it until you could convince your parents to buy you a different one – as if. Oh, did you want to hear about my favorite pens, too? Easily the Bic 4 Color retractable pens. Need to write in blue? No problem. Want to switch to red? Just the flick of a button. Amazing. As you can see, I have a lot of strong feelings about childhood throwback school supplies. These days, just set me up with some Pilot G-2s (if my kids don’t steal them) and a stack of Post-It notes, and I am happy!
I use no “office supplies” these days. The last thing I probably had to keep in stock was my mouse and keyboard batteries; now, even those are powered or charged via USB cables. But that brings up the stuff that delivers the joy in my workspace: cable management. Having all the cables tied up and tucked away — especially in relatively simple ways to remove or adjust if needed — is core to anything I love about my desk setup. It’s simple and crude, but a collection of clips, twists, and Velcro bits protect me against headaches. I honestly love them more than any fancy things those cables connect.
My favorite office supply item is the very versatile binder clip. Of course, you can use them to clip together papers, even thick stacks of paper that a paperclip would fail at. But also… Seal up a bag of potato chips or other snacks. Clamp a large one to a table or desk and thread wires through it to organize them or keep a power cord from dropping out of reach. Clamp parchment paper to the side of a baking pan so you have a long bit of parchment to help pull the loaf out after baking. They have so many uses!
I always like to keep a trusty pen close by. Information sticks in my brain much better when I physically write it out on paper. I’m not very picky when it comes to what kind of pen, but a high-quality weighted one always feels nice to write with.
Organizers! I love every single item I use as storage on the desk at my home office. My numerous pens live in two containers shaped like a cactus and a sunflower. The books I reference and use frequently live in a five-section file sorter. My large collection of scratch paper and notecards live in a cute box with sides shaped like a fence. Most of these organizers add a splash of color and personality to my desk, which is fun. (Actually, the file sorter is covered in stickers, so they all add color and personality to the desk.) But more importantly, they all make it easy to find and grab what I need when I need it, making it easier for me to focus and work during my day.
As a writer, pens are essential, and I am very picky about them. I don’t like gel because it smears too easily. I love a fine tip point because I write fast and in cursive, and giving me less ink ensures that I can read what I’ve written when I return to it later. But my favorite pen is not a Mont Blanc or Cross (though I have one of those, probably floating in a drawer somewhere). My go-to is the Bic Cristal Ultra Fine in blue. They aren’t fancy, and they aren’t expensive. I can buy them in packs of 20; that way, I always have one near me, not just on my desk, but in the car, in my purse, and anywhere I need to get something on paper.
I’ve owned 2 Rotring 600 mechanical pencils. I take lots of notes by hand and organize my thoughts with notebooks, so having a good pencil is important to me. It’s simple but well-made and has a lot of clearance around the 0.7mm tip, making it reliable and sturdy if I’m not careful with it.
Of all the office supplies, sticky notes are my favorite by far. When it comes to staying organized, nothing beats them. They’re simple and sometimes colorful. I use them to jot down reminders, ideas, and, most importantly, to-do lists. I can stick them on my computer, desk, wall, notebook, wherever. Anytime I need them, they’re right there. For me, sticky notes are more than just sticky sheets of paper; they’re a way to keep my day on track.
It would be very difficult for me to make it through a workday without a sketchbook and pencil. I know lots of people opt to sketch and plan digitally these days, but this is one part of my workflow that stays pretty traditional. As for my favorite, I’ve purchased many sketchbooks over the years, and my tried-and-true is Moleskine’s classic soft-cover notebook with plain pages. As for the pencils, you can’t go wrong with a simple 0.7 mm BIC mechanical pencil. Fancy, I know.
I love to crack open a fresh notebook. Though I do a lot of writing digitally, I still take notes with pen and paper. So, I stock up whenever I see a sale on notebooks of any size with ruled (lined) paper. I don’t have a brand preference. I’ll try anything. Most of the notebooks I have on hand at the moment were procured at events. A notebook is a great swag giveaway for brand awareness, in my opinion. A branded notebook sits quietly in view on someone’s desk and is used often over the course of several months.
Give us a reason to break out our supplies.
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