Saturday, June 30, 2012

Organizing office supplies

One trouble that my clients tend to have when they try to start getting organized is that they have difficulty finding the very supplies they need for organizing!  For instance, when we are about to work on their papers, I ask them if they have file folders, and they know they have some somewhere, but they don’t remember where they put them.  I ask them if they have a stapler when we need to staple some papers together, and they don’t know where the stapler is.   So a ten-minute hunt ensues.  And if the staples run out, then comes another hunt trying to find where the box of extra staples is.  Finding a pen is a struggle.  Finding where their sticky notes are is a struggle.  They might remember where their stamps are, but they can’t find them because they are buried under papers and other things.   Envelopes? No idea.  When it takes ten minutes to find the paper clips, anyone would rather go buy a new box rather than spend so much time searching for them!

What is the problem here?  The problem is that there is no one place they can go to find ALL their office supplies.   The solution is to gather all office supplies together into one place and keep them together.   This is the consolidation process.  It’s like making your own tiny office supply store. 

Here’s what office supplies I have:

Mechanical pencils, lead for mechanical pencils
Wooden pencils, pencil sharpener

paper fastening
Double-sided tape (I use this more than I ever thought I would)
Stapler, box of extra staples, staple remover
Paper clips
Binder clips  (less used)
Thumb tacks (which I hardly use, since I don't have a bulletin board)

Paper cutting
3-hole paper punch
rotary cutter (incredibly useful and fast!)
rotary cutting board

blank cards that can be sent as thank you notes
printable mailing labels (hardly used)

printer paper
notebook paper
sticky notes
graph paper (my husband is an engineer and I took engineering classes as well)
letterhead paper (hardly used)

paper organization
manila folders
hanging file folders
two-pocket folders
binder page dividers

Paper saving
laminating plastic
plastic page protectors

business cards
box of checks

graphing calculator (from school)

Art supplies (not required for office..)
Paint palate
Colored pencils
Stamp markers
Pastel color sticks (hardly used)
Spray clear coat

The above list is what I have.  Please don’t take it as a list of supplies that you must have because you may not need everything I have listed.  You also might need additional things that I have not listed.  The point is that if the supplies are all gathered together, then you will most likely find what you need more quickly for just about any office task.

So, how do you consolidate your office supplies?  Well, you have to find them, so go seek them out.  They might be in little stashes about the house, so go to all your secret stashes of office supplies and put them together in a box.  Sometimes you might think you’ve got them all and then you’ll run into another little pile of them somewhere else that you forgot about.  Put those in the box too. 

It might be tempting to go out and buy containers to organize your office supplies at the very beginning of your search.  I would recommend waiting until you’re reasonably sure that you found just about everything because you’ll want to get containers that match as nearly as possible the amount of supply you have.  It would not be fun to get a container that perfectly holds your markers and later find.. three more stashes of markers.   (I know this happens!)

Consolidating all your office supplies will make every office task you do much faster.  You’ll be able to staple, mail, file, label, tape, tack, write, and more with blinding speed, and dealing with paper will be easier and faster too!  Further, you'll save money since you won't have to buy more of the supplies you know you have but can't find!

In my next post, I will talk about sorting, testing, and storing your office supplies.

Do you need extra help with organizing and de-cluttering? Hire me! Go to for more information about my services! Did this article help you? Be sure to share it with your friends!

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