Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bonus Day: 7 Day Simplicity Challenge

Writing Utensils driving you nuts? Every time you reach for a pen is it out of ink? Are all your pencils unsharpened? You can't find a highlighter or permeant marker with enough juice in it? Well, then this post is for you!

When my sister and I used to be in school (by school I mean high school and below) we used to have a mountain of writing utensils. I'm not kidding. Our desk drawers, closets, bookshelves, bags were full of writing utensils! It was pretty insane. Every time there was a back-to-school sale we would stock up on pens, pencils, erasers, markers, crayons, etc. The sad part was, we had so much at home and we didn't even know it! We wasted a lot of time and money because pens and pencils were stuffed into every open crevice. All the writing tools that we had accumulated over the years eventually had to go because, when we went off to college, we no longer needed as many writing utensils- just some pens and pencils with erasers for math (to be honest, I never used pencils for math...I always picked pens). Most of what we had, and what was working we gave away to our cousins (they were and still are of school age). We now live a more simpler life, in terms of writing tools, and I can tell you, IT'S AWESOME! Let's see what you can do to declutter:

You need to go thought your entire house- attic, basement, every drawer and cupboard- and take out all your writing tools. I mean everything! I would even include rules, protractors, compasses, erasers, scissors, etc. Bring them all out and lay them on the floor.

Ok, this is where it gets dirty. Grab your kids, your partner, whoever you can find, scraps of papers, and 3 bags. The scraps will be for testing if your writing tools work, the extra person(s) will be your help, and the three bags will help you sift through your stuff. Each bag will be a category, all very self-explanatory: Keep, Throw, Give Away.

I want you to first test each pen, pencils, marker, etc. If it DOESN'T work or has a dangerous flaw( e.g. chipped plastic that might cut your hand) put it in the Throw bag. Whatever you are left with probably still works. If you have markers, crayons, or other writing utensils that still work but no longer suit your needs consider giving them away to someone that you know will use them. If you don't know anyone, there are tons of places that take these kinds of items. Your local community center might have an arts and crafts class and would appreciate the donated supplies. Think where the supplies might be needed and call and ask if you can bring over your things. You should also take this time to get rid of duplicates in your pile, specifically non-writing utensils. There is no need to have 7 rulers and 4 compasses. What's the point. Give them away, they just create more clutter. Now this specific rule might not apply to my viewers who have children. I understand that multiples of things are needed, then by all means keep them but be sensible about it. If you have 3 kids, you probably shouldn't have 14 scissors, 4 or 5 is enough.

Now you've throw away a lot of broken items and donated a host of things that no longer fit your needs. The next step is all about organizing what you have left. There is no one way to organize because everyone has different things. People with kids or people that many writing utensils, such as artists, will need more complicated systems. I personally LOVE the idea of using shower caddies for writing supplies. Just group like items together. This is a great idea for kids because it involves them in the cleaning up process since it's so simple for them to reorganize. Even adults can use this!

If you are someone with a few writing tools left after your purge, then consider purchasing a basket or drawer insert that will house your items, such as the one below:
My family has a basket where we keep all of our writing related supplies. Staples, staplers, scissors, rulers, calculators, etc all go into the basket. Similar writing utensils are tied with rubber bands and placed inside a plastic snap pen case, which is then nestled into the basket. We only keep a few pens and pencils out in the open, the extras stay in the pen case. The items that were missing caps or were close to finishing are the ones that are out so that we use them up and then start with a fresh batch. We have pens at necessary stations- mail station, on notepad near the phone, and in a cloth pen case in our desk drawer (I use those for when I read, write thoughts down, make lists, etc). That's it. We don't have any pens floating around anywhere else.

Try purging your writing utensils collection. You'd be surprised at how much you had and how little you actually need. Send in your success stories!!!

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