Category Archives: Office Supplies

Office Supply Moment: Writersblok notebooks

This Office Supply Moment is dedicated to my friend Deborah, a fellow Office Supply Addict. I am indebted to her for her Office Supply wisdom.

I found these little notebooks in Posman Books at Chelsea Market during my NYC visit. I love them because:

* They are slim and lightweight. They easily fit into a purse, inside jacket, or jeans pocket, and have a reasonable number of pages. The smallest is 5.5″ by 3.5″ and the largest are 10″ by 7.5″.

* They are extremely afforable (my 3-pack of the medium graphed pages cost $7).

* They are nicely crafted, with a stitched binding and a handy little pocket in the back and yet they’re designed to be used. Unlike some notebooks, which are pricer and more Highly Crafted, they invite you to use them. Some notebooks say I AM MADE FOR GRAND THOUGHTS. These say, Hey, let’s hang out!

* 2% of sales from this line goes to literacy-related programs around the country. A little piece of paper slipped into my notebooks said that one place being supported is 826NYC “here in New York City,” a nonprofit that helps young people with writing skills.

* They come in several choices of page styles — lined, graphed, dotted or blank.

* Some are made from bamboo.

* They are supple and easily flatten when you’re writing in them.

Here’s a link: http://www.kikkerland.com/

And that is my Office Supply Moment.

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My dream job

I want to work for The Daily Grommet and be the office supply specialist. How do I get an interview? Are there benefits?

(I also want to buy these products.)

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My office supply obsession: A Father’s Day tribute

A basement workbench

Talk to a realtor, a housing inspector, or a basement contractor in this city and they’ll tell you they’ve seen a lot of work benches. They are typically in a basement, they are typically homemade, and they are common in pre-garage housing stock. If you happened to grow up in a house with a basement work bench, chances are your Dad (or maybe your Grandpa) spent a lot of time down there, especially during the long Wisconsin winter. It was the Dad equivalent of the kitchen — where he could order his tools and master his tasks.

There was no homemade work bench the houses where I grew up. My Dad had a homemade desk instead. In place of nails organized by size, there was an orderly array of typewriter ribbon, paper, envelopes, stamps, staples, and writing utensils. There was a manual pencil sharpener. An old Underwood typewriter. A soft pink eraser.

I wish we still had that old typewriter. It was pretty much like this one.

In the two homes my parents have occupied since that one, there have been different iterations of Dad’s work space. In our second home, a door propped on, I think, sawhorses created an enviably spacious work surface. He’d spend hours down there. About 10 years ago mom and dad moved to a condo in an over-50 community and found themselves without a basement. Dad upgraded to an upstairs office. I took this as a major event and kept wondering how it might change the dynamics in the household.

Dad took typing classes in high school (apparently he had enlightened teachers), and once remarked he was sorry he owned up to this when, as a G.I. in the Army Air Force, they stuck him with office tasks now and then. He learned the insurance business on the G.I. bill, and I still have memories of him walking out of the house with a hat and a briefcase; office work seemed to require a nice wardrobe — another plus. Sometimes, I’d be caught short on a homework project or a gift-wrap task, and Dad could always produce two-sided tape or a ruler sharp enough to rip paper with a clean edge or some clever problem-solving device. At Christmas, my siblings and I would find rolls of Scotch tape in our stockings along with, say, socks and candy bars.

Why do I bring all this up?

It seems right to acknowledge on Father’s Day the role Dad’s basement office played for me. At an early age, I romanticized the trappings of office life. This seems to go hand in hand with the way I idolized Marlo Thomas as a zesty single career girl in “That Girl”. The times were right for this, I suppose — it being the early days of feminism . The kitchen held less appeal for me than a shiny desk top (analog). Success, to me, was having my own typewriter like Dad’s, and my own apartment like Marlo’s. I believed the two were inextricably connected.

Many — many — years later, I haven’t shaken it. The trappings have changed (no more manual Underwoods) but I still feel most at home at a desk. It’s where thoughts take form, boxes get checked, a certain amount of progress can be achieved in a way not so true anywhere else. I can feel capable at my desk. Or at least capable of getting there.

My Dad retired just two years ago.  He’s spending even more time in his cushy upstairs office now. He uses a PC. The most dramatic difference I’ve noticed is that it is more cluttered (in an orderly way) with mementoes. Mugs, photos, cards. About when he acquired his 25th mug Mom negotiated a deal: He’d do all the dusting.

Thanks, Dad. You and Mom were a great team. She didn’t force me into the kitchen, you didn’t force me into the office. I came to it naturally — I think a love of freshly sharpened pencils is in my DNA, inherited from you. Happy Father’s Day. Next time we visit, let’s go to Office Depot. My treat.

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Office supply geekout: Bookmarks

This is brilliant. Grass-blade book markers by a company called Yuruliki Design. At first I asked myself: Would a person mark that many pages? But then I think of all the passages I circled in “The Sand County Almanac” and the blades become a way of marking favorite moments. Nice.

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I heart office supplies

I would rather browse through an Office Depot than a jewelry store or a chocolate shop. It’s true and I am proud of it. Some might think I save a lot of money and calories this way, and that’s probably right, but let me tell you an Office Supply Habit can put a dent in a girl’s budget and exercise routine.

But I digress.

I plan to spend more time writing about Office Supplies in this blog, but first I want to share my top 10 list of Office Supply Cravings.

Aren't they beautiful? (Faber-Castell photo)

1. A recently sharpened pencil with a fresh eraser. Not the mechanical kind.

2. Good-quality binders in interesting colors and designs. Must have pockets.

3. Desk organizers, subset: file holders. Molded plastic does not count.

4. Desk organizers, subset: things with drawers. Molded plastic might be acceptable.

5. A Sharpie. Color and size of point varies by mood and necessity.

6. A Pica Pole, a.k.a. Line Gauge. (Once upon a time I would have included a Proportion Wheel, and if you know what I’m talking about you probably know why.)

7. Anything you can tack a note, photo or reminder to. Bulletin boards included.

8. Boutique file folders, the shamelessly impractical expensive kind printed with beautiful patterns and colors.

9. Binder inserts that zip or snap for additional storage.

10. A tie between Post-It Notes and Boxes that somehow do exactly what you need them to in exactly the space you need them to fit into. The box thing is a bad craving to have, because you can never really stop searching. Or needing.

Binders by Outblush.

In upcoming posts I will explore my Top 10.5 in more depth, post some Office Supply Porn (you’ll love the new green organizer collection I found!), examine the deep-rooted needs underlying my obsession, and more.

Meanwhile, if anyone’s reading …

What’s in your Top Ten?

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