Writing the Wrongs: De-Cluttering Pens & Pencils

June 7, 2012
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A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post entitled “Too Much of a Good Thing: Supply Smackdown Edition.” It’s about the incredibly common tendency people have to hoard supplies like boxes, baskets, and bags (and if you haven’t checked it out yet, you really should).

Afterwards, I received the sweetest message from one of my dear readers in Florida telling me how she had promptly purged her home of countless grocery bags and cardboard boxes. Her closing line went something like “I can’t wait to read what you tell me to do next.” Well, Miss Betty, my flower, this one’s for you:

Right up there with the ever-growing collection of containers in people’s homes is the ever-decaying medley of writing utensils.

I can comfortably make the claim that I have unearthed-or found out in plain sight- a pen and pencil graveyard in every one of the homes I have had the opportunity to enter.

You’re smiling as you read this, aren’t you? Thinking of your own cute little canister stuffed full of an amalgamation of pens and pencils you’ve been accumulating since the seventh grade. Oh, and that one pen you got in a goody bag at little Sarah’s birthday party with the fluffy feather top that you’ve never actually used to scribe a single letter.

When you need to write something down, you probably have to try at least 3-5 different ink repositories before you find one that actually has ink.

I haven’t been able to solidify why pens and pencils are so clutter-prone, suffice it to say that they are.

I’m going to give you two options for remedying this situation. One is a bit more wasteful than the other, but I don’t care. And if your pens have been laying in that drawer for two decades, neither should you.

Option 1

You will need:

– A blank piece of paper

– A garbage can

– 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of your stash

Now:

– Sit down

– Test each pen or pencil, one by one, by making a little scribble on your paper

– Throw out any that aren’t functional or that you just don’t like

– Keep the ones that pass the scribble test

– Wipe your pen/pencil holder clean

– Replace functioning pens and pencils in your holder of choice

– Ahh, take a moment to gaze at your uncluttered collection

Option 2

You will need:

– A trash bag

– 30 seconds

Procedure:

– Take drawer/jar holding your pens and pencils

– Hold upside down over trash bag

– Wipe out container

– Go out and buy a new pack of pens/pencils

Note on new pack purchase:

You do NOT need to buy a JUMBO size pack with 250 black bic pens. In fact, I recommend buying a very small pack of around 4-6. Do some pen-vestigating. Find the pen and pencil brand and style that you like best; do you prefer ball point or felt tip? Rubber grip or slippery plastic? ETC. Keep only those few pens and pencils in your rotation. Look after them. Put them back when you’re done writing. USE THEM UP. Then and only then should you add to your stash.

Image credits: Hannah Blackmore, MokkasinMade by GirlDesigned By KoreaVeranda, EvaJuliet, The Carbon Crusader

8 Comments

  1. Tidy-Up Gal (@TidyUpGal) on June 7, 2012 at 9:57 am

    You’re killing me. I collect pens, and not for art, but because I just…like them. Tons of them. Pencils too. You’re really killing me. Sigh.

    • Annie on June 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm

      haha, well if you COLLECT them then perhaps this doesn’t really pertain to you so much. Even so, perhaps think about going through and weeding out the ones you don’t really love and adore.

  2. Dawn {The Alternative Wife} on June 7, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I’m laughing because of course I have my own collection of pens and pencils. Most of which have seen their heyday and now it’s time for tossing. Inspiring and motivating as always!

    Have a great weekend, Annie! 🙂 xoxo

  3. Casie Mace on June 7, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    OMG so funny!!! And so true. Why do I insist on keeping so many questionable writing utensils around? Even the ugly pens…. I dont use the ugly pens–so why do I keep them? I guess I feel bad for tossing out a “perfectly good” pen but if its adding clutter to my life… why? LOL.

    • Annie on June 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      100% why is right. No good reason. You have my permission to get rid of them!! 🙂

  4. Sarah G on January 30, 2014 at 5:22 am

    Hmmm… a local elementary school might be interested in some extra lightly used, sharpened pencils (some might need new erasers added first).

    • Annie on February 1, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      Well resuscitating worn pencil erasers doesn’t quite fall in line with the Live Simply philosophy–I don’t know many who have time to give priority to such a task–but donating writing tools that are in good shape to a local school definitely does. Thanks for adding that suggestion.

  5. […] 6. Ink-less pens & eraserless pencils. […]

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Annie Traurig was born with the ability to see order through clutter. As a child, she spent playdates organizing friends’ closets and packing their duffle bags for summer camp.

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8 Comments

  1. Tidy-Up Gal (@TidyUpGal) on June 7, 2012 at 9:57 am

    You’re killing me. I collect pens, and not for art, but because I just…like them. Tons of them. Pencils too. You’re really killing me. Sigh.

    • Annie on June 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm

      haha, well if you COLLECT them then perhaps this doesn’t really pertain to you so much. Even so, perhaps think about going through and weeding out the ones you don’t really love and adore.

  2. Dawn {The Alternative Wife} on June 7, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I’m laughing because of course I have my own collection of pens and pencils. Most of which have seen their heyday and now it’s time for tossing. Inspiring and motivating as always!

    Have a great weekend, Annie! 🙂 xoxo

  3. Casie Mace on June 7, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    OMG so funny!!! And so true. Why do I insist on keeping so many questionable writing utensils around? Even the ugly pens…. I dont use the ugly pens–so why do I keep them? I guess I feel bad for tossing out a “perfectly good” pen but if its adding clutter to my life… why? LOL.

    • Annie on June 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      100% why is right. No good reason. You have my permission to get rid of them!! 🙂

  4. Sarah G on January 30, 2014 at 5:22 am

    Hmmm… a local elementary school might be interested in some extra lightly used, sharpened pencils (some might need new erasers added first).

    • Annie on February 1, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      Well resuscitating worn pencil erasers doesn’t quite fall in line with the Live Simply philosophy–I don’t know many who have time to give priority to such a task–but donating writing tools that are in good shape to a local school definitely does. Thanks for adding that suggestion.

  5. […] 6. Ink-less pens & eraserless pencils. […]

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