Sunday, October 07, 2007

Binder clippin' it to the MAN!

It is funny the things that you miss when you walk away from a traditional office environment to stay home or work from home. I realized something significant about myself today while trying to clean through the mish-mash of work paperwork, scrapbooking stuff and random kids toys that get deposited on my office desk weekly...

I really have a thing for office supplies...

It's true. While the local office supply store employees manage to tick me off almost as much as a trip to Walmart would, I still get a little giddy walking down the aisles and aisles of paper clips, post-its, and personal organizers.

While I think my supply fetish was probably formed through my early years of going school supply shopping, I am fairly certain of when I first was fully able to embrace office accessories. Years ago, when I worked for very low pay fresh out of college, I fell in love with the office supply closet. That love affair continued for the next decade of working in a typical office environment.

When you make almost half of what your peers in the industry with similar experience and skills do, you have to have something to feel good about. Aside from the great friends I made, I loved me some office supplies. I would find reasons to collect them, actually. I guess it was my own little way of "stickin' it to the man."

Every color of highlighter you can imagine--well sure! I need that! So, I devised complex systems of highlighting reviewed documents creating a legend of highlight codes at the front of each manual on which I worked.

Tape flags coordinating with those highlighter colors? Oh, those were very necessary. It saved the developers and myself valuable time when we could just flip to the blue colored flag to review the blue highlighted changes in the documentation.

Everyone must have screen cleaner, whiteboard accessories, and lots of pens. That's as important as the air we breathe, really.

Post-its were also in plenitude. Technical writers are known for their post-it addictions. In fact, a dear chap I used to work with had quite an impressively anal system of writing his to-do tasks on systems of post-its. (If you read this, you know I kid!)

Now, I am not saying I was wasteful with my supplies, mind you. I worked with people with whom I scoffed behind their backs for their lack of appreciation of binder clips. Do you know just how many sizes of binder clips you can get? I do, my friends. And I am proud to say I've found uses for every one of them, thank you!

I recently walked through my favorite ridiculously over-priced store in the world, The Container Store, and I found myself gazing wantingly at this. $36 for a little stand with a drawer for my monitor? There is NO WAY I could justify this what-so-ever. But, oh, how I could use it! Even the argument of ergo dynamics I knew would not fly with my husband or even in my own mind for that matter.

If I worked in an office, just a week over killing myself with long hours and a few backflips and butt-kisses of the boss, might have given me the clarity to justify that kind of a purchase. Or, I'd have the kind of money that a full-time salary would bring that I wouldn't even bat an eye at that price. But, it doesn't work that way when you've stayed home for 8+ years and you're only working part-time.

And, yet, I stood there transfixed. Imagining my post-its, highlighters, and IPod perched delicately in the mini-drawer and my monitor beaming at me in the perfect viewing position. My husband scored major brownie points with me on my birthday this past summer with a gift card for this store, and I promptly bought shoe dividers. If only I'd thought about it, I could have made away with that stand. Darn those shoes!

The other day, I ventured into the office supply store for some products for a church ministry I'm coordinating. While I was just running in for a few things, I got stalled in several aisles. The thing about office supplies that is really so wonderful is that they are always changing. Next week, someone will invent a new stapler that is ten times better than the last and make a fortune on it. It's genius, really!

I reached for a colorful pack of post-its to take home when I looked at the price. $9.99 for post-its? Are you f-ing serious? Now, what kind of an IDIOT would buy....ah, well, nevermind...

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Blogger Sitting said...

I am your sister in supply addiction. I have to stay far far away from Staples, as things seem to jump randomly into my basket before I get to the ONE thing I went in for.

8:42 AM, October 08, 2007  
Anonymous Angela said...

That monitor drawer IS pretty cool! I'm also a fan of the office supply closet, but I think it really extends beyond that to anything organizational. I adore The Container Store, Stacks and Stacks, really pretty much anything that has awesome boxes with very specific uses!

3:44 PM, October 08, 2007  
Blogger Aunt Vanessa said...

Oh, me TOO! I could stay in Office Depot for hours, and I positively squeal when we get our new Staples catalog at work.

4:20 PM, October 08, 2007  
Blogger Babs said...

Do you read Zoot? She's also massively addicted to office supplies. (and you reminded me of how I'm dying for new pens, which aren't as easy to come by when you're self-employed!)

8:36 AM, October 09, 2007  

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