Update, FYI

Turns out the Magic Eraser isn’t so hot on grout.


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My Wish List

There’s something new on my wish list.

At my office, we have a very functional (well, mostly functional) old school paper cutter.  You know, the kind that every elementary school had in the back of the office in the 1970s, usually green or “natural” with a heavy blade on the side, and room for small fingers to get snipped if you’re not careful.  The blade makes that unique slicing sound as it goes down through the paper, and the firmness with which you hold the handle – and the paper – affects how clean your cut is.

But sometimes, no matter how careful you are, no matter how practiced your technique is, the paper slips and your cut is no longer straight, but the slant is so small when you try to fix it the paper just folds instead of cuts.

(So I’m told.)

Today I was looking for something completely different in the supply catalog, and I saw a photo that, I swear, had light shining from it – kind of a glow, a “look at me, I can solve every problem you ever had and some you didn’t know about yet”  aura, and I was sucked in. 

I want this paper cutter.  This Rotary LED Trimmer.  When I first read the name, I read it as “rotary-led” like the rotary blade leads the cut.  Which was way cool to contemplate.  Especially when you see how the cutting edge can swing around, letting you cut at an angle (and I am guessing there are actual angle measurements on there, taking the guess-work out of cutting.) But the truth is bigger than that.

It’s actually LED.  Light-Emitting Diode.  And I quote: 

LED illuminating rail for accurate sheet alignment.

Wow.  What does this mean?  A glowing plumb-line of sorts, to guide your cut? To let you see just where the blade is going to hit? A landing-strip light pathway to guide you?  I don’t care, any of the above would be wonderous, I am in.

Then I glanced at the price tag, and sadly (thanks to living in the nonprofit world), it’s quite unlikely that I will be purchasing this luxurious item any time soon.  But, you never know.  Perhaps a donor will come in one day and say to me “I am making a donation and I want you to use it for something that will not only make your job easier, but also give you chills and thrills when you use it.”  And hand me a $100 bill.  And I will be so ready to buy a paper-trimmer-to-beat-all-paper-trimmers.

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Mother’s Day in Office Supplies?

When you first think about it, buying a mother’s day gift from an office supply company sounds kind of odd.  Like giving a blender or vacuum cleaner or gift certificate for car washes.

Though, to many women, those might be very welcome gifts.

But traditionally, mother’s day gifts are more personal, more focused on feeling/looking/smelling pretty, and none of those things typically come to mind when thinking staples, tape, copy paper or scissors.

Not to say that they couldn’t.  Seriously?  There is a LOT of stuff which can fit the bill if you take time to look for it, and maybe use a little creativity. There are beautifully designed file folders, pencil holders, book ends, push pins, and even MASKING TAPE!  (who knew?)

This website shows examples of office-items-turned-crafty, if you are so inclined to get artsy (or pay someone else to do so.) 

This blog has a post about cute office supplies ….  and then there’s this website, which is 100% devoted to pretty office supplies!  (I think I need to spend some more time there, browsing through old posts …)

And don’t forget the wrapping paper – look at this wonderful way to use Sharpie Markers to personalize the outside of the box and really show Mom how much she means to you!

Happy Mother’s Day, All!

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Ball Point Preference

We all have it, right?  A favorite pen or type of pen?  The point size.  The ink color.  The ball style (roller vs ballpoint, or maybe no ball at all if you’re a felt-tip sort.)  The grip.  Click or cap.

And doesn’t it just sour your morning when you come in to work only to find someone took your last favorite from your desk, leaving you with inferior models with which to try and work?

Way back in high school, I was a BIC Cristal Stick Pen fan.  I had them in blue, black, and red.  All three colors, at all times.  Back then, that was as varied as it got, really (yes, I am that old.)  And I was very happy.

But then I traveled the world, and went to college, and for years and years, I became a  Papermate girl.  Medium ballpoint, blue ink, caps (which I never used.)  Cheap so I felt smugly responsibly frugal.  Long-lasting.  Not flashy so people rarely walked off with them.

Then for a brief interlude I switched to rollerball pens.  Smooth, fluid writing.  The pen would practically dance across the page.  These, people liked.  These, people took (consciously or un-).  And these, I discovered, were not the pens of my heart, and after a couple of years, I was able to move on.  I flirted briefly with gel pens, but they were too artsy to be used in business, so I can’t even say I really became familiar with the feel of one in my hand.

But recently?  I’ve changed, back towards my roots.  Perhaps as I have gotten older, more experienced, more worldly, I have learned to focus on what really matters to me.  And that is comfort.  For the first time, I pay as much attention to the grip of the pen as the ink.  I care not only about the feel of the pen as it moves across the paper, but also the feel of the pen barrel in my hand.  And I am still frugal, so I am still attracted to the pens that you can, really, afford to lose.  Now?  I love BIC  again, but not the Cristal Stick pens of my youth (though I get a reminiscent thrill when I see them in the stores.)  Now – I order BIC Comfort Grip pens.  I am still true to blue ink, medium point, but that little cushion where my fingers press – now that is of utmost importance.

In my office, my desk is in a very public place, and I keep a pencil cup on my desk, and most mornings, my favorite pen is still in there.

But when it’s not, I wait until I am alone, and I silently and secretively open a special drawer and uncover my private stash … and carefully pull out one, new pen.

And then my day is good.

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The Magic in Magic Erasers*

I have used these at home and it’s almost scary how well they work.  I just read that they work on bathroom grout, too, and now I am eager – me, the non-cleaner – to go home and step into the bathtub, Magic Eraser in hand, to see just how well they do. 

But – they also are good in the office!  Who knew?

  • Wipe your phone – especially if you share your phone with others – to remove grease, grime, and anything else built up on there.
  • Wipe your computer and other equipment (gently, no scrubbing needed – unless there is really some dried-on gunk) to get rid of grime and other ick.
  • Wipe down vinyl chairs, signs, baseboards, almost anything.  It’ll even take off paint drips!
  • Mirrors, windows, anything glass, photocopier or scanner glass surfaces … use the Eraser slightly dampened for a streak-free clean.

And you can even order them right with your office supplies order, no need to pick them up at a grocery store and then remember to get yourself reimbursed.  Gotta love it. 

* I looked up how exactly the Magic works, and it turns out that the stuff they are made of – Melamine Foam – is actually a very flexible, soft sandpaper-like substance with teensy-tiny holes, or pockets, within the foam.  It’s not a chemical magic (phew, I was worried I was doing significant damage to the world by using this thing!) but rather a mixture of two mechanical procedures – the sanding loosens the grit or stain or whatever, and the pockets hold the gunk.  (don’t you like how these technical terms come so easily to me?)

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Happy Earth Day!

Today is Earth Day – the most-celebrated secular holiday in the world!  To get you in the spirit, here are some fun bits of trivia about the day:

  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to watch a TV for three hours – it’s equivalent to half a gallon of gasoline.
  • Earth Day is a relatively new holiday and was first celebrated on April 22 in 1970. More than 20 million Americans participated in this first Earth Day celebration
  • Earth Day was founded by a senator of Wisconsin and the day is credited for creating the environmentalism movement.
  • April 22 is the first official day of Spring in the Northern hemisphere and of Fall in the Southern hemisphere and was chosen to be Earth Day for this reason.
  • Never underestimate the importance of recycling: if every newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250,000,000 trees each year. Unfortunately only 27% of all American newspapers are recycled.
  • More than 20,000,000 Hershey’s Kisses are wrapped each day, using 133 square miles of tinfoil. All that foil is recyclable, but not many people realize it.
  • Only 11% of the earth’s surface is used to grow food.
  • The world’s first national park was started in 1872 at Yellowstone National Park in the US.
  • The first major international conference on environmental issues was held in Sweden in 1972 and was sponsored by the United Nations.
  • The first wildlife refuge was formed on Pelican Island Florida in 1903.
  • The patron Saint of ecologists is St. Francis and the first proclamation of Earth Day was made by the mayor of San Francisco in 1970.

From Greenista.com

Enjoy your day responsibly … walk where you can, pick up some litter outside, and use real dishes.  It all adds up!

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Another Paperclip post!

You know what?  One of the funnest (most fun?) parts of writing this blog is seeking out non-traditional ways to use office supplies.

I found this picture of a paperclip light fixture available for just $185 (though apparently it’s sold now, it no longer shows up on the etsy.com sale page)

Then I found this one, (I can’t tell if it’s for sale anywhere, it appears to simply be a one-of-a-kind design, but the creator is not credited anywhere I can see.)

(OK, now that I look again, I *think* it’s two views of the same light.  Still, impressive.)

And then – I hit the jackpot!  A video showing you how to make your own paper clip chandelier!  (Plus it’s done by Kim Myles, whom I watched win her season of Design Star, and I always did like her style!) This homemade version only requires, according to Kim, $60 worth of paperclips – but then, she used gold ones, which might cost more than the regular silver.

Go crazy!

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Green Paper


I had no idea how much there is to know about paper and its level of “greenness.”  SFI, FSC, GreenSeal, iSeal … 30% post-consumer material, 75% recycled, 100% post-consumer fiber.

What do all those terms and initials mean, and which of them are the ones that matter?  And how do any of them affect the price?

Well, I started out by searching for definitions of what each means and who is behind each one – and I quickly found out that I am not alone in being surprised and confused.  Greener World Media suggests that we need a new forum, a “Consumer Reports” for green issues and products, for people to gather information they can trust.  (And I immediately started wondering if they are putting themselves forward as the answer to that need, and are they, themselves, trustworthy?)

Because that’s what came of my initial research – cynicism.  How do you know who to trust?  Turns out SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) is certification from an organization founded by the lumber industry.  Sounds like a conflict of interest there, doesn’t it?  How trustworthy is that?  And the SFI symbol is the one I see most often in catalogs … and now I’m suspicious of it!  (See what a little learning will get you?)  But then I remind myself that being of the industry doesn’t automatically mean it’s deceptive, I mean, who has a bigger interest in keeping the forests healthy and growing than the people who make their living off them? (Is that naive? Probably.  I can’t even totally convince myself.) 

FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is similar to SFI, but it’s a non-profit started one year before SFI.  Coincidence?  I think not!  It sounds like once a non-profit started looking into forestry practices, the forestry industry apparently started their own program.   FSC was started by environmentalists, but, alas, they, too, get the vast majority of their funding from – you got it, forestry companies. 

The question remains, even assuming both FSC and SFI are reputable and reliable indicators of how the trees were grown and harvested:  Does sustainable forestry guarantee the “greenest” end product?  They would like you to think so, but no, it really doesn’t – a seal of approval from either of these groups does not mean there is recycling going on in the production of the paper.  

So what else do you need to know to make the best choice? 

Next time – is there a difference between post-consumer product and post-consumer fiber?  Is 100% recycled 3-times as green as 35% recycled?  Or is it like SPF where once you’re above something like 30 it really doesn’t make any difference?

Note:  Information about SFI & FSC origins and funding from this article.  I didn’t check the accuracy of its claims because I was getting tired from all this research.

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Going Green … in the office

I have to admit, this is something fairly new to me.  I think we all will agree that our planet deserves better treatment – that we humans can do a lot more to litter less, waste less, and use less.  I have worked to improve my habits at home, buying organic cleaners and bringing my own grocery bags.  But the idea of doing it at work?

Whenever I hear about a large company doing something that is eco-friendly, my first reaction is always to try and evaluate if they are being sincere, or doing some sort of publicity stunt.  If they are sincere, I am impressed – and I do store that nugget of knowledge away in my brain and will pull it out later, if I have the option of buying something from that company vs. another, to help me make the choice.

But that’s BIG companies.  What about some place as small as the office I work in?  I do have a lot of control over what is purchased here.  And I admit to assuming that anything that is “eco-friendly” is going to cost more, and isn’t the dollar amount always the bottom line?

You know what?  I am going to challenge myself to really find out what the cost difference is, and to research changes that cane be made that cost nothing. 

And I challenge you to do the same.  Every time I find a good resource, I will share – whether it’s a wonderful product, or a review comparing costs or effectiveness or any other detail.   And I ask that you share anything you find, too.

Together, let’s see if we can make a difference.  I hope so!

Posted in Good for the earth and you!, Office Supplies | 2 Comments

That’s amazing!

After thinking about taxes yesterday, here’s something more fun …


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