Friday, November 13, 2009

I'm addicted to colorful paper clips (among other things)

By Lonnie Cruse

Hello. My name is Lonnie and I'm addicted to colorful paper clips. And anything else office or desk related.

I wore a black armband for weeks after Office Max closed their doors forever in Paducah, KY. I have to limit my visits to Office Depot. The office aisle in Wal Mart calls out to me, even when I'm taking milk out of the milk case at the back of the store. I really need a twelve step program for this. I may have to start one since there don't seem to be any around. Why? Because I'm addicted. Obsessed. And it's only getting worse.

I recently searched the office aisle in Wal-Mart until I found the colored paper clips. No plain metal paper clips for me, thank you very much. It's the same for bulletin board pins.

Notebooks? I adore them. I have them everywhere, for every use, grocery lists, to-do lists, sermon notes, notes to hubby, notes to friends, notes about notes. I even have a couple of tiny three-ring binders to hold notes.

Plain vanilla file folders? Surely you jest? Mine are all different colors, depending on the subject in that file. And if I teach a class or workshop on a particular subject, complete with handouts, the handouts are printed on color copy paper with matching file folders. Addicted? Obsessed? Yes.

If I happen to sashay by the journal aisle in ANY store, I'm in big trouble. I can't resist a pretty journal. Yes, I do use them, but I also have a stash in my closet . . . just in case. Meaning just in case I need one and haven't bought one in the last day or so. When I say journal, I mean those empty books with pretty covers that usually cost way too much.

One such journal holds my pictures of old barns (because I use those pictures as inspiration for my pencil drawings, which, of course, are kept in another blank artist's journal.) Another journal holds the dried flowers and leaves gathered from my nature walks, which are then glued to the blank pages with notes about where I gathered them. Another is my prayer/thoughts journal. Two journals contain memories of our adventures with our grandsons (one for each boy, of course) which I will give to them when they are too old for further adventures with Grandma and Grandpa. A large vintage journal was used to write down memories of my father and my father-in-law and the wonderful stories they told. It also has memories of our boys growing up. My eldest son loves to read that journal. I also have a writing journal (where I keep notes of ideas for future books, short stories, or articles I want to write, and notes from writing classes or workshops I've either taken or taught) and last but not least is a life journal where I jot notes about my life. I did warn you that I'm obsessed. I've even taught a workshop on journaling. And then there are all the beautiful but blank journals I'm storing for future use.

Nowadays, walking into Office Depot or Wal-Mart has become even more difficult. Suddenly ALL file folders are beautifully multi-colored. Ditto for folders with flaps and closures to carry important papers in. And I am now the proud owner of a green (with multi-colored polka dots) project planner. Yes, I *could* plan my projects on plain paper in a plain notebook, but this thing jumped into my shopping cart and refused to leave. I have the matching file folders but somehow managed not to buy the matching mouse pad. I hope it's still there, in the store, waiting for me. And the matching purse-sized notebooks.

Don't even get me started on all those lovely day planners. What to choose, what to choose? Day at a glance, week at a glance, or month at a glance? I actually prefer to be able to glance at a whole month at once before committing to anything on my calendar, so I know how busy that entire month is and I can shift things if need be. Did you ever see so many choices as to size, not to mention cover? Eeeek!

Antique stores can also pose a danger to the office obsessed. I have a huge metal bulletin board on the wall beside my desk that advertises Scotch O Lass Dried Molasses. It's vintage and it has clips to hold pictures and it lists the days of the week. It's huge, ugly, and I can't live without it. I also have a small Freedent display rack that holds small notebooks on my desk, a larger Dentyne version that holds various sized envelopes, and a VERY large Campbell's soup display rack that sits beside my desk and holds copy paper, large Manila envelopes, photo paper, empty file folders, etc. All purchased from an antique store at a very reasonable price. All in use every single day.

So, dear reader, is your desk colorful and color coordinated? Do your paper clips match your file folders? Does your day planner or your journal sparkle with sequins? If not, why not?

And if you need a twelve-step program for your obsession, just e-mail me. I'll set up a meeting for the first of next month. I'll bring the color coded notebooks. You bring the color coded cookies.


Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Sharon and I'm also an office supply addict, too.

These are our tools, right? Does a master carpenter limit herself to only one wood plane? Does a chef have only one knife? We owe it to our readers to work with the best and most varied assortment of tools available.

Lonnie Cruse said...

Wahahahah, thanks, Sharon! It's good to know I'm not alone in this! And I love your reasoning.

Venus de Hilo said...

Hey, I though I was the self-proclaimed "notebook queen"! Is there room for two on that throne? I'm reluctant to open my office cabinet(s) and face the facts, but at best guess I have a five year supply of pens and assorted notebooks of all types and sizes. I like the traditional grade-school composition books, and glue pretty scrapbook paper on the covers. I have a SABLE ("stash accumulation beyond life expectancy": term borrowed from quilters and fashion sewers, of which I am also one, but this is not about the accumulation in my sewing room, thank God) of post-its in all sizes/shapes/colors (the yellow star-shaped ones are my faves). And the files folders!. I love and have many of the really pretty girly (spendy!) floral and scroll-y ones, and some matching 3-ring binders. And a small office, yikes. I should close my blog-reader and go use some of this stuff.

Sandra Parshall said...

Lonnie, your writing space is so... neat. My desk is awash in papers, legal pads, notebooks, pencil & pen jars, dictionaries, and yeah, colorful paperclips. I straighten it periodically and it's a mess again in hours. I also have cabinets filled to bursting with supplies. I probably have enough file folders to last the rest of my life. I *love* office supplies. I love Staples. It's downright dangerous for me to even step through the door.

Julia Buckley said...

I am also in love with office supplies, and have been since I was a kid. This must be in the DNA.

But just think--those spare journals would make excellent stocking stuffers, so they are really money savers!

Marilynne said...

I have always loved fancy/pretty/colorful office supplies. When I worked in an office, I brought my own supplies from home so I could enjoy them.

Now that I'm retired, I don't have to buy them because I still have plenty. Unless, of course, I see something I don't have.

I even have shiny colored staples for my stapler.

signlady217 said...

My mom and I both love office supply stores, too. Plus fabric, craft and scrapbook stores, and for me add in the home repair stores (Lowe's, Home Depot, etc.). If you want another great place to find "things", check out your local dollar stores (Dollar Tree is one of the best around!) I guess now I'm labeled "The Enabler"! Have fun shopping!

Pattie T. said...

Sign me up! I am so obsessed that I go to office supply stores while on vacation. You wouldn't BELIEVE the fabulously cool stuff I got in Italy!! Imagine those postal rubber stamps (First Class, etc) in Italian! Oh yes! Then those wonderful curly paper clips, the colored staples, I could just swoon. In Florence and Venice I bought so many goodies I had to have them shipped home.

In Paris I was in and out of every shop that sold paper goods. I bought something at each place.

Journal books? Don't get me started -- the British Museum has a fabulous collection, now mine, MINE!!! And if I can't buy them, I make them. Bear in mind I don't use them, they're too pretty and I might just mess them up.

My studio is a disaster area because I tend to work best in chaos. But not to worry, my office supplies are safely tucked away where no harm will come to them. ;-)

P.S. My youngest son is his mother's child. When he was about four or five he asked Santa for a cash box and an adding machine.

Llyn K. said...

Hey, I'm with you, Pattie! Vacation is just a good excuse to visit new office supply stores. I make an annual pilgrimage to another state just to go shopping at a favorite stationer's. My drawers are full of the stuff, including the antique office things, like ink bottles or pencil boxes (and all the fountain pens that I started collecting in elementary school), too. And don't get me started on stationery! I have 17 drawers full of notecards and fine papers. Help me!

Sharon Marie said...

I'm laughing myself silly right now after reading all these comments. Silly me. I thought I was the only office junk junkie. For me, it began when I was a child around seven years old. Santa gave me a child's desk and a toy typewriter. WOW, I WAS OFF AND RUNNING. If you ever hear anyone screaming in Office Max, it's me. My husband is pulling me out by my hair.

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