A week of decluttering – day three

Filed in Blog by on April 29, 2009 12 Comments
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broken-biroI decided to move out of the kitchen. There is still more to do, but I need a change of scenery. I decided to tackle our office.

I’ve not been able to find a biro now for about 6 months. (and yes, I now know that I shouldn’t be using biros anyway, but I have a lot left from my pre zero waste existence).

You know how it is – they disappear into thin air, get ‘borrowed’ by other members of the family and generally walk out of the house in search of better lodgings.

I’ve been writing with an assortment of thick felt tips and half a pencil crayon for too long. I’ve been keeping people on hold whilst searching for a decent writing implement and frankly I’m fed up with everyone else nicking my stuff …

I opened my office drawer to find this:


Mmmmm. Of course, it’s not MY mess. It’s THEM. THEY come along, borrow things and don’t put them back. They let all that happen and I had nothing to do with it. Honest.

I have to admit it was cathartic to tip everything out of that mini landfill. I found broken felt tips, knots of string, broken rubber bands, twisted paperclips, empty plastic bags and those bits of dust that seem to fall out of the sky and get into the backs of drawers.

BUT I found my favourite fountain pen complete with a couple of cartridges, some staples, my ruler and many other things that I thought was lost.

Oh, and three pairs of sunglasses.

And a compass.

And 5 packs of post it notes.

And a pair of socks.

After getting rid of the crap, tidying everything up and putting things like socks and sunglasses in their proper homes I was left with this:


Most important of all, I created this!


Now all I need to do is find a padlock for the drawer and keep little (and big) fingers out of my pen stash!

What is is about stationary supplies that are as exciting now as they were when you were at school? I love my pen pot!

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (12)

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  1. Sarah says:

    Me too, I love nice pens…

  2. I thought it was just me whose pens/pencils disappeared. lol!!

    Mine always seem to walk from my drawer in the computer desk.

  3. Pen, socks, and hangers are three things I know I buy, but can never find when I need them. I feel like I’ve been mostly out of town since January and my house is sorely in need of this level of cleaning. I’m trying to do a little each day.

  4. Kris says:

    I think I might be rather scarily organised because my pens do live full and secure lives, with no wandering and absolute homes from which they only stray for use!

    I’m a mostly recovering stationaryaholic, I swapped starry-eyed accumulation for really honing what my absolute favourite brands are and sticking to those, which is probably why I’m better at knowing where they are all the time. Plus my oh is quite well-behaved 🙂

  5. Deb from Boston says:

    hmmm why do pens seem to have legs? You made me realize that since I got a fountain pen and pencil set at Christmas, no one borrows them and I’m more mindful of where I put them. Of course there are still the “I can’t find a pen” moments when I’m in the kitchen and my special pen is in my briefcase in another room and I’m too lazy to go get it and put it back

  6. Layla says:

    Well, pens, biros & pencils in our house surely have a life of their own too, I swear! 🙂

    Good to see you organize yours!

    I’m sometimes the one who’s nicked other people’s biros or pencils, but lately I’ve found some pencils & pens in my drawer & have absolutely no idea how they got there!!

    I read that pencils & pens (but which ones?) are best environmentally, biros & felt-tip pens all wind up in ‘mixed waste’ where I live.. I guess more research would be needed..

    wishing you luck with your drawer & pens!!

  7. Poppy says:

    I have the opposite problem which I am try to cure my OH and junior of. We frequently attend places where pens and pencils are given away as advertising tools and as much as I try to say no, they still find their way into our pockets and bags 🙁

    I have a clear out now and then, with all ‘dead’ pens thrown out and bundles of the less favoured ones sent to school for the teachers who also suffer from wondering pen syndrome 😉

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @Sarah: Ah, it’s not just me then. It’s a funny thing!

    @maisie dalziel: They definitely have legs or wheels or something, Maisie.

    @Heather Solos: Hi Heather – great to see you; I’m really enjoying your site. Hangers and socks LOL! I’m with you on the socks conundrum! Good luck with the cleaning; little and often is the key 😉

    @Kris: Gosh; I’d like to come and live at your house, Kris – it sounds like stationary heaven. Good for you!

    @Deb from Boston: I think a nice fountain pen is the answer, Deb. Though not handy for carrying around as they tend to leak unless kept upright. It just shows that we value something of quality more and are more likely to look after it. Something to think about next time we grab a cheap box of ‘disposable’ biros…

    @Layla: Biros and felt tips are bad news for the landfill; especially when you guess how many we might get through in a day. I love writing with pencils and usually carry a couple with me. I should use them more.

    @Poppy: so that’s where all our pens are ending up Poppy; in your house LOL!
    Sorry to hear about your issue 😀

  9. ok that’s it. I’m going to clean something today. I can only dream to reach the level of tidiness of your office drawer, but it is very inspiring.

  10. Mrs Green says:

    @Jen from clean bin: OMG; my Mother would crack up if she read that I had inspired you to tidy Jen. The question is, did you get around to cleaning something?!

  11. Yup, I did a single drawer in the kitchen that holds the spatulas and wooden spoons and such. Ended up with two random, and un-numbered bits of plastic though. (this is the reason I was shying away from tidying in the first place!)

  12. Mrs Green says:

    @Jen from CleanBin: Yay! well done you – I understand the procrastination perfectly 😉

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