Pens & Pencil Clean Out

January 26, 2011 by  

How many pens and pencils does one household need?  We are going to be cleaning out a desk drawer next, and this is part of that. But I wanted to break up the post.

pens and pencilsWhen you open that desk drawer, or junk drawer – do you always find a bazillion pens and pencils?  But of course when you are on the phone and need to take a message or you are in your car… can you find that pen in your purse or car? Nope… never. lol

I want to share with your my simple way to help decrease some of the pens/pencil clutter in your home.

pens and pencilsWhen you are cleaning out that desk drawer I want you to gather all the pens and pencils together in one place. Markers too.  (My markers are in another basket)

Now, often when we are organizing we gather all of the pencils and pencils that are everyone in the office, in the drawers, on the floor etc.  and just put them in a basket like this and close the drawer back up. I would bet that the majority of these pens haven’t been used in quite a while.

Do they work?

pensI want you to get some scrap paper and get ready to test them… yes… all of them!  I am willing to bet you that at least 25% of them don’t write, or are broken or leaking.

Do the fast test, don’t sit and work to make that pen write. Grab it and try it, if it doesn’t write a nice line within the first few squiggles… pitch it. Are you going to use it? No, you will grab it.. try to use it, get frustrated.. put it back and grab another. So … you are just getting rid of the frustration first.

markersDo the same for your markers.  If they write like this pink one.. pitch them.  Ok… so you can’t stand to pitch it until it is completely empty?  Are you going to want to use it?  If you WILL use it… ok, then keep it.  If you just can’t stand to waste it, but know you won’t use it… what about your kids? Can you put it somewhere they will use it?

pen squigglesThis was my paper tester when I went through my pens and markers.

highlighterI had several pens and highlighters….. that went into the trash

pensThis is my trash can (dumb question…. can you recycle these?)

pensAfter I sorted out the pens that were dead or dying… and got rid of those, I still had a lot that I didn’t need.

I put several in the drawer, several on top of the desk in the green bucket and I didn’t need these. I mean really…. they have been sitting in that desk drawer untouched for how long?

I can do several things with them (and would love to hear more of your ideas in your post about organizing your office)

1) Put this bag of pens in your car, so you have a pen when you need it
2) Donate them to a local school, shelter or nursing home
3) If they are all pens you have brought home from work, return them to your office
4) Donate them to the troops
5) Disperse them through out your home (only if you need them) by the phones or bedside.

Your Mission if you chose to take it is: Declutter those pens and pencils!

Organizing Mission Monday

Link up Your Office Mission Post

Just take a half hour and declutter those pens and pencils. Take some pics and join the party.  I’d love for you to link it to my Organizing Mission Monday link party. This link party will be left open for a month to go with the Mission – Office that I am working on with my link party.

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I would love it if you could vote for my blog! You can vote up to once per day. Just click the button. Thank you!

I am linking this post up to:

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Beyond The Picket Fence


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15 Responses to “Pens & Pencil Clean Out”
  1. I just did this a few months back and it really got me thinking. Why do we need so many pens and pencils when we only have one hand to write with (2 for the ambidextrous)? If we only had one we would know exactly where it was at all times – we would truly treasure its existence! Still, I cannot force myself down to one pen… :)

  2. Sandy says:

    oh heavens.. I don’t go down to one either. I still think if we had one.. .it would still disappear! lol

  3. pammypam says:

    i am constantly buying pens, i can’t help it. they all look so shiny and purty! at some point they become clutter, esp at the end of the year when the kids clean out their school bags. i have a bucket right now calling my name. maybe i will link up…

  4. Lara Kretler says:

    Great post, Sandy – I do need to do this! I found two pens in my car this week that did not write, and did I throw them out? NO, they are still in my glove box… don’t ask me why!

    One cool thing to do with ordinary boring pens is to use green floral decorating tape and silk flowers, and make flowers out of them. Then you put them all together to create a “bouquet” of pens that sit in a vase out where they are handy, instead of being buried in a drawer. I got this idea from the scrapbooking store Archivers – and I think Michaels has these pens out on their counters, too. It looks really nice, is fun to do, and a great craft project with kids.

  5. Sandy says:

    That is really cute! I would say that for most people who don’t do crafts with them… they should hunt people like you down who DO crafts with them. I also think this would be neat if people did these kind of crafts with rec centers, adult day cares or nursing homes!! Thanks Lara

  6. Lisa says:

    It’s such a simple thing, but I think we all need to do this. I have SO many pens that don’t work and I just need to trash them. Thanks for the reminder!

  7. Sandy says:

    Lisa.. I know it sounds silly… but take before and after pics!

  8. Becky says:

    This is a great project for kids! Thank you for linking up to Beyond The Picket Fence.

  9. I went down to ONE PEN & it’s totally working! This was after I scrambled around one morning to fill out a form for school and it took me four trys to find a pen that worked. I keep the pen attached to a string on a magnet on the fridge. Doing this one simple act has helped lessen the chaos greatly. When you only have one of something, you become more mindful and less careless. Here’s the ONE PEN CHALLENGE post, if you’d like to check it out.

  10. Sandy says:

    I know.. I saw it.. so cool! I think I’d want to have 1 pen in each room though. lol

  11. Tara says:

    I did the same two weeks ago. We accumulate too many pens and pencil from conferences and trainings that it clutters our study area space. I think it is time to make it a routine, a pen cleaning every month.

  12. Karma says:

    As a writer I would never commit to having just one pen—the day would come when I have inspiration stirring and eventually that pen would run out. But I have organized mine too. First I threw out all the ones I didn’t enjoy writing with. Some art projects work well with dying markers but if a pen gets me frustrated with uneven ink, it goes in the trash. I too feel bad about throwing them out, but they will end up getting thrown out eventually, and there’s enough of them that I shouldn’t bother with the ones that impede my writing and tick me off. I sort out pens that have the clicky-retractable ink to put in purses or by the bed because those won’t leak onto fabric. After sorting and organizing writing tools, I put one of each kind (a pen, pencil and the larger purses get a highlighter and a Sharpie) in each purse. Again, so I’m never without. After every room and purse is stocked, there were still some extras I wanted to keep and I have a spot for those near my purses. It sounds like clutter but I really do use those extras! For example, if I’m carrying around an art project and I need two colors of ink.

  13. Vicki says:

    As for recycling, send them to the Million Pens guy. He takes pens, pencils, markers, highlighters, all of that kind of stuff and turns them in to art work. He loves getting mail from people with their pens and especially hearing their stories. He’s got a facebook page and everything. It doesn’t matter if they’re dried up or not, he takes them. I know your trash can is long been emptied of pens, but the next time you do a pen declutter, send them his way. is his website

  14. James says:

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  15. James says:

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