Stock-Up Office Supplies

All the discount stores and office supply stores have back-to-school sales. Now is the perfect time to shop.

1. Pick up a school supply list for your favorite local charity. Some schools have opened. Fill the list and drop it off following the instructions of the charity. Covid-19 issues have changed some of the regulations. Leave all purchased items in original packaging.

2. Check the ads of your favorite stores. I usually start with Walmart because their items are picked over first. Each of Walmart’s least expensive spiral notebooks are $0.25 / 70 pages. That price is hard to beat. But for specialty items, I prefer a dedicated office supply store.

3. Make a shopping list for your office supply needs. We writers have extensive lists.

4. Create a system to help you know what should go on your list. Writing generates so much paperwork, it’s good to have a system. Below are some of the items I shop for and why.

• Color-coding helps me find what I’m looking for quickly.
For instance:
Yellow = Webinars (2020 has produced more webinars than I’ve had time to view)
Red = The ministry I blog for:
Purple = Blog Notes for my website:
Blue = Book Notes

• I also color code two-pocket, three-prong folders. I buy the sturdier folders, so they’ll hold up longer. These make great file drawer folders for information I refer to often. For example: “Formatting” requirements. I can easily pull out the whole folder and nothing falls out since it’s all held in place by the three prongs.

• Standard three-ring binders are on sale now as well as filler paper. They provide a great place to store all your notes for your latest WIP (Work In Progress).

One senior editor I’ve worked with required his staff to print out everything. His favorite mantra:
“You’ll catch more errors by looking at the printed page than you ever will on a computer screen.”

It’s worth it to me to buy a mid-range quality of binder. They’re large enough to cover tab pocket dividers, have plastic cover sleeves on front, back, and sides. The sleeves are handy for labeling and title pages. These binders stand up to frequent use, can be folded backwards if more support is needed to write on my lap or to fold out of my way when I work at my desk.

• To organize my notebook for my current WIP, I use pocket dividers. The two-pocket dividers are my favorite because I always have loose scraps of paper, photos, etc. that need to be kept in an easily retrievable format.

Possible tab labeling ideas include:
Title (chapter and book titles)
Settings/Places, etc.

5. Check equipment sales if you’re shopping for a new computer or printer.

Two years ago, I purchased an HP printer from my neighborhood office supply. I chose it because it came with a plan for automatic ink delivery. Utilizing their plan, I’ve saved over $500 thus far this year on ink. I investigated printers with larger ink reservoirs before I chose the HP.

Some writers highly recommend the laser printers over the inkjet system. But they’re more expensive to purchase and most only print black ink. Weigh the pros and cons for your situation. Evaluate how much paper and ink you normally use. Decide accordingly.

• Why so much paper?

I use a lot of paper because I prefer to hold the story/article in my hands. It saves my eyes and my back since it gets me away from the computer screen when I revise or edit.

One senior editor I’ve worked with required his staff to print out everything. His favorite mantra: “You’ll catch more errors by looking at the printed page than you ever will on a computer screen.”

6. So, what are you waiting for? Check the sales ads and head to the store(s) of your choice while the selection is still good.

Don’t worry. I left you some.

Until next time . . . Happy Shopping,

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