It is the time of year again when you can stock up on office and school supplies for pennies as stores use things likes pencils and notebooks as loss leaders, hoping to entice you in to inside, knowing you will likely pick up some overpriced extras while you are there. RESIST!!! Just buy the loss leaders and get out.

I keep one drawer devoted to office supplies. I always had trouble keeping it organized until I recognized the problem. I was trying to keep everything in the drawer! All of the pens and pencils and rulers and such was just too much for the space. When I commandeered a shoe box for the overflow, the problem was solved. I still stock up on office supplies but I only keep what I might need to grab downstairs. Everything else is in the storage room upstairs. I am keeping more on hand as I want to be prepared for a flu outbreak to shut down our schools. If I have to home school for a period of time I want to have what I need without a trip to an office supply store. All preparedness programs should consider these staples.

Pens and pencils: The pens actually need to be rotated as the ink can dry out over time. The pencils will require a pencil sharpener. I am on the look out for an old hand sharpener. I have a couple but they are plastic and poor quality. I like the one from Lehman’s but it’s a bit pricey. Still, it’s on my Christmas list. I have an electric model but it needs a battery and as I can get one that doesn’t, that’s what I want. How hard is it to sharpen a pencil?

Scissors: I have a lot of scissors. Some are in need of sharpening and I just found out that I can take them to our little hardware store and they will send them out. I am planning to bring them a batch in the morning. A good pair of scissors is one of life’s pleasures.

Sundries: Rubber bands, paper clips, staples, glue, tape and so on are the kinds of things we use every day.  It pays to have them on hand. I have made a dandy little bungee cord with a couple of paper clips and a wide rubber band. I save all of the band I can get my hands on.  Someone donated a whole bunch of broccoli to our pigs and it came with wide rubber bands around each bunch. I was really pleased but I will confess I am easily amused. I have found that tape should be rotated too, especially the inexpensive brands. I like medical tape for jobs that require real sticking power. For glue.,I keep Tacky glue, Elmer’s, mucilage and a few glue sticks although these don’t work for much beyond kid’s art work. I also keep notebook hole reinforcers and sticky dots, post its and sticky labels. I usually buy a huge bag of pencil erasers when I find a deal too. I have several rulers. I like a good quality metal one with a sharp edge for me. I have a wooden ruler with a metal edge for the kids.

I put several magnifying glasses in my drawer. I have them in a couple of different sizes. I also keep spare cheaters, those dime store reading glasses that will come in might handy if you break you glasses during a crisis and, like me, can’t recognize my husband across the room without your glasses. The cheaters have gotten me through a period of waiting for new glasses a couple of times.

You should have a lot of paper on hand. I buy computer paper in packages of 500 sheets, notebook paper when it’s on sale for $.19 a pack, construction paper,  legal pads and spiral bound notebooks. Index cards and writing paper are useful too. And don’t forget envelopes and a supply of stamps. The Forever Stamps from the Post Office are a good deal as they can be used no matter how high the price of a stamp goes. Back in my teaching days, I once received a note from a parent written on an envelope with red crayon. With a little foresight, I hope to always do better than that. I pick up workbooks for my kids when I think of it. I have enough curriculum to be able to teach at home for an extended period. Educational games and good books are better gifts than electronic gizmos any day. Some drawer dividers and small covered containers will keep all of your supplies organized.

Preparedness can be about having what you need for months at a time but it is also about laying your hands on the necessities of life on a daily basis, freeing up time and energy for more important tasks. Right now, for instance, the sun is shining I have few days left warm enough to enjoy my morning coffe on the deck. Duty calls.

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