3 Easy Steps to Decluttering Pens, Pencils, and Markers

posted in: Organizing 2

Are you looking for a quick way to declutter your desk?Image of dry erase markers in a row and the phrase, 3 Easy Steps to Decluttering Pens, Pencils, and Markers

Tired of digging through your drawers for a pen that works?

In this post, I offer a quick and easy organizing project that can be completed in just a couple of minutes.

Getting rid of broken, or otherwise unusable writing implements can free up a lot of space at your desk or workstation.

It can also make finding a writing implement a piece of cake.

Ready to get started? Let’s begin!

Collect pens, pencils, and markers.

Go ahead and round-up all the writing implements you can find in your home or office.

This includes any that are sitting on top of your desk, in a holder or storage container, inside of your desk drawers, and so on.

Don’t hold back; this is your moment to finally be rid of all those pens, pencils, and markers, that have been silently accumulating over the months and years.

That giant bag of promotional pens from your last conference? Grab it.

That box of pencils sitting your desk drawer? Ditto.

Purge items.

Before you begin, make sure you have a largish piece of scrap paper and a garbage bin handy.

Your mission is simple: pick up a single writing implement, and try writing with it on the scrap paper.

Don’t get too serious here, a little scribble will suffice. You’re just trying to see if the items can write, or not.

Remember, this is a no-holds barred decluttering session. If the writing implement: cannot make a mark, has dried up, is leaking ink, is cracked, chipped, broken, or is otherwise unusable, throw it away.

What about those writing implements that work perfectly well, but that you absolutely cannot bear use?

If you dislike using that triangle-barreled pen from your local car wash, bright fuchsia highlighter, or oversized mechanical pencil now, you won’t learn to like it in future.

You’ll still avoid it at all costs, and it will take up precious space on your desk.

Life’s too short to use writing implements you despise!

Instead, throw the items in a clear zipper bag and donate them to a local charity, school, or organization.

Replace items back where they belong.

Now that you’ve trimmed down your collection of writing implements, it’s time to store everything.

You can replace your favorite items back into regular rotation in a cup, or in a drawer on your desk.

If you don’t have a desk drawer organizer, you can create your own storage using similar sized plastic tubs (think: flat and shallow takeout containers, or supermarket food containers.

What about the rest of your collection of pens, pencils, and markers? Zip ‘em up in clear plastic bags, and place in your office supply cabinet.

You can pick out what you need, when you need it, without cluttering up your desk.

How about you? Is your collection of pens, pencils, and markers at work/home under control? Will you consider doing a decluttering session? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.

2 Responses

  1. Susan

    What about all the nice pens that all you need are refills. I have over 10 and don’t even know how to go about buying new ones. Sometimes you open the pen and you just can’t seem to get it back together again, ugh.

    • Rashelle

      That’s an excellent point, Susan. I’d suggest first taking a closer look at the pen itself.

      Is there a manufacturer or company name on it? Any distinguishing, numbers, letters, or other information? After looking a the outside of the pen, you can take a look at the empty cartridge from the pen itself in hopes of finding more information. Once that’s done, try doing a search online for the corresponding pen or cartridge refill to see if you can find a match. You might be able to buy what you need from the manufacturer. You could also take the pen to an office supply store and ask the staff to help you find a matching cartridge.

      If the pen happens to be an expensive one, I’d take it back to the retailer where you bought it, or to a specialty pen shop. They will have a better idea as to the type of cartridge you need, if the cartridge is still in production, a suitable replacement, etc.

      As far as physically replacing the cartridge in a pen, try looking online for manufacturer how-tos, or owner’s manuals, as well as instructional or tutorial videos on how to replace a cartridge.

      Hoe that helps!