Buy pens in bulk. They way pens vanish in my home, I’m not entirely convinced they’re not being eaten. Because it’s not just that you can’t find one when you need one, it’s that they are literally gone. Off the face of the earth. So, pens have simply become a consumable commodity, like toilet paper, that I buy in bulk at least once a month.

Memory boxes. This is my solution for the unstoppable force that is kid creation. My kids make so much art, and bring so much stuff home from school, that I think we are single-handedly responsible for a Congo’s worth of tree destruction. Since I don’t have room in my  house to be sentimental about every scrap of paper that a kid scribbles on, I prioritize. I put most everything up in the kid art display (explained below), and then choose one or two of the very best, most awesome pieces to keep keep. I have a memory box for each kid– a file box with each kids’ name on it. That’s the room that I have for sentimental storage. I’m anticipating that when my kids are grown, they aren’t going to want to dig through anymore than one file box of memorabilia anyway.

Kid art display. Dedicate a wall to a kid art display. This can be a jumbo cork board, or a clothesline style display, or a simply a wall and tape. This not only spares the fridge clutter, it serves as a holding cell while you determine which pieces are worth holding onto for the long haul, and which are doomed to be recycled. I am still choosy about what will even go up on the kid art display, but the standard is lower.

Invest in an electric pencil sharpener. If you are going to own pencils, just buy an electric sharpener. Don’t fiddle around with any other option. They’re all garbage. Thank you.

Simple filing. Knowing what to file is simple. File nothing! Okay, almost nothing. You don’t need to keep paid bills, invoices, receipts, or bank statements. There is not a scenario that will occur EVER that will depend on you having saved any of this stuff. Everything is online. Let a computer keep track of all that stuff. Instead of conceiving an elaborate filing system, invest in a recycling bin. That being said, you need to keep tax info for seven years, active warranties (if you care), and it’s probably a good idea to have hard copies of any insurance policies you may have. Other than that, liberate yourself from paper storage.

Recycling. We generate so much recycling in the office, it is worth it to keep a recycling bin in there. Dump your reject kid art, used scratch paper, and unneeded junk mail in there rather than trekking to the kitchen. Or worse yet, just throwing it in the regular garbage because you’re too lazy to trek to the kitchen.

Shredding. Actual shredding is too much trouble, too much mess. I keep it simple. Anything that needs shredding, I tear in fourths (or eighths if I wanna get crazy), and then I put half in the garbage, and half in the recycling. You hear about baddies that can reconstruct your shredded document in five minutes flat, but good luck doing that with papers that are split up between two separate facilities! But let’s be honest, the baddies of today aren’t sullying their hands in garbage. They’re stealing your sensitive info from the comfort of their mom’s basement. Put more effort into your online security than your paper trail.

Embrace limited storage. Here’s the truth about our passions and hobby storage. We don’t need more than will fit in the space we have. I have one wall of open storage for my crafty stuff. That’s all the space I have. I don’t have space in my basement or garage. I don’t need space in the basement or garage. I know that I can only use so much of this stuff, so that’s all I keep. Get rid of everything you don’t have room for, even if it feels like tearing an arm off. Even if you can imagine a hypothetical scenario in which you might need or use it. Part ways.

Open storage. Keep hobby supplies out where you can see them. It has a warm, appealing, jolly look (assuming you keep it tidy), and you are ten times more likely to use what you can see. It also make it easier to keep tabs on what you have, and avoid over- or repeat buying.

Kindergarten stations. Keep a multi-functional room  organized like a kindergarten classroom– i.e. in stations. Each station contains everything in it that you need for its particular task. Here’s the computer station, here’s the sewing station, here’s the origami-folding station (I don’t know what you’re into!)

Keep pens and paper in every room. This a bonus, non-office tip. Keep a pen and pad of paper in every room in the house. I can’t think of a single room where this isn’t vital. They’re  there when you need to urgently write something down. There when you need to sign something. There when you need to play Boggle. Just find a place to keep them, and keep them.