Tuesday’s Tip: Throw Away Those Extra Pens

If you are like most people you probably have a coffee cup or pencil holder full of writing instruments sitting on your desk. If you are like me, a good percentage of those pens and pencils are ones that you don’t like and will likely never use.

So why are you letting them still clutter up your desk? Go ahead and throw them out or give them away. If you have things on your desk that you never use it just introduces visual “noise” into your work environment and a bunch of pens and pencils that you dislike aren’t going to do anything to help you be more productive.

My problem is that my pen and pencil holder is full of things that my wife likes and that I hate. I don’t like cheap bic pens or disposable mechanical pencils. I do fine with an inexpensive gel pen, a Sharpie and two old fashion pencils. I guess it is time to get my wife her own pencil holder–I’m off to the kitchen to find a coffee mug.


  1. brent says

    want to never lose a pen again?

    get one GREAT pen and put it in your pocket. Get rid of all your other pens.

    Pretty soon you’ll start to reach for your pocket instinctively – you’ll feel naked without it, like if you forgot your watch (or your palm).

    These days when people leave a pen in my office by mistake I usually throw it out rather then put it in my drawer.

  2. says

    I’ll second brent.

    All you really need is one writing instrument, be it regular, fountain or gel pen, whatever works for you. You don’t need to spend fortune on it, but it must meet two requirements:

    1. You must absolutely like it – design, how it feels in your hand, how writing feels.
    2. It must be reliable, always.

    Personally, I went for a set of 3 – fountain pen, regular pen and a pencil. Not in my pocket, but in a solid box, yet it’s always with me.
    Don’t want to advertise, so I’ll just tell I went for cheapest model of a good brand, maybe twice the price of a no-name, but it’ll last for a lifetime.

    And one more thought to wrap it up. The act of writing with good pen is so pleasurable, that even the most boring tasks becomes bearable, as every letter just flows.

  3. says

    I agree with both Mark and Brent above.

    I pen is a very personal thing. It’s used to document your thoughts, archive your notes, deliver your message, send your approval and place your “thumbprint.”

    My current pen of choice is the Staedler Mars Professional Technical Drawing Pen with a .35mm refill which is water-based, fast-drying, with acid-free black pigment ink that is smudge-proof, bleed-resistant, lightfast, and permanent. I liked it for these features and the way it looks. The negative is that it has an annoying screw-off cap which will most likely drive me back to my Pigma Micron.

    My point is…as important as this instrument is, in my opinion some thought should be placed in selecting the one that is right for you. The next time someone asks to borrow your pen hand them one out of your pencil holder and tell them to keep it.

  4. Sandeep Goswami says

    Hi Mark,
    I follow your Blog religiously and you have a great thing going on here – so Kudo’s to you!

    Regarding your latest post “Tuesday’s Tip: Throw Away Those Extra Pens” – Wouldnt it be more appropriate and more “green” to
    donate/share/pass along those extra pens and pencils to other needy people rather then just suggesting to throw them away?

    Just my 2 cents..


  5. says

    Amen, brother. When I read your post I looked at my desk and lo and behold a cup full of crap I don’t use. I agree with Brent too, I’ll just invest in some really good pens. And give the rest away.

  6. Mark Shead says

    @Sandeep – I suggested that you throw or give them away, so if you know people who are suffering from a lack of pens, definitely pass them on. Just don’t procrastinate on cleaning up because you can’t find a place to give them away.

    One idea for giving away pens is to look for places where people are likely to walk off with an ink pen. Stores, restaurant, and hospitals are all places that go through pens rapidly so they might be good places to give away some extra writing instruments.

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