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Talking Time's Top 50 Office Supplies

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator

#9
Dry erase board

Score: 126 - Votes: 7 - Highest vote: 5th (JBear)​

Torzelbaum said:
Was a nice way to purge my mental "backlog" list into physical form when I was a dev lead. (Before my team / company started using Agile.)

JBear said:
The most important collaboration tool in my office.

Kirin said:
for taking big notes

Controversial: the vote was split between the boards and the markers. Most of you voted for both, with many of you trying to claim they were the same item. When push comes to shove, you prefer the board over the markers. I don't know how much sense that makes -- you can use the markers on other surfaces, but woe betide he who uses a different marker on these boards -- but you have made your preference known.

Clippit said:
Whiteboards hit the market back in the 60s, but they didn't reach popularity until the 90s. There's a good chance your school had chalkboards when you were a kid, but these days, they're almost uniformly whiteboards.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Ah, yeah, I tried to count them as a set. So as I said earlier, "I honestly don't use them a lot now while working from home, but they're great for in-person collaboration, or even sometimes just sketching out big-scale notes for yourself."
 

RT-55J

definitely not a robot
(He/Him)
One of the apartments I lived in during college had a random whoteboard left in it by the previous tenants, and we almost never used it. For most of the 2 or so years I lived in that unit, it just patiently hung on a wall in the corner of the living room, diligently holding some notes to some long forgotten chemistry test.

What I'm saying is, yeah, this is more of an office supply than a home supply.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
The specific whiteboard I was talking about in my blurb was this TŪL brand mini whiteboard and marker set which was pretty neat. The whiteboard had magnets so you could stick it to a metal wall and the markers had erasers built into their caps (but didn't have magnets so it wasn't easy to keep them and the board together).

I also basically don't whiteboards in general anymore since the pandemic. I have mixed feelings about that.
 
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Ixo

"This is not my beautiful forum!" - David Byrne
(Hi Guy)
Counterpoint: We use the big ol' whiteboard calendar in our kitchen for everything. Appointments, birthdays, stream schedule, keeping up with medications, household stuff we need to replenish, etc.
 
I could not see different coloured chalk on chalkboards very well, so I remember just being stunned when whiteboards made it so easy to differentiate things. We use them all the time for planning experimental flow, drawing reactions, planning aliquot/sampling schedules, etc.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator

#8
Scissors

Score: 128 - Votes: 6 - Highest vote: 1st (Yimothy)​

JBear said:
Sometimes you just gotta cut things.

Kirin said:
snip snip

When it comes to office supplies, there's one that's a cut above the rest.

But we'll get to that one later. Scissors placed eighth, which is still pretty good. I'm not especially convinced that the need for scissors arises too often in an office setting, but luckily, that wasn't a criterion for this list. Scissors are fun to use, and that's what really counts here.

"Hey, you're left-handed, right? Tell me about your left-handed experience with scissors."

I'm surprised you remembered, but yes, you're correct. It's my experience that lefties are, by and large, a bunch of whiners about minor inconveniences. If you're not using scissors for extended periods of time, a pair of right-handed scissors is perfectly usable even in your left hand.



Yimothy said:
It is a truth widely known that a good nurse always has scissors in their pocket. A smart nurse's scissors will be disposable - sometimes you need to cut something disgusting at short notice, and you don't want to be putting those scissors back in your pocket after that. Essential for opening packaging, removing bandages without having to unwind them, prying the tops off vials, spinning around a finger while walking down corridors, and many other things.
 
But we'll get to that one later. Scissors placed eighth, which is still pretty good. I'm not especially convinced that the need for scissors arises too often in an office setting, but luckily, that wasn't a criterion for this list. Scissors are fun to use, and that's what really counts here.

Whaaaaaat. They're a daily use item for me, no question. Opening shipments, cutting open secondary containment, cutting tape, trimming parafilm, cutting pieces of templates out to paste into the lab notebook. I might use them up to 10 times a day.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
I don't use scissors *super* often at my day job, but still often enough that I keep a pair in my desk, and they made it onto my list near the bottom.

And like Mogri, I write left-handed but don't bother discriminating when it comes to scissors. Either hand is fine, and the pair I have here seems to work just as well in either hand anyway.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
I voted for scissors twice. The one quoted above was for disposable scissors, the other:

8. Mayo Scissor
There are many types of scissor. If I were a surgeon, I might nominate the ubiquitous Metzenbaum, or the slightly more specialised Tenotomy scissor. But I'm a nurse, and I mostly use the Mayos. Reasonably heavy with blunt tips, they're suitable for cutting sutures and dressings as well as (some) tissue. The trick to making scissors cut (after you've blunted them cutting dressings) is to push with your thumb and pull with your fingers so that the jaws are forced together. If you're holding the scissors in the wrong hand (left hand for righty scissors, right hand for lefty scissors), you gotta reverse the motion. Even if they are blunt, it's a poor worker who blames the tools.

The other trick with scissors is to put your thumb through one ring and your ring finger through the other, then rest your index finger further along the instrument for control. Depends on the type of scissor and what you’re cutting, of course.
 
Whaaaaaat. They're a daily use item for me, no question. Opening shipments, cutting open secondary containment, cutting tape, trimming parafilm, cutting pieces of templates out to paste into the lab notebook. I might use them up to 10 times a day.

Additional use: Opening the goddamn bag of ground coffee that has the worst "tear here" ever seriously why can't this coffee be opened without scissors agh
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator

#7
Highlighter

Score: 135 - Votes: 7 - Highest vote: 6th (Daikaiju)​

Kirin said:
sometimes ya gotta write light

Dracula said:
For when you want to make note of all the times the Bible has the word "ass" in it.

The highlighter is fundamentally a felt-tip marker, like the Crayola markers you know and, presumably, love, except that the ink is typically fluorescent. (For a fun time, try putting your highlighter marks under a black light!) Of course, the real difference between a highlighter and other felt-tip markers is that the highlighter is intended not to conceal whatever's underneath your marks.

Clippit said:
The highlighter was invented in 1962, which is surprisingly recent if you think about it. It was released under the trademarked name HI-LITER, which is a brand the Avery Corporation (previously mentioned in this list) still produces and the only real competitor to Sharpie in the competitive US highlighter market.
 

Issun

Let's 90s gaming
I mostly only use Hiighlighters to mark missing product n invoices, but there really is no better way to mark stuff on paper that you want to be able to go back and easily identify later. There's a reason e-books' such option is called "highlighting".
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Heck, the thing you do with a mouse to select text in almost any context is also highlighting.

My comment in the entry makes more sense in context of coming just below regular Sharpies, for which I commented "sometimes ya gotta write dark".

TBH this is another one I don't actually use a lot in my office day-to-day (due to not actually using paper a whole lot), but they're still nice to have around. My partner is currently using them a ton while going back to school for an advanced degree though.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator

#6
Notebook

Score: 136 - Votes: 5 - Highest vote: 2nd (Bulgakov)​

Falselogic said:
I tried fancy looking legalpads with leather or canvas covers. But nothing works quite as well as a composition workbook. I've got loads of them full of meeting notes. Dirt cheap too!

JBear said:
Because sometimes you need to take notes in a meeting.

Bulgakov said:
The perfect compromise between a quadrille pad, lined paper, and blank paper. Plenty of room for freedom, but plenty of structure when needed.

(Bulgakov voted for the Leuchtturm notebook, which is the one with the bookmark and the elastic band that keeps it closed.)

I've made my feelings on blank paper clear at this point. What's better than a blank sheet of paper? A book full of blank paper, that's what. I prefer a good softbound composition book, but I'll settle for spiral-bound.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Yeah, this is another one that fell victim to the fact that I just don't use a lot of actual paper for my current job. I definitely used notebooks for, well, notes in my previous job, actually often for figuring out equations or geometry problems, but even then it was at a slow enough rate that I only went through like one a year.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
it was at a slow enough rate that I only went through like one a year.
I'm still using the same spiral-bound notebook that I was issued when I began my current job in 2005.

It's still important, though!
 
Notebooks one of the banes of my existence.

Every kid has notebooks. Many kids, instead of using loose-leaf paper to do their homework on, will do it in a notebook and tear the paper out of said notebook.

Only a small minority of kids who do this, even bother to have the decency to tear along the page perforations/clean up the notebook paper. So every day, I get dozens of pages of ripped notebook paper that make organizing assignments a nightmare.

This has been a problem in education since time immemorial. Kids today are guilty of this. We were guilty of this. Our parents were guilty of this. Today's kids will undoubtedly have kids that will be guilty of this.

This is not the fault of notebooks, they can't help how they're used. But notebooks do bring out the worst of some students.

It makes me sad.

It doesn't have to be this way!
 
Laboratory notebooks are a Standard Operating Procedure requirement for me and I probably have 20 of these on my desk a day so no question here. They're issued with numbers and blinded codes per client, tied to project codes, etc. I put it at third but it easily could have been second or first.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator

#5
Binder clip

Score: 138 - Votes: 5 - Highest vote: 3rd (Kirin)​

Torzelbaum said:
Good for holding papers together temporarily with no damage. You can have a little fun by disassembling and reassembling them.

Dracula said:
Widely useful in many situations outside of the office. Almost never used in actual binders.

If this list has taught me anything, it's that you all love fiddling with office supplies. The binder clip is one of the most fiddleable office supplies out there.

Sure, they're also very practical, but I have no evidence that you value practicality.

Clippit said:
The binder clip was invented in 1910. Prior to that, the standard method of binding a stack of papers was -- no kidding -- sewing them together. If that were your alternative, you can be sure you'd be valuing practicality a little more.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Looking at my list I was a little surprised I put these *so* high, but I do like them a lot. I do actually use them for binding stacks of paper from time to time - not so much for my actual job where I keep mentioning I barely use paper, but for things like keeping together my yearly stack of tax-relevant documents and such. But beyond paper, they're just great little mini-clamps, and I keep finding other uses for them, like holding up part of a broken honeycomb-style window-shade, or tidying some cords and wires.

Plus, yeah, extremely fidget-o-genic.
 
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