Posted by: ktzefr | July 11, 2011

Ten things I don’t use much anymore

It struck me when I opened my desk drawer for a paper clip.  I don’t sit at my desk much in the summer; I prefer working outside.  I stared at the drawer filled with “essentials” and realized that, even when I do work at my desk, this drawer isn’t opened much.  The “essentials” have become, more or less, nonessential.

1) Paper clips.  I don’t even recall when I bought this little box.  A long time ago, for sure, and it’s still almost full.  I used to go through paper clips like crazy; I also used to use paper.

2)  Staples.  Ditto.  I still have plenty of staples and two staplers that work perfectly, but when I “attach” a document to a “letter” these days, I push the button with the picture of the paper clip like everybody else does. 

3)  Pencils.  I have always liked the scent of wooden pencils.  I like the feel of a pencil.  I like the way words written with a pencil can be easily erased as if they never existed.  But you can do that quicker with “delete” or “backspace.”

4)  Big, pink erasers.  These were once great for the big errors; one could erase whole paragraphs and dust away the eraser crumbs.  “Delete” gets rid of the big errors, too, and doesn’t leave a trail of crumbs.

5)  Pens.  I must admit that I still use pens quite a lot.  I often write in longhand and I am constantly underlining and writing notes in the margins of the books I read.  But pens are not nearly as essential as they were in the old days when I wrote real letters and cards and notes…which brings me to other stuff I don’t use anymore.

6)  Envelopes.  I do use envelopes to mail the bills, but those are almost always included with the bill.  I rarely buy envelopes or…

7)  Stationary.  I remember purchasing brightly-colored stationary when I was in college and I wrote long letters on pages of  lemon, lime, and tangerine.  I loved getting letters in the mail, too.  It was always exciting to discover an envelope that looked like a splash of ripe mango amongst the stacks of bills and advertisements.  “Personal” and “business” were easier to separate back then.

8)  Notecards.  Little blank cards with a pretty picture or painting or drawing on the front could be used for so many things — “thank-you” notes, invitations, friendly greetings.  I still use them, of course, but not nearly as much as I once did.  In fact, the box of blank cards I found in my drawer when I was looking for the paper clip have been there for years.  The front has a picture of a fat chef with his arms full of loaves of bread.  I was planning a dinner party at the time.   Now, more often than not, I use email.  People get the invite right away; I get a quick response; and I can surf for recipes and save the menu on Word quicker than I could have licked the stamps.

9) Wite Out.  I used to have the tape, correction pens, and those little bottles of liquid chalk.  Does anyone use Wite Out anymore?  Why?  I noticed the other day that it’s still being sold in my local office supply store.  No one I know uses a typewriter.  Perhaps the white stuff is used to correct handwritten notes?  Otherwise, why not correct and print out a new page?  Anyone know?

10) Scissors and paste.  Yes, they go together.  Or they once did.  I still use scissors for any number of tasks, but not nearly as much as I used to when “cut and paste” meant one literally had to cut — and paste.  I recall reading through mountains of pages, clipping here and there, pasting elsewhere, and then retyping the whole tome — a report, manuscript, technical paper, etc. — to reflect the changes.

Perhaps this computer-savvy generation should have to do at least one big school project that requires the original method of cut-and-paste.  I’m not saying this to be mean.  On the contrary, I think there is wisdom to be gained from such an “adventure” into the unknown.  Sometimes I think one can only develop a true appreciation of the short-cuts in life after having spent some time taking the long way around. 




  1. I’m a huge gadget geek, but I still love doing some things the old fashioned way. I’ll type when its a huge project, but write with pen and paper for shorter pieces. I love my Kindle for traveling and downloading books I can’t find anywhere else, but I still love picking up a book thick with pages. Finding a balance is key, so we don’t forget where we came from on the way to where we are going. Besides that, my eyes need a break from all the illuminated screens in my life. 😉

    • CB…you’re so right!

  2. I guess I’m still in the dark ages when it comes to paper — I like paper, I print out many things that I find online or are sent to me, and I use staplers to bind the pages together. Paperclips, not so much — to me, paperclips are temporary, they snag, they clip a page that shouldn’t be part of the “group”, ha! I also buy notecards and print my own up — I use them all the time. I’m also a book person, not a kindle or nook person.

    • K…I used to print out all kinds of stuff and file everything in folders and, more often than not, never went back to them. Now, I click on the star and “bookmark” pages online. I don’t go back to those much either. I dog ear pages in books and use tons of those little, colorful sticky notes to mark pages with the idea that some day I’ll go through the books and copy the passages I’ve marked in a notebook or journal. I haven’t gotten around to that either. Oh well!

  3. I love paper. I write my ideas on paper, I might even write a short description or an outline on paper. Somehow it feels good. 🙂

    • I like paper, too, and still prefer to read “real” books, as opposed to e-books.

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