Today's Tip: Everyone doesn't need a pencil NOW.
Junk drawers: I know everyone has them. Most people don't know for sure what's in theirs and I admit I don't know everything that is in mine, but for today let's just get real about those pens and pencils. Will you ever have fifty-seven people in your house who all need to jot down notes AT THE SAME TIME? You will not. Unless you host some kind of large convention in your kitchen and no one brings their own laptops or writing utensils, you will never need half of the pens, pencils, and markers that are hiding in your junk drawer. I bet if you're anything like I used to be, a good portion of those pens don't even work anymore. The pencils are a combination of goodie bag and reward pencils from various kid-functions, some quality #2 pencils from when you used to teach, and seventeen pen lids. Only one-third of the pencils are acceptably sharpened and many have erasers that don't work. Some are sharpened on both ends because the kids went through a phase of thinking that was funny. It's not a pretty picture.
I have to go through my junk drawer, which includes my writing utensils, every couple months. I quickly test the pens and toss any that don't write easily and well. I sharpen the good pencils and throw out the crappy ones and some good ones too. I've found that most pencils with patterns on them are complete garbage. Sorry, Power Rangers and Angelina Ballerina, your pencils are even worse than you are.
I don't know how exactly, but we always accumulate more and more pens and pencils regardless of how many I toss out. I spent too much of my life keeping way more than I actually need in many ways, and this is one super-simple place to cut back. It feels better to own a bouquet of ten freshly sharpened, firm pencils and five working pens than to own a drawer full of random writing utensils that you have to sort through and test before you can jot a note down.
Here's our junk drawer. We just use a standard, adjustable drawer divider, probably from Target. To keep it from overflowing though, I do have to go through it often.
Go confront those pens and pencils today! You can always donate them to a school or church if you don't want to throw them out.