Review: Avery Magnet Sheets Make Awesome Refrigerator & Locker Magnets!

I have to admit: when the folks at Avery shared a few of their Box Tops for America eligible office supplies, I was most excited about the Personal Creations Magnet Sheets. Yeah, the tab dividers, label pads and dry erase markers that came along with the magnetic sheets have more practical applications in my day to day work life, but dude! Magnetic paper! I didn’t even know such a thing existed! Continue reading

Cool Crayola Coloring Techniques & Free Crayola Crayons, Markers & Colored Pencils

Summer has its share of rainy days just like every other season, as well as days when it’s just too darn hot to leave the comfort of an air conditioned room. Just ask the folks in New York trying not to melt in that heatwave. When it’s too hot or too wet for your kids to do anything but stay inside and color, Crayola’s got you covered. Continue reading

Mead School Supplies Never Go Out of Style!

When I saw this old school Mead Trapper Keeper ad, I immediately flashed back to my own school days. Well, immediately after laughing at those ’80s hairstyles. While I was always sad to see the summer end and return to school, I still enjoyed the back to school shopping. Back in the day, the best part of school shopping was stocking up on all things Lisa Frank — binders, note books and stickers too.

Every kid needs a good supply of Mead products at the start of the new school year. That’s why On Time Supplies giving away Mead note books and filler paper as part the Back To School Give-away! They’re not be emblazoned with day-glo unicorns, for which your children will thank you! Kids today just don’t appreciate the retina-burning neon like we did in the old days!

To get your chance to win a school year’s supply of Mead note books, loose leaf paper and other essential school supplies, all you have to do is subscribe to Smart Office and drop us a comment here telling us you really want them!

I Love Office Supplies Too!

This blog is powered by research. We here at Smart Office are constantly on the lookout for career and office product information you can actually use. In the process of scouring the Internet for that info, I’ve come to a startling realization: there are a lot of people way into office supplies. I have seen countless odes to paper clips, mechanical pencils, sticky notes and markers in blogs from around the world! A Google search of the exclamation “I love office supplies” yields more than 26,000 hits. I work for a great office products supplier and all that office supply love seemed a little over the to to me, but it did get me thinking. There are definitely some office supplies that I find especially useful and some I just get a little kick out using. That realization presented me with an opportunity to indulge in the blogger’s favorite activity: list making! My favorite office products in no particular order:

Wrist rest: I’ve had my wrist rest for years, but I never even bothered to take it out of the package until I got this gig. After working from home for a few days, the numbness in my hands and shooting pains in my arms alerted me to the fact that my tiny desk was laid out fine for casual web surfing, but was murder as a workstation. That’s when I pulled out the keyboard wrist rest my least favorite aunt gave me a few Christmases ago. What a difference it makes! I thought I was going to have to buy a new desk, but now I work comfortably at all day. So, thanks Auntie! Maybe one day I’ll learn to love the ice scraper you got me this past Christmas as much as I love my wrist rest!
Multi-colored Post-it Notes: My Post-its are my everything — my message board, my note pad, my address book, my daily planner. I am so glad they are available in so many colors since my wall is covered in them. That way I can call it art instead of a mess!
Roller Ball Pen: For the most part, I only have to actually hand write notes and memos to myself, which is great because I have terrible hand writing. Plus, I get to use pink ink and not worry about looking unprofessional!
microSDHC Card: Ok, I’ll admit it. This isn’t so much an office supply, as a boost-the-song-storage-capacity- of-my-not-an-iPod-mp3-play supply. Still, I seriously couldn’t live without it!
Cable ties: I didn’t even know about this useful little product until I started at On Time Supplies. Again, now that I sit at my computer desk all day, I have a new appreciation of products designed to increase comfort and organization. These cheap ties work great to keep all my cords organized and neatly tucked a way.
Space Heater: You can’t just crank up the thermostat when you feel like it in most offices. I can here at home, but I also pay the heating bill. So yes, you still need a “work sweater” and a space heater when you work from home!
And there you have it — the office supplies I  pretty much can’t live without and the Smart Office Blog contribution to the “I love office supplies” meme!

Fun Cold and Rainy Day Art Projects for Kids

As I watch the news in the morning, I take [cold] comfort in the weather forecasts of other cities. Sure, it’s cold enough to want to die here in Chicago, but hey, it’s not much better in New York or Kansas City, and it’s always worse in Alaska. Misery loves company, it’s true. I also enjoy fantasizing about living some place warmer. It is a cruel 15 degrees outside in Chicago today, and the wind is blowing so cold and so hard that every resident of the city has to wonder, why not California? Or Florida? Or, while we’re dreaming, Acapulco?

Beach fantasies aside, most of us aren’t going to pack up and move, so we have to come up with coping strategies. This can be extra challenging for parents. Some days, it’s just too cold for your kids to wear themselves out outside. When it’s too cold for your kid to go out and play, take a page out of her teacher’s book and hit up the websites of art and craft suppliers for fun indoor projects!

Crayola offers projects using everything from crayons to clay. This finger-painted greeting card project is my favorite because though it’s designed for kids, the results are more attractive than some of the stuff you see for sale on Etsy! In addition to all the art and craft projects, the Crayola site also features enough free coloring pages to occupy your kids on every winter and rainy day of their childhood!

Pacon also offers projects in a range of mediums. I love their construction paper Mola textile project! The mess is easily taken care of with a broom or vacuum cleaner, and it’s a great way to start a conversation about other cultures!

The Prismacolor site has a lot on offer for older kids. If your teen is a budding artist, she’ll love tips and techniques from professional artists on getting the most from her art pencils and markers. The Prismacolor site also features a gallery guaranteed to inspire!

It’s probably too much to much to hope your kids will put down the TV remote and video game controllers forever. Still art projects offer one more great way of keeping your kids occupied during the long winter months, and fostering your kids creativity is not a bad bonus!

Article: There are still Typewriter Repairmen

Just for a neat little just-for-fun article over at The Ledger.  It details the lives and times of some of the remaining typewriter repairmen, who apparently still do quite well for themselves:

Jerry Hatfield, 53, owner of Typewriter Service Center, agrees that business has changed over the past decade but says he won’t be leaving the field he enjoys working in anytime soon.

“We don’t get as many calls, but I still make a good living at it,” he said with confidence.

Overall, a really interesting article. Be sure to take a look; some of the information may surprise you.

The Snackbot: King of All Office Supplies

Man, I need to get me one of these. GadgetReview is showcasing the newest in must-have office supplies: The Snackbot.

This may well be the king of all office supplies.  No, it’s not one of those sweet executive ball-clacker deals (even though they are sweet).  Nor is it a dartboard or a Blackberry or anything like that.  No, the unquestioned king of all office supplies has to be Snackbot.

Snackbot is a big talking yellow and white robot that delivers snacks directly to your desk on command.  There’s a downside, though…there’s only ONE SNACKBOT, and he’s currently being held at Carnegie Mellon University, where it’s basically under construction as a way to find how an autonomous robot can operate within the busy, highly complex operations of a modern office.  Apparently there’s a lot of programming involved for a robot that can successfully make snack runs throughout a typical office building.

Hopefully, one day, Snackbots will be as ubiquitous as the coffee maker in most offices, but until then, you know Carnegie Mellon will be getting loads of snacks out of this.

Humor: Staples Forced to Cut Staples To Save Money

The Huffington Post has a satirical article that lampoons some of the ridiculous measures companies are taking to cut costs in this struggling economy. One of the highlights of this “memo” from Staples has to do with cutting, well, staples:

Staples: They may seem like an insignificant cost, but fears about the stability of the dollar mean the cost of durable items, like metals, has skyrocketed, pushing the average price per 1000 staples from $.79 to $.84.

Instead of throwing money away like that, we encourage you to use paper-folding techniques (for a demonstration, please visit Ted in accounting; he’s a whiz at origami!) that will make you wonder why you ever used staples in the first place! To that end, we will be collecting office-owned staplers at the end of the week for resale.

Alternately, you’re welcome to remove and attempt to reuse staples from documents stapled before this change goes into effect, but the management would like to remind you that blood traces are not acceptable on finished reports.

Check out the humorous article and try to keep a straight face. It really does a great job of showcasing how desperate some companies are getting these days. Remember, before you cut out pens from your budget, try looking into a cheap alternative to the big-box boys. (I know, I know, it’s a humor article, but the point stands!)