Pens and Pencils and Highlighters, Oh My!

Have you noticed the back to school displays that are just chock full of brand new school and office supplies?

Yes, we know they’ve been there since right around when school ended a few months ago. We chose to ignore them until now.

There is just something about a brand new pencil or a never before opened pack of highlighters that brings us joy.

Back-to-school time is a perfect time to re-evaluate what has a home in the office supply bins that you keep stocked, packed and ready to go on-site to an event at a moment’s notice.

Do You Use It?

As planners, we like to be prepare for every contingency and our on-site supply bins probably reflect this.  But, do we really need to lug around or ship an entire assortment of acrylic literature display holders just because we needed one once five years ago?  Take the time to evaluate what you do and don’t use during an event, and then lighten the bins up with the items that are never used. 

What is Always on Your Shopping List?

Think about the items that always seem to find their way onto your on-site shopping list.  Save some time (and probably some money too) by stocking those things into your supply bins.

The flip side to this is to consider the size or weight of your bins if you need to ship them.  If you need a case of paper for every event, that is something best left out of your shipment and kept on your on-site shopping list.

Don’t Be Obsessive

I know, planners are hard-wired to be obsessive.  But, this is the perfect opportunity to prove to the world that we can let go. Of some things. Sometimes.

We probably don’t really need triplicates of every item in the bin just in case the first 2 get lost, broken, or stolen.  And always bringing 4 boxes of file folders when we typically only grab one or two folders during an event may be a bit overboard. And 300 pens at a half-day meeting for 20 people could be a bit much. 

Take some time to think through the common types of events that you manage and then create a few different bins to best suit their needs. One planner we know created bins based on 1 day, 2-3 day, and more than 4 day events.

Keep Good Inventory

It is highly likely that every event will have some specialized needs when it comes to on-site supplies.  And it’s usually likely that you will have some (and sometimes all!) of those supplies left at the end of the event.  Don’t just unpack these items and leave them to no-man’s land in your office supply cabinet; take the time to create an inventory list so you know that you already have 10 packs of colored dot stickers that are each only missing exactly one sticker.  Otherwise, you may order 6 brand new packs for another event 6 months later, and then end up with 16 packs of colored dot stickers that are each only missing exactly one sticker.

Don’t worry, owner of 16 packs of barely used colored dot stickers, we’re not naming any names!

Your Turn

Beyond the basics, what is the one item you absolutely, positively cannot live without in your event supply bin?  Check out  our Facebook page to learn what ours is! 

Image courtesy of iprole