My Dad taught me not to trust people without pen jars.

I mentioned yesterday that I’m doing a monthly challenge…am I breaking any “Monthly Challenge Rules” by writing about it? Like, does it discourage people to sign up if I’m telling what we’re doing? I hope not. But yesterday’s prompt was basically a basket of blog material so I have to write about it.

Yesterday’s prompt involved your jar o’ pens.

Always be suspicious…

This reminded me about how my Dad became – kind of jokingly – suspicious of anyone who did not have a jar of pens out in the open in their house. He laughed with me about it often, as he would be at my friend’s houses to pick me up and wonder where their pens were. We had jars of pens in all main areas of our house, it blew his mind that people didn’t have the same. He wondered: Are they hiding them somewhere? Why would they want to hide them? Or the more nefarious option in both of our minds: Do they not need pens often enough to keep them out an accessible? I mean…anyone who didn’t need easy access to writing utensils obviously was up to no good.

We joked about it often, although we were also partly serious. I mean, we understood logically that not everyone is a chronic list-maker, but we didn’t understand it practically. How do those people live?

And we just felt sorry for people who hid their pens. WHY WERE THEY SO ASHAMED?

Anyway – yesterday’s prompt just had me laughing, wondering what the people on the list were doing who didn’t have pen jars. Because – I learned growing up – they DO exist…as insane as it sounds.

Hmmm…I have a lot of pens


I first pulled my pen jars all together. I keep a pen jar in the kitchen as many lists are made in there and the kids hand me papers that need to be signed or they do their homework at the breakfast table…so we keep the pen jar in there. I also keep one on my desk (for obvious reason) and several months ago I started keeping on in my bedroom. I did this because SOMETIMES the kids do homework in there and SOMETIMES I’m in there in need of a pen. But that’s rare so I knew the first thing I’d do was get rid of that jar.

I also had two bags of pens, one that is always in my purse and contains other bullet journaling supplies. And one that stays in my desk drawer.

But Kim, why do you have a bag of pens in your desk drawer if you have a jar of pens on your desk?

Good question. I have no idea. Basically I just have so many pens I decided to create a second tier of awesomeness (the first tier is in my purse, obviously) and hide them in the bag in my desk. But – here’s the thing – that bag rarely gets opened. OBVIOUSLY. We have plenty of other pens in the house! So, I decided that bag would need to go too.

SO! I wondered how I was going to condense this down since I don’t believe in throwing away good pens.

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Welp. Turns out? I have a lot of pens. So many that there were plenty of crappy pens in the jars that the other people in my family use. I just know where all of the awesome pens are so I had no idea there were so many crappy pens elsewhere. So! I actually was able to get rid of quite a few crappy pens and now, EVERY stash point in my life is full of GOOD PENS. And that is an AMAZING feeling. I don’t have to go to my purse unless I need a specific color or weight. There are good pens in the kitchen and on my desk too! This is SO AMAZING.

I kinda want to reward myself by buying more pens.

The kid zone

The kids have a stash of toys/crayons/notepads in the kitchen. All of their stuff is upstairs, but they constantly were leaving things in the kitchen, so we decided a long time ago to give them their own baskets on a shelf in the kitchen for their stuff. Unfortunately – it had NO organization to it. So, I used the inspiration from the pen prompt to go through that basket in the kitchen with THEIR stuff. I sharpened some of their pencils and put them in the kitchen jar so they’d have easy access for homework. I threw away broken crayons and dried up markers. I separated their stuff into TWO baskets. Toys/games/cards and writing/drawing supplies. Hopefully the organization will help them find what they need easier, it definitely makes me feel better looking at the baskets now.

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I’m not going to write about all the prompts, obviously, because I want you to sign up. But for someone like me who A) Sometimes feels overwhelmed by the junk surrounding her or B) Really enjoys organizing — These prompts have been like a morning cup of coffee. I did this morning’s prompt (I won’t tell you what it was!) before I even finished my morning cup of coffee! And it’s a GREAT start to the day. It’s like detoxing your home. Getting rid of what you don’t need so that everything functions better.

Now…even if you’re not doing the Subtraction Project, can I see your pen jar? If you hide your pens…WHY ARE YOU SO ASHAMED? And if you don’t have a pen jar…HOW DO YOU LIVE?

12 thoughts on “My Dad taught me not to trust people without pen jars.”

  1. If you feel inspired to write about every single prompt you are welcome too! I made it free because I believe it should just help people not cost. And seeing how much value you found in it makes me smile. I agree with your dad!

  2. At first I thought, well, sure, we have a “pen jar” (never called it that!) in the kitchen, but that’s it. But then I remembered there’s one in the guest room (by the computer), and one in our bedroom, and how about the vanity drawer where pens go to die?

    Do you know of any place that accepts used pens?

  3. My pens are all in an Elmo lunchbox because my children will largely ignore anything child-themed but if I kept them in an official looking “pen jar” then they would lose their minds, draw on every surface and use the pens as weapons…

  4. I have a pen jar in my bedroom, kitchen and dining room. And my kids each have one in their rooms. πŸ™‚

  5. I have an official pen jar on the kitchen counter, but it has expanded into an unofficial pen flower pot because it is so full. I have another pen jar on the table a few feet away that is full of my son’s school pens and pencils, because he sits at the table to do homework. In the other rooms, the pens are just stuck here and there. I need to set up more pen jars!

  6. i just signed up for the challenge!

    (assuming i keep these up) by the end of april, between this and the bullet journal, i’ll be so freaking organized and clean and productive that i will not even know what to do with myself. maybe. πŸ™‚

  7. I don’t have a ‘jar’ but a bin of random office-y stuff, pens included. And I also have 2, yes TWO, boxes of 96 Crayola crayons- which I don’t use so I can preserve the ‘speshulness’… I have 2 tot-sized nieces- I bet they’ll love them!!

    Unused Crayons = Subtracted!!

  8. I love pens. Pen jar in kitchen counter, in all of the bedrooms. Also I have scissors in every single room of the house, including bathrooms. I always need them to cut stuff, I don’t want to go from rooms to rooms to search them. My husband goes to a lot of conventions for work, he always brings me back tons of pens.

  9. there are people without pen jars? how?!?! I have several, around the house, and of different types! I love it when businesses have pens with their name on them that they are giving away. πŸ™‚

  10. I don’t have a pen jar. Please don’t shun me. I do have three junk drawers in my kitchen, all of which contain pens. I hide my favorite pen on top of the fridge, so the kids don’t use it. It’s my Precious.

  11. I have several pen jars on my desk and one in the kitchen and then there are pens/mechanical pencils scattered EVERYWHERE throughout my house. They’re in drawers and on tables/desks. It’s a problem really, of course it’s not Monica’s phone pen problem. . .sorry ‘Friends’ reference.

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