Monday Must-Haves: Office Supplies

Might seem like obvious things to own, but you’d be surprised how many fledglings forget to buy basic office supplies for their first new nest. Today’s post is all about some basic items you should always keep on-hand. It’s not an exhaustive list, of course, but it’s a good start.

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Clip Art

Every now and then, I’ll post easy projects that can be used to make useful items for around the new nest. Consider it part Lifehacker, part Martha Stewart!

I have two roommates, and we occasionally have to leave checks for one another to pay our share of utilities or rent. Three girls also means three people receiving mail, so letters tend to get left on the dining room table and forgotten or slipped under the bedroom door and trampled. I could’ve bought us all little baskets for our doors or a mail divider for the entryway, but instead I decided to go cheap.

Project materials:

1 package of wooden clothespins ($1 from a dollar store)
1 package of medium Command strips by 3M ($3 from most mass-market retailers)
1 roll of adhesive magnet strips ($4 from a craft store, such as Michael’s)
Acrylic craft paint and paint brushes, if desired
Coloring pencil or thin marker, if desired

You’ll also need scissors and isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, which you should already have. (We’ll talk about must-have household supplies in later articles.)

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The Dish Fairy Doesn’t Live Here

Washing dishes is easy, right? Just shove ’em in the dishwasher or leave them in the sink for the Dish Fairy, amiright? Alas, my little fledglings, there is no magical Dish Fairy once you’ve left the nest. Hint: there never was one. (Crazy, I know.)

There’s an old joke about a young bachelor who, upon learning his mother was coming to visit, filled the bathtub with his dirty dishes so she wouldn’t see them piled on his kitchen counter. Dishes are one of those things best done early and often, as the task may seem overwhelming once they’ve piled up a bit. Always scrape any excess food particles into a trash can or in-sink garbage disposal. Next, figure out whether the dish in question can be put in the dishwasher (if you have one), or if it has to be hand-washed. For me, it seems obvious which dishes have to be hand-washed, but my fledgling roommates needed some help, so I created a decision tree to help them figure it out on their own. While it doesn’t cover everything (yes, my Corelle platter is technically larger than a dinner plate; no it doesn’t HAVE to be hand-washed), it’s a good start for making smart choices.

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Ware to Start

You could eat off paper plates, but you’d be tossing money in the trash can. You can get by with a cheap set of plastic or melamine, but probably shouldn’t put them in the microwave. Stoneware looks good and grown-up, but it weighs a ton and chips easily. Porcelain is fragile and laughably expensive for a fledgling.

You need something that is inexpensive, lightweight, durable, dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe, good-looking, and versatile. Seems impossible, doesn’t it?

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Beyond the Nest

Your first time living away from home is probably going to be full of adjustments. At home, you may have had a maternal figure who did all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry, and maybe a paternal figure who took care of the maintenance, repairs, and yard-mowing. You might have never hung a curtain rod, set up a wireless network, checked your own tire pressure, mended a torn hem, or cooked an entire meal from scratch.

Welcome to the world beyond the nest… you’re on your own.

In this blog, I hope to share my experience and know-how. I want to demystify cooking, simplify cleaning, reduce clutter, lower expenses, and generally just try to help you live on your own without having to call home every night for help and advice. I don’t know everything, but I do know a lot, and what I don’t know, I’m willing to learn. I hope you’ll appreciate learning along with me.