“Office supplies?” My daughter Dorina frowns as she reads the sign I just put on top of the wooden cabinet I just bought recently in bulk at Euroffice.
“Why do we have them in the house, Dad? Are you trying to hide them here? Don’t you think they should be in your office?”
“Honey, from now on, I will be having my home office. I’ll be working here during Saturdays and Sundays. Your Mom and I decided we better push through with our small business because lately we’re receiving so many orders online. People seem to like your Mom’s cupcakes. Mom will be busy here during weekdays; I’ll be helping her during the weekends.”
Dorina looks up for a while as if thinking hard before giving a definite answer. Then her eyes grow big, then she blurts out, in a worried tone, “Dad, I don’t know how to work with the computer. I’m afraid I can’t even operate that fax machine. So, is it all right if I will be the one tasked to manage your office items?”
I am surprised with Dorina’s offer. It never crosses my mind that my nine-year-old daughter will volunteer to partake in her parent’s business. Instead of giving her an affirmative answer, I even discourage her by saying that she’s still a kid and playing must be her thing. While I thank her for her initiative to help, I tell my daughter that she just can’t handle the office items, especially because she’s still lacking the necessary skills, like sorting, classifying, and all those stuffs needed to come up with a properly managed home office items.
Managing Office Supplies Can Be a Child’s Thing, Too
But Dorina, being the persistent girl that she is, insists on her willingness to help. She adds that she can do such a demanding task (Secretly, I’m impressed with the way she speaks and the words she’s using) and that she’s already familiar with some of the office supplies having seen them in the bookstores that we’ve visited before. She even enumerates them one by one: ballpoint pens, folders, envelopes, index cards, pencils, binder clips, glues, Post-it notes, white paper (for printing and photocopying; she even mentions these particular uses), and others. She adds that she’ll treat them special like her toys.
“I beg to disagree, Honey. I know you have the habit of leaving your toys after you play with them. Mom always reminds you to keep tidy with your toys. You can’t always be like that with your things, Dorina, especially when you’re dealing with these important supplies. These supplies are very important in running a business, including ours. Without them, even if we have the fax machine, the phone, or the computer, we depend very much on these things in order to ensure that everything in the business is running smoothly. We need to put high value on each of the items; we cannot simply leave a pair of scissors behind or let pieces of white paper clutter around as if they’re old newspapers or plies of tissue. We should neither use them senselessly nor waste them. Do you get me, Honey? Office items, whether they’re in the office or here at home, should be properly organised,” I said to Dorina in a mellow tone so she won’t think I’m nagging her.
Then I ask her about the reason behind the need to put the supplies inside a cabinet and not on top of a table or desk or any other places in the house. My daughter’s answer comes after thinking for a moment (which she always do by looking up, rolling her eyes, and pointing a finger to her head): “It’s very important that we put them in one place, like in a cabinet, so it will be easy for us to get them once we need them, Dad.” I readily agree with her answer telling her that she’s showing early signs of being a potential supply keeper, and a good one, I must add.
Proper Organising of Office Supplies A Must
I use that chance to share to her other things about organising home office items. I tell her: “Properly organising an office supply cabinet or any storage ensures that all available items will be used up. Mismanaged and disorderly office supply storage locations result in waste of money and resources. With this situation, it is common for somebody in charged of the supplies to overlook what is available and order when there are still plenty of items on hand. Keeping office items organised, especially at home, allows us to account for the supply consumption and gain better control or limit to expenses.”
“I see, Dad,” Dorina agrees as she bows her head repeatedly making facial gestures that I love about her. Then she asks if putting the supplies in a cabinet is enough and that if there’s a need to do other necessary steps. Again, I’m impressed by Dorina’s sensibility and the way she thinks about things.
To satisfy her curiosity, I tell her: “To organise office items, it is best to first clear the entire space of such items. It’s very crucial to find a big area where these can be transferred and sorted accordingly. Taking note of all available office items makes arranging much faster and easier. Then, you need to sort each and group the same. For example, pens are to be grouped together and placed collectively near other writing materials, such as markers and pencils. This way, supplies may easily be retrieved without difficulty (As I am talking, I show Dorina what the inside of the cabinet looks like pointing on the pens and then to other materials).Look, paper products are on a different level the same with those tapes and other materials used for sealing or packing. In that manner, it will be easy for you to locate the things you need. It doesn’t mean that you have to put everything in the cabinet then ‘que sera sera;’ because if that’s the case,
we defeat the purpose of keeping things in proper organization.” I see that as I speak, Dorina is very attentive.
Office Items Inventory is Very Necessary
Then Dorina says something about an inventory. She asks if we need to do some inventory. I agree and say: “Actually, before we place all the office supplies in the cabinet, an inventory or list of all the items must be done. This way, if you’ll be the one in charge of keeping inventories, you can take note of all the supplies on hand and refrain from ordering the same when they’re still in stock. This way, the money that will be used to buy them will be put to other important and more urgent needs.”
As I continue on with the instant lecture cum training with my daughter, I share to her other things which I am not quite sure if her young mind can digest. I talk about being realistic in storing office items and this means asking oneself if all the items will be used. That’s why an inventory is needed early on; but if there are indeed items that are seldom or never used, it’s better to allot a container, like a box, where all the items will be placed and be given as donation to someone who can use them.
Better to Give Than to Keep
Part of being realistic is determining how long the stored product will last. Six months? For a year? Two or three? This must be known because the storage space where supplies will be placed should have enough space. Additionally, such products like glue and ink pens don’t last for long because they dry out. Setting a use-by date (ours is for six months) is important in order to keep supplies that will be used by that date. Again, if there will be excesses, those may go to the “donation” box.
The idea about donating extra supplies to others, I think, will do well for Dorina in the long run. I want her to learn that the virtue of giving, when one’s in abundance, is a good thing, and that it will eventually lead to the blessings being multiplied. That means, God willing, more and more people will buy our cupcakes.
To be sure, when that happens, Dorina will be managing more and more office supplies. And until then, she would have been my Supplies Manager.
When Business is Booming, Office Supplies are Teeming; Shar