Hello! Sure, we now live in a digital age with many office tasks being done online, but there's still a need for ordinary office supplies. I'm talking about things like paper clips, thumbtacks, pencils, notebooks, folders, clipboards, that sort of thing. You can find such items brand new, of course, in many retail locations - but you can also find them very cheaply at thrift stores. And for a vintage lover like me, there's the opportunity to find older versions of ordinary office supplies too!
By "very cheaply", I'm talking under a dollar, such as the 75c I paid for this:
A heavy-duty plastic four-pocket folder; original price tag of $2.15 inside. I like to pack a handful of magazines (also thrifted) to pass the time on long trips; I'll read through them and then tear out pages of recipes, decorating ideas, craft projects, and whatever else catches my fancy. The multi-pocketed folder keeps these pages sorted by topic.
Another plastic folder; this one has six accordian-style pockets. Paid 50c for this.
Another storage piece, this time made of heavy cardboard:
This box measures 12h"x11w"x2 3/4"d and closes with a metal latch. To me, it looks like something that might have been on the shelf of a lawyer's office. However, in my hands it became storage for articles from craft magazines. (Purchased for 75c)
More mundane-looking, but still useful:
A container of various sizes of paper clips, 50c. I needed some larger-sized paper clips, which is why I made this purchase. But I liked that some of the paper clips included have a copper color - something a little different than the usual silvery type.
If I have a choice between new and vintage thumbtacks, I'll go for the latter:
These were made by the American Tack Company, whose address on the box is New York 10, N. Y. Thus, I know that these were made sometime between 1943-1963. 25c.
I was always borrowing my husband's letter opener, but finally decided to get my own, for 50c:
And here's how I can tell it's vintage:
Four-digit phone number. I'm not from Holland, MI, so I don't know when four-digit phone numbers started here, nor when they ended. But it's likely that such a phone number means that this letter opener is old. Don't think this company is in business anymore, at least not with this name.
Also vintage, but not shown, is a bag of pencils I'd gotten. Not all of them were vintage, but most of them were. I think I paid a dollar for a bag of around a dozen and a half. Some were only slightly used - and some had never been sharpened - so I got them for our daughter, who I swear used to eat pencils when she lived at home. I'm exaggerating, of course, but it did seem like she went through pencils awfully fast! New pencils show up all the time at thrift stores, but I'd rather buy vintage ones there if they're in good shape. Sometimes the erasers on these old pencils have gotten too hard to be usable, but pencil eraser caps do the trick instead.
And the reason why I'm not showing the pencils? Well, because she used them all up!
Of all the ordinary office supplies I'm showing off here, this last item is the only one for which I forked over more than a dollar:
I paid two dollars for a box of blank paper sheets measuring 4 3/4"x3 1/8". I figured that these papers would be a nice size for writing notes, lists, etc. I've turned some of them into fun little notepads by gluing a stack together at one of the short ends, then folding and gluing a standard-size playing card over the glued end. One such example:
Above, I'd glued a Loteria card to the end of the papers. This pad is almost used up, but no matter - there's almost a pound and a half of paper in the box, so there's plenty more notepads I can make! (the box, by the way, had come from La Veen's Hallmark of Grand Rapids, Michigan, but I have no idea what the paper was originally used for).
Of course, I can buy ready-made notepads galore at the thrift stores, along with notebooks, notebook paper, label makers, pens, legal pads, rulers, staplers, and more. I've just shown off a few of my purchases. Your mileage may vary, but you're bound to find something useful in the way of ordinary office supplies!