Staple Removers

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AKA the attack of the de-staplers.

As mentioned earlier this week in the comments of a quest for a stapler de-staplers are a problem, they are flimsy, annoying and either attack you or the paper. If you don’t feel confident enough to try Michael’s technique of using pliers (stay tuned for the YouTube Video) I have two potential solutions for you.

Our law firm buys stationery in bulk, everyone gets the cheapo staplers and de-staplers. However, due to repetitive strain injury from using these staplers we managed to get our team alternative staplers. Next on our list is the de-staplers.

The photocopying guy has a great selection, so my colleague stole what is known as a swingline stapler remover (aka Rexel Sampson Staple Extractor here in the UK) to use today. And here it is:

Now the paper has to be flat on that table, which depending on your method of working can be a good or bad thing. For example when we are dealing with a flurry of incoming post, it is quite slow, and not a great benefit, however, when we are dealing with bundles of documents from insurers which are a few hundred pages with a stupidly huge staple through them, it is well worth it. The same applies to trial bundles and some case files. It gets the staple out cleanly, giving you extra strength with it’s spring loaded lever handle. However, at £9.99 it is a bit pricy compared to the more traditional stapler removers for a couple of quid.

So if the heavy duty one is a bit out of your price range, or you never really deal with huge documents there is another great de-stapler in a more traditional style. The Sparco Stapler remover – more sturdy than the traditional bulk ones we have in work and takes the staplers out cleanly. In additional I have yet to have one break on me, so that’s good news.

Restyled: Disposable To-Do List

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As many of my regular readers  may remember, last year (and up to recently) I have been using my so called disposable to-do list. However, I have taken a new approach to this in recent weeks using my Emma Bridgewater Notebook. The notebook is a nice pocket sized notebook suitable for carrying round everywhere, but prettier than the previous reporter’s notebooks.

What I do:

Each double page (ie opened pages) is a “category” of To-dos. Rather than simply list everything on the one page, I’ve split them up into categories, although we still just use a running list to record the information. This means if you want to tackle a particular type of to-do it is easy to find.  At the moment I have 2 sets of categories, the first includes things like:

  • job applications
  • general online
  • blog
  • get in contact with
  • money
  • sign language
  • work

All of which are particular types of tasks as they relate to or are for a specific purpose. However, the second set of categories is for if I know when I want to do something. For example I have an “on the train” list for things I know I can do while passing time on the train. Another example would be if it is a big task and I can’t fit it in on a working day it gets put on my “for the weekend” list for example my current entries are:

  • get my tyres checked
  • fill up with petrol (post payday); and
  • Paint something.

Why is this better?

This is better than the disposable to do list where you have to hunt through the list for something you can do at that moment in time. This list method allows you to select things depending on where you are or what sort of a mood you are in, without imposing any deadline restrictions as the principles of free form, striking things out and the fact you can do any thing anytime taken from the disposable to-dos still applies.

Everyone makes to-dos so complicated, over-complicated when in reality all you need to do is jot it down, this method keeps this – you are simply jotting it down, but you simply flick over the page and jot it down, starting a new category if there are no similar categories in your notebook.


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At work we have failed to consider the use of an ecostapler, shocking because:

  • we pride ourselves in being “green”
  • of how expensive all the staples and staplers must be (our team alone goes through a box of staples a week, and before our latest purchases, a stapler a month, easy).
  • of the simplicity of it all.

Fair enough the eco staples (we do get the odd one passing through our office, I’m talking once a fortnight here) are annoying to get out so we can feed the pages through the scanner, but if you know the staple is to stay – it is very secure. Although such a small stapler may not seem suitable for office work (depending on your usage) there is no reason why individuals couldn’t have one. After all “If everyone in UK offices saved just one staple a day, we’d save 72 tonnes of metal a year”. (Shocking figure).

So what is not to like: green, cute, gadgety, and you never run out of staples. Come pay day and its on my shopping list: a bargain at £4.99.

A Quest to find a Stapler

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You may think I am mad, but we (as an office) have been having difficultly finding me the perfect stapler. In the past week I’ve tried 3 new staplers and we’ve still not found a winner.

The problem

The problem is that the last stapler made my hand swell up – I wore away the top of it which then resulted in irritating my hand, hence the swelling. (The stapler also wasn’t very heavy duty and we went through several of the same kind of staplers in the past month). The reason: I do a lot of stapling. I can’t give you a number per day, but given that I’ve scanned and processed over 500,000 documents in the past 6 months (that is me, not the team) it will give you an idea of just how much stapling I do.

The Staplers

So in an attempt to fix the musical stapler problem, where everyone was passing round the one Rexel stapler (because only one out of our pile of staplers work) we decided to try ordering some new ones (not the ones our office buys in bulk for regular users). the catalogue came out and my boss ordered the Gemini which is a newer version of the one we all love, the Matador and the Bambi.

The verdict?

The matador, is sturdy and goes through a LOT of paper at a time, but it is heavy, which is not a good thing when your wrist is flicking about a stapler all day and you need to pick it up and set it down fast. However as a simple “desktop” stapler, for the occasional use it is good, especially if a lot of thick documents come your way.

The gemini is lighter by comparison, which makes it a lot better for my purposes. It eats staples like there is no tomorrow and tackles the thick trial bundles, but it can get stuck. Better for long term and high volume use, but you still have the issue of some documents being too thick for it to get its jaws round.

and finally the Bambi. Cute, small and surprisingly good at stapling. My boss has now claimed it as her own to assist with the morning post. As we know its not going to be able to handle the trial bundles and court documents we don’t even try, but there still are some downsides. The staples are tiny – unlike all the other staplers in the office which take the same size, so it is just being difficult when it comes time for a reload. Also the staples are so small that if you are trying to remove them (which I do an awful lot of as well) it is fiddly (of course the other side of it is if you don’t want people taking the staples out, its a good way to stop them).

Black Toast Trio of A6 Notebooks

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As I promised earlier I would write about Emma Bridgewater’s Trio of A6 notebooks which my boyfriend bought me for Christmas. I also suggested them as part of my gift guide.

Priced at £14.50, these 3 notebooks come with a little sleeve that they slip into. A6 in size they are perfect for your bag. The 3 notebooks are for different purposes which (like all of the Black Toast range) are written on them: Shopping, things to do, & notes.

The inside is coloured purple, and each page is given a title (also in purple) and the lines are quite wide ruled (and also in purple) reenforcing the idea that the product is aimed at girls.

So what about the writing? Well the paper is thick, and so far has handled all the types of pens I typically use – given that these books are for “on-the-go” this is typically a gel pen or biro and nothing fancy. So what can I say, great looking notebooks that do exactly what they say on the tin!!

2010 Diary: A5 from Funkypigeon

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I’ve mention Funky pigeon before with regards to Christmas Cards. But yesterday I got an A5 Diary from them:

Basic, professional looking diary. I choose dark red with cream pages from their selection of colours. The layout is a day-a-page, with small time notations, and with space for notes at the bottom. There is also a small monthly calendar at the top of each page so you can plan ahead. Has both a ribbon marker and tearable corners, so you can choose you own method of marking the page.

There are loads of extra information in the diary including:3 year calendar, notable dates, planner, conversions, holiday planner, UK mileage, travel information and international information. At the back to the diary there is the usual space for accounts, addresses and general notes.

Great diary and I’m loving the cream pages. One negative is that fountain pen goes through the paper a bit.

Funky pigeon is currently doing a giveaway of a free pocket diary until 31st on the blog / twitter (same style as my A5 diary). Make sure you check it out.

Quaderno Italiano

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Quaderno Italiano is exactly what it says it is – a quaderno (exercise book) from Italy. If you used these sort of thing at school, it will really take you back. Thin small book, with space to write your name, teacher and subject on the front cover and on the inside. There is even a box at the back of the book with the times tables.

This note book has a dark cover, which is just thickened paper, quite flexible and with flimsy flickable pages inside, edged in red which is a nice touch – like I said before it is basically a school exercise book which it part of the novelty of it. Once again this notebook is part of my daily collection of notebooks. I use this particular one for drafting blog posts while commuting if inspiration strikes.

The particular one that I bought is the Maths version with squared / grid paper as can be seen in the photos below, but the notebook is also available in plain and lined paper.

As for the paper, here I’ve been writing in basic blue ink fountain pen, and it writes well.

So why get it? Well for one they are reasonably priced at a few quid (I got mine in Waterstones), light and easy to carry around, not to mention the novelty factor of being a School exercise book and red edged. To top it of, it has been admired on numerous occasions because not a lot of people have them, yet.