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Back to School Shopping

I Look Forward to the Back to School Sales

Late summer and the fall bring the "Back to School" ads and those sales offer a host of items I can't get any other time of the year. I love office supplies (it is officially an addiction.) And the fall ads allow me to shop for most of the supplies I will need for the year.

My Shopping Lists

Here is my usual shopping list:

Pens--archival safe
Pencils, Pencil lead & erasers--I prefer mechanical pencils
Notebook paper--to sketch out ideas and to make lists I don't need to save.
Printer paper--archival quality for printing out documents
Post-it notes and flags--for temporary bookmarks
Paper clips
Staples
Printer ink
Tape--archival safe
Labeling tape
Glue--archival safe
Correction tape or fluid
Sheet Protectors
Photo pages
Blank CDs
Blank DVDs
Batteries
3-ring Binders
File Folders

Things I check out to see what the gadget deals are:

Laptops
Desktop computer
Computer Monitors
USB drives (flash drives, thumb drives, whatever you want to call them)
Memory Cards that fit my camera
Cameras--still & video
External hard drives
Briefcases
Zippered Binders


Why Do I Need All This Stuff?

First: I am addicted to office supplies. I admit it. At the same time, I want to be sure I have what I need for my research and in the fall office supply items are at their best prices.

Second: I can find things I can't find any other time of the year, such as pencil cases. While you can get a pencil case anytime of the year, during the back to school sales, there is a better selection of styles, colors and materials. There are more choices of binders, briefcases and totes.

Third: I like to stay current with the technology. Many companies debut or feature new technologies during the back to school sales. I don't buy every year, but I can keep track of pricing and advances. My rule of thumb is to purchase a new desktop computer every 4-5 years. After that long, a computer is usually far behind the latest technologies and parts are starting to wear out.

I also want to know what the latest items are for cameras, USB flash drives, digital audio recorders, and external hard drives. I keep track of the pricing on these items so that when I am ready to purchase I will know what the best deal and the best technology at the time is. My motto is: "Get the most advanced technology that you can for the dollars you have to spend."

How Does This All Apply to Genealogy Research?

How I use these items makes my research more organized. By being more organized and having things ready to go, I can spend more time researching and less time running to the store to buy a new archival safe pen because the one I owned ran out off ink.

When I go to the library or take a road trip, I have "tool kits" that I carry with me so I have everything I need and I don't have to go shopping for a pad of paper for notes or a shovel for the cemetery. [And no, I am not digging up my ancestors, but I may have to move the dirt that has covered up their headstone.]

I have an "office kit." It is a pencil case that holds a pen, a mechanical pencil, lead and erasers, a drawing compass, a protractor, a 6" ruler, a couple of highlighters, a small pad of post-it notes, a single hole hole punch, a small package of paper clips, a magnifying glass, a small pack of post-it flags, a pair of kindergarten scissors, a pocket size stapler, a staple puller and a small box of staples. I even have a miniature copy holder in this "office supply kit in a pencil case."


I use a 3-ring zippered binder to carry a notepad, larger post-it notes, blank CDs, CDs with my gedcom on it, business cards, a 12-inch ruler and blank forms. I can give away a copy of my gedcom on a CD if I meet a fellow researcher interested in my tree.

I also carry a USB drive with my genealogy software and my tree on it. I have an empty one to store digital images that I may collect. I can also get a copy of someone else's gedcom. This is a strategy I always use at a family reunion.

Want to know more about all of the kits I use, click here.

What I Learned

I learned that if I have these kits always ready to go, I know I will have all the supplies I need to complete my research wherever I am.

I learned that since genealogy research can be costly, I can save some dollars by shopping for supplies once a year. In that way, I may only have to buy a few items during the year.

I learned that by having all of the supplies I need and my kits ready to go, I can spend my research trip time researching, rather than shopping.

Oh, and it feeds my desire for shopping for office supplies.

Share your strategies for having everything you need on your genealogy research trips.

Whether you are new to genealogy or experienced, check out these tutorials.

Sandra
Genealogy Tutorial
Author of Genealogy Cheat Sheets

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