A pet peeve of mine is how the inventory of office supplies continues to grow in an organization. I have seen this everywhere I have worked and in many places I have visited. I'm talking basic stuff -- paper clips, alligator clips, three-ring binders, pads of paper, pens, and pencils.
And, even though there is a ton of stuff in the building, office managers continue to order more of it.
In a previous place I worked, I put out an order saying that we would no longer permit purchases of paper clips. Guess what? We never ran out. They just kept getting recycled when documents would be sent from one office to the next.
We plan to have a general office supply swap for the hospital soon, but I thought I'd run an experiment in the meantime. It is based on my community experience running a soccer cleat exchange. I created the "Presidential swap shop" in the corridor near my office, which is within eyesight of a highly trafficked thoroughfare. The sign says, "Take what you need, leave what you don't." Already, within a couple of days, there has been a dramatic amount of trading activity.
Those neat red boxes are the containers in which pipette tips arrive at the labs. We use thousands per year. They are perfect storage boxes for all kinds of stuff here and at home. They are flying off the shelf of the swap shop.
You can't see the paper clips and alligator clips, but they are also moving well, as are the three-ring binders. Meanwhile books are coming and going like a lending library.
I hear reports that other swap shops are popping up around the hospital. Maybe it's a movement.