Keys, phones, and pens are all experts in the art of disappearance. We use them intermittently throughout the day, and they never quite seem to end up in the last place we are sure we had them. Sure, we often locate them after several frustrating minutes of tearing the house apart, but the stress of losing our belongings goes up exponentially with the item's value. You are not likely to sweat another lost #2 pencil, but your new Montblanc going MIA is akin to a four-alarm fire.
Fountain pens taut the benefit of being long-lived. When you buy a high-quality writing utensil, you expect that you will be able to use it for years to come. It is an investment. In addition to the monetary cost of replacing it, pens can have great sentimental value. Fountain pens are frequently given as gifts and may be especially meaningful to the recipient. If you are prone to misplacing or losing items, remaining the owner of a fine new pen may require you to take deliberate steps to ensure its safety.
1. Develop New Habits
As you get ready for work in the morning, you may be running over your schedule in your mind, figuring out the solution to a problem, or rehearsing a conversation. You likely aren't thinking about each task involved in showering, dressing, and making a cup of coffee. You do these things without even thinking. They are habits formed over years of repetition. Keeping tabs on your new pen can become a habit too.
Identify a safe place where you will store your pen when it is not in use both at home and at the office. This location could be a storage drawer, a pen case, or a pen roll. Putting it in the same location as other valuable items such as your wallet and keys helps keep everything in one spot and builds on habits you already have. At first, keeping track of your pen will require deliberate effort, but these actions will become automatic over time.
2. Personalize It
While pens vary in value significantly, it may be difficult for coworkers to tell the difference. We have all grabbed a pen from a reception desk and nearly walked off with it, as evidenced by the fake flowers tapped to so many office pens. Making your pen different, if only in a subtle way, will make it easier for you and others to identify it. Avoid being another black roller bag on the baggage claim carousel at the airport by personalizing your pen.
The way that you personalize your pen depends on your style. For some, a little colored ribbon, tape, or gem stickers can do the trick. A dot of nail polish in a hidden location may be less conspicuous. However, for those who wouldn't dream of sticking something to their prized possession, consider having your pen engraved. Engraving is an inexpensive and classy way to put your stamp on your pen.
3. Invest in Storage
Pens are so easy to lose because of their size and shape. Small and thin, they easily slip out of pockets and purses. Attaching your pen to something larger or storing it in a case makes it less likely to escape.
Lanyards are a great way to keep track of important items. While it may seem unsightly to hang a luxury fountain pen from the end of a ribbon around your neck, consider that many office employees already wear lanyards. The prevalence of ID badges and key cards in your office may make lanyards commonplace. Likewise, you can clip your pen to a key reel that attaches to your belt or pocket, allowing your pen to hang in your pocket where you can reach it. Keeping your pen attached to you eliminates the possibility that it will fall out without you knowing.
A leather pen case is a classic choice for storing pens. These cases can hold two, three or even ten pens. They protect your pens from damaging drops and make transport easy. If you develop a habit of checking your case before moving from one location to the next, you are unlikely to leave one behind. For added security, be sure to label your case with your contact information so that a good Samaritan can return your pens in the event you get separated.
4. Hang onto It
In an office, writing utensils are some of the most shared objects. A pen left in plain sight may as well be up for grabs. Storing your pen in a locked drawer along with your keys and wallet will keep it out of sight and out of mind.
It is never a good idea to lend out your best pen. To the untrained eye, it may appear to be just another writing tool. They may not remember to return it or treat it with the same care you do. Instead, keep cheaper disposable pens on hand to coworkers when they need to borrow a pen. If you can't avoid lending out your pen, hang on to the cap so that you don't forget to ask for it back, no matter how long the meeting or how engaging the conversation.
5. Double Check
It never hurts to take an extra minute to check your surroundings on the way out of a meeting. Look around the area where you were seated to make sure you didn't leave anything behind. Check your pen case to make sure they are all securely stored for the trip home. This extra diligence on your part can prevent an expensive loss.
Fountain pens are wonderful tools for home and office use if you can keep them from wandering off. As with any important possession, it takes a little extra effort on your part to develop the habits of capping it and putting it away after every use. In time, checking for your pen will become a natural part of your day.