For years, I tried to ignore them. Then I bought a new pencil sharpener, a School Smart brand that sits on the floor next to my desk (so easy to simply lean over, shove a pencil in and get a sharp point in seconds).
Truthfully, the pencil sharpener probably cost more than the pencils did, but I love working my way through that big box of pencils. Admittedly, the rubber erasers on the pencils don't work anymore. That's how old the pencils are, but that's okay, because my favorite eraser, a Straddler Mars Plastic (apparently, favored by artists) is dependable and long lasting.
Beyond that, I use a lot of legal pads, a lot of old spiral notebooks left over from (you've got it) the days when my children needed them for school, and scrap paper cut up from manuscripts I've printed out, edited, then recycled. Lastly, I have to mention my other favorite pens, Pilot Medium Point Stick Pens. They look like another cheaper brand of pen, but these are far superior, in my opinion. They write smoothly and they don't leave an ink trail (a big deal for a lefty like me, as I cannot seem to use gel pens without smearing). It's been years since I've been able to buy them in stores, but I can buy them by the box online, and I do. I have them in black, blue, red (I used lots of red when I edit my books), purple and green. Their reasonable price makes them perfect.
What's your favorite pen? Do you have one? (I would love to be a fountain pen person, but again, they're just not for the left-handed. Too messy, even though they're beautiful).
Have a great day!