Desk-Drawer Essentials Checklist

You’re properly stocked when it comes to the paperclips, rubber bands, and box of staples, but what about those other office essentials? You spend enough time at your desk to warrant a stash of necessary items. Keep these things in a dedicated drawer so you can make “always be prepared” your new motto.

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  • Antiperspirant:

    Keep a travel-size deodorant and antiperspirant handy to provide an added layer of protection on hot or stressful days.

  • Safety pins:

    When you don't have the time or the supplies to fix a fallen hem or sew on a button, a safety pin can act as a stand-in.

  • Eye drops:

    Bone-dry office air and hours spent in front of a computer can leave eyes irritated. Saline drops help restore moisture.

  • Mini lint roller:

    To remove lint and hair from your clothing, do a quick rollover before important meetings or when heading out the door.

  • Tampons:

    It's smart to store a spare or two—the vending machine at work is empty most of the time, anyway.

  • Antibacterial moist towelettes:

    For pre- and post-meal wash-ups, disinfecting a germ-covered phone, and cleaning up sticky spills, antibacterial wipes are indispensible. Opt for the individually wrapped ones; they won't dry out and are small enough to stash anywhere.

  • First-aid supplies:

    Annoying paper cuts and pinkie-toe blisters necessitate bandages in various sizes. And acetaminophen (or ibuprofen or aspirin) should do the trick for minor aches and pains.

  • Breath mints:

    Pop one in your mouth after you finish your morning coffee.

  • Touch-up items:

    Instead of schlepping your makeup bag between home and the office, tuck a few must-haves in a zippered pouch and let them live in your desk: concealer, blush, lip balm, lipstick, and a hair elastic.

  • Party staples:

    With candles, matches, and a corkscrew, you'll be fully prepared for those impromptu coworker birthday celebrations and Champagne toasts in the hallway.

  • Plastic utensils:

    Rather than scrounging for silverware every time you eat lunch at your desk, put plastic versions in your drawer. Restock with the extras from take-out deliveries or leftovers from staff functions.

  • Grooming supplies:

    A few drugstore items—a toothbrush and toothpaste, nail file, clear nail polish, brush, lotion, and blotting papers—can go a long way in helping you look put-together all day.

  • Sugar packets:

    You're probably not the only one adding sweetener to her morning cup of coffee, so for those days when your office kitchen runs out of packets, keep a few here.

  • Spare house keys:

    Along with the set at your neighbor's, drop a set of house keys into your drawer for emergencies, but don't label them for security's sake.

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