Be Prepared: 10 Things To Always Keep In Your Desk at Work

published Sep 20, 2016
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(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

Your office may not have all the comforts of home, but if you keep the right things in your desk, a long day at work can feel a lot less stressful. Say goodbye to boring lunches, freezing cold meetings and battery-drained cell phones, and hello to a happier work day.

A Spare Phone Charger

No matter what kind of phone you have, you probably find yourself having to plug it in for a recharge at least once a day. Rather than toting your only phone charger back and forth from your home to your office, buy an extra one and keep it in your desk specifically for those times you need a mid-day battery boost.

A Mirror

You don’t always want to have to walk out to the bathroom just to make sure there’s no food on your face or spinach in your teeth. Keep a small mirror in your drawer, because using your phone’s front-facing camera to check your appearance just isn’t as effective.


You never know when you’re going to need a bandaid, so keep a stock in your desk just in case. This is especially important if you tend to wear uncomfortable shoes—blisters won’t stand a chance against you and your preparedness.

A Sweater

It’s so hard to find an office temperature that works for everyone—either the heat is too low or the air conditioning is on too high. Studies show that this is particularly a problem for women, as most office temperatures are set for men’s bodies. Regardless, keeping a sweater or sweatshirt in your desk is a good idea so you never have to shiver through the work day again.


Have you ever left for work in a hurry and realized halfway through your commute that you forgot to put on deodorant? Rather than spending the entire day feeling self-conscious about wanting to freshen up, just keep a spare stick in your desk—just don’t put it on in front of your coworkers, because that might be weird.

Mints or Gum

For some post-happy-desk-lunch breath freshening, stay stocked up on your favorite mints or gum. You can also keep a toothbrush or mouthwash in your desk, if that’s more your style. Whichever you prefer, it’s great for fixing garlic or coffee breath before a big meeting—or before an after work date.

Napkins or Tissues

You never know when allergies will strike or when your lunch is going to get a little messy, so keep a stack of napkins and tissues in your desk at all times, just in case.

A Hearty Snack

For those days when you don’t have time to make or grab breakfast—or those times when your lunch just isn’t satisfying enough—knowing you’re stocked up on snacks in your desk can help. Of course, they should be snacks that are actually filling—a tiny bag of potato chips probably won’t do the trick, for example. I always keep a bag of pretzel sticks and a jar of peanut butter in my desk, in case of snack emergencies.

Dishes and Flatware

Eating out of tupperware with a flimsy plastic fork? Sounds more like a sad desk lunch than a much-needed meal break. Eat happier—and be less wasteful—by keeping a set of dishes and flatware in your desk. Stick to the essentials: a plate, a bowl, a mug or glass (or both) and a fork, knife, and spoon. And if your office doesn’t have dish-washing supplies already, keep a sponge and some soap in your desk, too for easy clean-up.

Spices and Condiments

Another way to perk up your lunch is to keep condiments and seasonings in your desk. Whether you’re more of a salt-pepper-ketchup kind of person, or you prefer to spice things up with something a little fancier, keep packets and shakers of the add-ons you use most frequently in your desk.

What are your work desk essentials?