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When I got my first job with my own permanent work desk space, it was such an exciting time! I couldn’t wait to decorate it but, more importantly, to prep my work desk with the essentials that would keep me productive as I started the new job. For example, I have always brought a bottle of painkillers to the first day for all the headaches that would pop-up. Keep reading for all of the helpful essential items for your first job (or help reset your work desk).
This is a pretty long list of essential items that are helpful to keep at your work desk, so I broke them down into a few categories to make it easier to read. These items will help your day run smoother and to keep you prepared for any unexpected events or situations. Let’s get into the list!
Basic Essentials for Your Work Desk
To me, this is the most important category because these are the essentials to keep stocked at your work desk, especially the stuff that keeps you alert and pain-free. Let’s stock our work desk for max productivity!
1. Band-aids and other types of blister support
Although most workspaces tend to have a first-aid kit, you can never be sure that it’s stocked with what you need or that you’ll be able to access it when needed. Get a small set of band-aids for your work desk to stay prepared for any cuts or blisters that will come your way.
I would also recommend getting a packet of blister protection because they are absolutely amazing! I went on a trip to New York and ended up randomly buying one of these at CVS to help with some blisters that had developed during the day, because it was still early evening and there was much more walking to be done. By the time we finished walking around, the blister had gone down significantly and it felt sooo much better the next day.
Working in uncomfortable or new shoes can really affect your focus, so stay prepared with a few band-aids or blister packets to make sure you can stay as productive as possible.
2. Painkillers and other medicine
Oh man, I’ve pretty much always always bought a new bottle of painkillers for every job I’ve had and brought it in with me the very first day. Without fail, that first day usually brought about some kind of pain, whether it was a headache or brought about by that time of month.
If you only do one thing, I would definitely do this one. Headaches are awful whenever they come, and it’s better to be prepared with a simple bottle of painkillers than to have a terrible, unproductive work day.
If you’d rather switch the container from the regular pill bottle, here is one that allows you to keep multiple pill types in one bottle!
3. Hairbrush, Scrunchies, Hair Clip
I have this one right below the painkillers because, man, I have to have options to put my hair up, otherwise it causes a lot of headaches for me since my hair is so heavy. Plus, it can be really nice to give yourself a midday hair brush for a short massage.
You could either keep a full-sized hairbrush or a mini-sized brush at your work desk. I tend to keep a mini-sized hairbrush just to minimize desk space used. I would also add a few scrunchies and a hair clip or two to your work desk since it can be helpful to have options if you have a busy day.
Another thing that I will immediately buy whenever I am starting a new job, if I don’t already have one, is deodorant! Whether you go full-sized or travel-sized, it can be helpful to keep at your work desk for the days you’re in a hurry and forget to put some on at home, or if it’s been too hot and you need an extra layer to get through the workday.
Check Target’s travel section for mini deodorant sizes, or just grab a normal-size deodorant during your next shopping trip.
5. Mini Toothbrush & Toothpaste
After having done braces, I will probably just keep my habit of having a mini toothbrush with toothpaste. For those days when the greens are not agreeing with your teeth, if there’s an important meeting, or if you’ll be meeting with many people, having a mini toothbrush at your work desk will just keep your mind at ease, knowing that you’re looking your best.
Check Target’s travel section for mini toothbrush and toothpaste options!
6. Feminine Products
You probably already have some in your car, your purse, your backpack, and any other spare bag. Well, add your work desk to that list of spots! I would also suggest that you keep your usual selection and not just one type at work. It might require more upkeep to keep it stocked but I’ve always found it better to keep a variety of products than only one type of product at my work space.
7. Hand Sanitizer
After this pandemic, I think this item needs no explanation but hand sanitizer is a great item to have at your desk to keep your hands and area clean, especially during the winter months with flu season.
I’ve always found it super handy to keep both a small pump bottle and a mini squeeze bottle at my desk. The small pump always stayed at my desk and the mini squeeze bottle would travel with me to either lunch or to any work meetings around the building.
You could also keep a set of disinfecting wipes to wipe down your desk either after the workday or after the workweek. I would definitely bring a set of these to work during the winter months to help reduce germs.
8. Lint Roller
A lint roller at the work desk is super handy if you’ve got pets, just in case you miss a spot during your morning routine. But it can also be handy if you’re constantly traveling around and sitting in various kinds of furniture, just to keep your clothing lint-free.
Cute Bag Options to hold the small stuff
Obviously, you need a cute bag to hold all of the little items, so here are a few ideas.
Beis has some amazing bags! I’ve been keeping my eye on both the Dopp Kit and the Cosmetic Case. The Dopp Kit is smaller so it’s perfect if you only decide to keep a few items at your desk. If you keep more items at your desk, like maybe some make-up, then the Cosmetic Case might be a better choice.
Mini or Small Canvas Bags
You can find these small or mini canvas bags in many different places, so get one that really speaks to you or that’s got a cute quote about your work industry! I got my Book Smart canvas bag from Barnes & Nobles, but they have other kinds of canvas bags as well.
Society6 is another great option for canvas bags. They have some gorgeous designs, especially if you prefer something without text, but they also have some great quote options.
Clothing Essentials for Your Work Desk
Depending on your commute, industry, and work style, keeping extra clothing at your desk could be a great way to smooth part of your routine or to help you prepare for unexpected situations! This section still has some great essentials for your work desk but it definitely depends on your job or industry.
9. Basic Heels
My current commute is mostly driving with about 10-15 minutes of walking from the parking garage to work, which means I can wear heels from home to work without much worry.
But if you have a longer or more “complicated” commute, then keeping a pair of basic heels at your desk could help simplify your routine. Depending on your closet colors, a black, brown, or nude basic pump heel will be your best choice.
OPTIONAL: Flats / Sneakers
Depending on how your work-day/industry functions, it could also be helpful to keep a pair of fancy flats or sneakers for the time in-between the heels, or when it’s a busier, run-around type of day.
10. Cardigan / Sweater
Keeping a warm jacket at your desk will help with those random days when it feels like the AC will keep going until you freeze. I usually like to keep a slightly cropped cardigan, especially since these are on the thinner side, don’t take up too much space, and can be easily tucked into a drawer!
If you’re job or industry is on the more formal side, I would also suggest keeping a blazer at your desk. This definitely depends on how your days look like or what kind of meetings you have, but having a blazer is an easy way to dress up any kind of outfit. Personally, I would go with a black, classic-fit blazer; however, pick a color and style that goes with as much of your (work) closet as possible.
12. Extra Socks
If you wear sneakers to work or at work, then keeping an extra pair of socks at your desk will be a lifesaver! I’ve had a few times where I did not plan for heavy rain and had to deal with some not-fun, wet socks, so definitely have some back-up socks at your desk. This will also be helpful if you have a longer commute.
Snacks & Drinks for Your Work Desk
Having a snack at your work desk is essential in keeping that 2 o’clock nap-feeling at bay! I am constantly falling into that 2 PM slump, so snacks are beyond helpful. Staying hydrated is also important so let’s talk about a few additional items that are helpful to keep at your desk!
13. Stay Hydrated
Nothing nothing messes me up more than working all day without drinking water. Not staying properly hydrated means you are reducing your productivity, which is no good for working!
I used to bring in a Simple Modern tumbler from home to work and back home, but that was a little hard for me to remember every day, especially when I had to carry extra totes and lost hands! I came across some simple tumblers at Target (similar) in their dollar spot section and grabbed a box. They’ve been super helpful to keep at work. Although they don’t keep my water as cold as the Simple Modern tumblers, the Target tumblers are lightweight and perfect to just keep at my desk. Unfortunately, they seem to have been discontinued so I can’t link them.
But If you prefer to keep things super cold or super warm, then I highly recommend the Simple Modern tumblers. They also offer personalization options, which is perfect for making sure coworkers know which one is yours!
Snacks are a personal choice so, by all means, grab whatever is your favorite but here are a few snack ideas to keep at your desk.
The best types of snacks for that 2 PM slump are the ones that provide a quick burst of energy but also fill you up until dinner. My favorite snack is from belVita. I’m constantly looking for when the bars go on sale and that’s when I’ll stock up on multiples. The belVita bars come in so many different types – crunchy, soft baked, bites, and sandwiches – which makes them perfect for switching textures while also knowing that I’m going to love the flavors.
Some of my favorite belVita flavors to get you started:
- blueberry (my original favorite)
- soft baked:
- protein oats, honey, and chocolate
- oats and chocolate
- banana bread
- mixed berry
- dark chocolate crème
15. Coffee & Tea
One of my favorite habits I got into, before COVID, was to make a coffee or tea at work instead of ordering coffee! My wallet was so happy with me, lol.
If you’re a coffee person, then I highly recommend Copper Cow Coffee! I think I got an Instagram ad from them, loved the concept and flavors, and ordered a box of Rose Coffee. It was sooo good. My favorite part (besides the flavor) has to be the packaging. Though I’ve seen teas come in single packets, this was the first time I saw coffee come in singular packaging! It’s perfect to use at work, where kitchen gadgets are usually kind of limited. All you really need is hot water!
For tea, I just stick with Red Rose Tea. It’s a basic black tea that’s perfect as a pick-me-up during the 2 PM slump. I keep it in a rubber-sealed ceramic/stoneware canister (similar) so it looks super cute on my desk but is also easily accessible.
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15 Essentials to Keep at Your Work Desk for a Smoother Work Day.