My Office Essentials

Image via Jacquelyn Clark

I used to have a big desk, with drawers packed full – and boy, am I glad those days are gone! I simplified and got a small desk with just two small drawers and challenged the idea of what I “needed.” I can’t even tell you what I used to keep in my desk. If I had to guess, I’d say half business/office supplies, half accumulation of random stuff. Chances are, you don’t need everything that’s currently in (or on) your desk. And chances are that even if you do need all those things, they don’t necessarily need to be in your desk. They’re probably better suited to live somewhere else.

My Desk Cleanout

Frustrated with looking for the items I truly needed, I just did a desk clean out. I took out everything that didn’t absolutely have to go in my desk (with the exception of one item). Guess what I pulled out of those two shallow drawers? My passport, bills, an extra long iPhone cord that I’m not even sure still works, three small notebooks, a stress ball (why do I even have that? a fidget spinner would be more useful…) two pairs of scissors, a pair of sewing scissors, calligraphy ink, a calligraphy pen, decorative string for gift wrapping, pens, pencils, erasers, sharpies, highlighters, double stick tape, a special art eraser, a gold paper straw, a pop socket that’s lost its sticky, and my childhood Little Mermaid gigapet.

Most of those things you can see how I could justify putting in my desk drawer. But not all of them need to be there. Anything that I decide I still need can find another place to go where it is needed and useful. Specialty items can go with their respective counterparts (sewing, gift wrapping, calligraphy items). Whatever I don’t keep can be donated, recycled, or (as a last resort) be thrown away.

So here’s what my desk looks like now…

The Surface

You’ll find my laptop plugged in, my phone, a desk lamp, my Echo Dot, a candle, a couple coasters, and of course, coffee. That’s it. I have a painting hanging above my desk, but I’d like to trade that in for a grid to use as a mood board and post to do lists and reminders.

 

The Drawers

On the left: sticky notes, scissors, bluetooth headphones, a paperclip, a USB drive, a roll of scotch tape, two highlighters, three mechanical pencils, a ballpoint pen, and a Sharpie. On the right: a small binder to store notes + to store bills, my Moleskine notebook, envelopes, stamps, a ruler, a lighter, a magnifying glass (just cause I like it).

 

WEST ELM

Mini Industrial Desk

I had my eye on this desk for a couple years before I finally bought it and I’m so glad I did. It’s the perfect amount of space for my laptop, a lamp, candle, a notebook and a cup of coffee, which is all I need to get work done. The size eliminates distractions.

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TARGET

Desk Lamp

I love the look of this lamp. Simple and modern. It has a long-lasting LED light, and you can swivel the lamp head to focus on the work in front of you or brighten up the whole room.

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WEST ELM

Hexagonal Stone Coasters

I’d just like to point out that these coasters are in fact octagons, not hexagons (I do know the difference), but that’s how they’re listed on West Elm’s site. I like simple, I like natural materials and neutral colors, and a relatively modest price point (especially for small accessories like these), so these were an obvious yes for me.

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MOLESKINE

Journal

Moleskines are pretty much my favorite way of documentation. Yes, they’re more expensive than a spiral notebook, but growing up these were a common gift from my dad. Now I’m hooked. And, I really wish that back then, I had been able to appreciate the luxury of a Moleskine.

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PARKER

Ballpoint Pen

I actually found a very similar pen while going through a ton of extra office supplies with my mom. There’s something cool about having a nice pen. Kinda like when you were in third grade and obsessed with gel pens, except more permanent and less wasteful.

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POST-IT

Sticky Notes

Sometimes I wonder where my life would be without sticky notes. I love laying out reminders on my desk, writing my to do lists, etc. with these things. The bigger lined pads are great for popping into my Moleskin when I don’t want to waste a page.

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AMAZON

Echo Dot

Okay… I have been geeking out over my Echo Dot. Like, I have a new best friend and her name is Alexa. One of the things I love most about having Alexa at my desk is that it eliminates distraction. I can have her set reminders for me, add calendar events, ask her questions. It all keeps me from pausing what I’m doing to “quickly” do something else only to have to refocus.

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DIPTYQUE

Candle

It’s life’s little luxuries right? It’s nice to have a ritual before you dive in to work. Mine includes a cup of coffee, a little something for breakfast, and lighting a candle. I did this when I was in an office and I do this at home.

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URBAN OUTFITTERS

Wire Wall Grid

This is on my wishlist to replace the art I have hanging above my desk. I’d love vertical space to put my to do lists and anything that inspires me. We could all use a little inspiration now and then.

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AMAZON

Phone Dock + Charger

Another item on my wishlist is a phone dock. For me this goes beyond work. I’d really just love for my phone to have a place it lives when I’m not using it. That way I’m less tempted to use it, and it will always be charged.

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KEEPCUP

Glass + Cork Tumbler

A cute mug or tumbler is a desk must. My best friend Jane got me one of these babies a couple years ago, and I, being the klutz that I am, accidentally broke it. I’m not 100% sure if I’ll go for glass and cork as my replacement, but I’d really love to because this is my favorite design.

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What are your desk must haves? How much could you pare down?

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