The most important office storage space is the desk drawer. It may not seem special, it is just a drawer, but properly organized it becomes the best tool you have for becoming more productive at work. (No drawer? Use a small tray or storage box on your desktop.)

Here is what is in my drawer at the moment:

1. Highlighter Wheel 2. Small paperclips 3. Big clips 4. Bulldog clips-2 sizes 5. Scissors 6. Rubber bands 7. Hand crème 8. Lip gloss 9. Colgate Wisps 10. Page Flags 11. Pencil Sharpener 12.  2 Le Pens 13. 2 Regular Pens 14. 4 sharpened pencils 15. Sticky notes 16. Pain Reliever

I like to think of office storage in terms of food storage. There’s the pantry, the refrigerator, the freezer, and maybe even a deep freezer. Expanding on this example I offer you milk—or soy milk or almond milk it doesn’t really matter which—the point is if you use milk every morning you need to keep it in a convenient location. Imagine what your morning would be like if you had to go down to the basement or out to the garage to get your milk from the deep freezer then thaw it out before adding it to your coffee. Think of how much time this would add to your morning routine. Office supplies are not so different. Depending on the type of work you do, your pen should be close by; your laminating machine should not.

When the warehouse discount centers first came out my father, known for his thrifty ways, became their best customer. With a family of 5 he was convinced that this was the answer to his hefty grocery bills. He came home with giant jars of maraschino cherries, pickles, even peperoncinis (and yes I checked the spelling on the last one). Our fridge was full; problem was there was nothing to eat. Who could subsist on maraschino cherries? Sure it’s fun at first, but eventually you crave real food. Unfortunately there wasn’t any room left in the fridge. My dad doesn’t buy much food in bulk these days, he’s learned his lesson there, but he does still buy office supplies in bulk. His desk drawers are full of huge tubs of paperclips, packs of number 2 pencils. He doesn’t have any more kids at home or in school so why so many pencils? Is he taking secret Scantron tests?

Office supplies are small and can be relatively inexpensive in bulk, but without a clear understanding of what you will really use, how often you will use it and how many you will use, you’re not saving. A tub of 3000 paperclips seems like a good deal until you can’t find it because you had to store it in the garage, then you buy another tub when you couldn’t find it, then you moved cross country and can’t find either tub.  I’m not exaggerating, this really happens.

4 replies
  1. Auntie Sandy
    Auntie Sandy says:

    Oh, and don’t forget about all those reams of paper!!! And, tons of pens–will any of them actually work when someone does want to use one years from now??? Thanks for sharing, Holly. You really do have great insight on your thrifty father!

  2. Reg
    Reg says:

    Rubber bands, sharpies, chopsticks, a fork, gum, staple refills, a box of Starbucks Iced Via coffee packets, a post morten report in a black binder that I just noticed(!), pens, 3 jelly packets, an eraser, a ruler. My drawer is pretty empty because most of the things I need I keep on my desktop.

  3. Heather
    Heather says:

    That is so true about buying too much, just because it can be bought in bulk does not mean you are saving money. If you never use all of it then it goes to waste. After seeing how the inside of your desk looks, I dare say that we want a pic of mine on the website….

  4. Linda Amatuzzo
    Linda Amatuzzo says:

    I keep everything in my drawers. Little office supplies like ruler, single hole punch, extra notepads, pens/pencils. Also an emergency kit containing deoderant, small versions of my makeup, sewing kit,and extra socks (since my feet got soaked in a sudden downpour one day). Also, little containers of salt, pepper, lemon juice, oatmeal and plastic utensils. Nice to have drawers to hide all this in so much desk top stays neat.


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