10 Essentials For Your Work Desk Drawer

For Joan Holloway, a “fifth of something” for your desk, preferably rye, was recommended as the desk drawer purchase of choice for bright-eyed Peggy Olson, new hire at the ad agency Sterling Cooper. Obviously not for Peggy to drink while on the clock, the rye was meant for her boss, account executive Don Draper. The seasoned Holloway went on to suggest other necessary investments including “some aspirin, Band-Aids, and a needle and thread.”

“Rye’s Canadian, right?” Peggy hesitantly inquired.

“You’d better find out.” Joan replied in a singsong voice while lighting up from a pack of Marlboro cigarettes.

This fictional conversation exchange took place on the AMC series Mad Men in its pilot episode. The year was 1960, the typewriter was “overwhelming” technology for the time, and women in the workplace were primarily occupying secretarial positions. Fast forward 50+ years later and the workplace is a different landscape. The 9-5 schedule is dead, all new technology is embraced and adapted to in record time, and the practice of keeping boss-approved grain alcohol in your desk drawer typically isn’t boss-approved.

What hasn’t changed are the contents of our work desk drawers. Plural. More often than not you’ll spot the modern desk with several drawers devoted to supplies the office doesn’t provide. A space for snacks and dry food, one with enough room to store a bevy of footwear, and for the ladies especially, an arsenal of beauty products for quick touch-ups throughout the day.

And while our lives may not involve nearly as much paperwork as they once did, what we lack in paper piles we’ve more than made up for in personal items. Weddingbee.com’s message board “What Do You Bring Keep in Your Desk at Work?” has the photographic evidence to prove it. For every Chapstick or bottle of water, you’re likely to find a salt shaker or a jar of peanut butter proving that the “I live at work!” motto can clutter up fast.

Some of these items we genuinely need but for many we’re mentally prepping with a worst case scenario in mind. A bored client waiting nearby? That’s why we need the magazine stack. Forget to eat breakfast? That’s what the box of Quaker instant oatmeal is for. Accidentally bite into a piece of hard candy the wrong way? Thank goodness I have a tube of Anbesol! And so forth.

It can get out of hand fast. Start the streamlining process by ensuring that you equip your desk with these following 10 essentials.