True story: My first office desk had to be raided by an exterminator because all the snacks I was secretly hoarding in the drawers were creating issues with mice. By issues, I mean, my cookie collection was becoming a late night host to the building rat population. There was really nothing like watching the chemical-yielding, latex-gloved young man go through my belongings, one by one, holding them up to the light before dumping them into the trash, to make me feel like I should put a little bit more effort and attention into my desk life.
There were socks. There were empty coffee cups. There was a hair brush and tea-stained t-shirt, there were crumpled papers and chewed pens and corroded lipstick tubes. The contents of my work desk were not dissimilar to the types of things you find when you sweep under your bed for the first time in two years.
Once my desk was cookie and vermin free, I decided to take the time to be a grown-ass woman and make my desk look like a grown-ass woman worked at it. These are 12 things you should keep in your office desk if you'd like to appear like a professional who has their shit together:
Basic Office Supplies
Don't be that co-worker who's always asking to borrow a pen or a stapler or a piece of tape. Make sure that you have everything you need to get your job done and be organized. Be the co-worker that people see as having their sh*t together — be the co-worker who always has an extra paperclip.
If you're prone to headaches or stomach aches, be prepared. Keep some pain relievers and stomach aids in your desk. Put your marked pills together in a zipped plastic bag so they're always neat and on standby. Add some cold busters and vitamins to the mix just incase.
Individually Wrapped Snacks
It's OK to have snacks, they just have to be completely wrapped. Get yourself some energy bars and snack packs and make sure that if you don't finish them, you don't leave their open container in your desk. Because, rats.
"Ugh, I have too many tampons," said no woman ever. Keep a stash of tampons in your desk. You never know when you'll need an emergency tampon and plus, you can play savior and help someone out in need.
An Emergency Set Of Clothes
No matter how adult you are, you will spill coffee on your shirt. You will get chocolate on your pants. You will forget to wear socks. You will have an unplanned sleepover. Keep a fresh pair of everything in your desk. Just like at camp when you were a kid, and you had to have spare clothes in case you peed yourself.
If you typically wear heels to work, keep a pair of SOS flats in your desk. If you're a flats kind of woman, keep a pair of emergency heels in your desk in case you get invited to a last minute event. Heels can dress up any look so they're worth the space they'll take up.
You will lose your hair ties, your hair ties will snap, you will get caught in the rain and need more hair ties. Make sure you have a few of them in your desk at all times. You will probably also end up using them for non-hair-related things — they will come in handy.
That feeling you get when you realize you left the house without wearing deodorant is the worst. But knowing that you have some waiting for you in your desk is the best. And even if you do remember to put it on in the morning, after a long day at the office, it can be nice to freshen up.
Like I said, you will spill. Keep a bleach stick in your desk. It doesn't take up much space, and might save your favorite white shirt over and over again.
What can't you live without? Concealer? Mascara? Hand lotion? Chapstick? Make sure you have a back up copy of whatever you need to feel polished and confident. But don't leave it there forever. Just because you don't use it all the time doesn't mean it doesn't have an expiration date.
Keep a mini toner or water facial mister in your desk to bring you back to life when you start to fade in the middle of the day. This is one of the most simple ways to feel refreshed without having to wash your face.
Pick an oil that's calming for you. Whether it's lavender, mandarin, or jasmine, you'll be happy to have something to smell or rub on your temples when you're stressing out. It can also work as a natural perfume if you need it.