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Top 10 Products to Stock Your Desk With

Many of us spend the majority of our workday at a desk in front of our computer—only getting up for meetings, to heat up our lunch, or to refill a mug of coffee. This is certainly the case for me, so I have tried to make my workspace as comforting and accommodating as possible, as it is my home-away-from-home, of sorts.

The following are my top 10 picks for things to have on or in your desk to help you through your busy day:

1. Aromatherapy. Spending all day under fluorescent lights, responding to high-importance e-mails, tackling big projects, and prepping for important meetings can all take a toll on your emotional well-being. To help ease stress throughout the day, try small amounts of aromatherapy. You can find great essential oils from Aura Cacia, and you might also look at these Instant Aromatherapy roll-ons from Bath & Body Works.

2. Lip balm. No matter what the season, external elements can take a toll on your lips, but so can the continuous exposure to air conditioning and heating in your office. I always keep some vegan lip balm handy in my desk drawer. A personal favorite of mine is the Viva Las Vegans lip balm from the PETA Catalog.

3. Dental-hygiene gear. Spinach salad covered in garlicky vinaigrette for lunch, anyone? Stashing a travel toothbrush, some toothpaste, and floss in your desk can get your chompers and breath back under control after a potent lunch, and it’s just a really nice thing to do for your teeth anyway! Try easy-to-find and cruelty-free dental care products from Tom’s of Maine.

4. Lotion. If you sometimes glance down at your hands when hitting Ctrl-Alt-Delete on your keyboard and notice that they have begun to look a little reptilian, consider keeping some lotion at your desk. I have a pretty pump-bottle of lotion at mine, and I offer it freely to coworkers. Check out The Body Shop’s lovely fragranced Japanese Cherry Blossom pump lotion.

5. Emergency nail kit. It’s always great when you get a hang nail at work and then you forget about it, scratch your leg, and tear a nice run in your nylons, isn’t it? Well, with a little preparedness, you can prevent both. Keep a nail file on hand and some clear polish in case you get a run in your hose. Check out Revlon’s beauty tools and nail care products.

6. Shine-erasing paper from e.l.f. I have combination skin and get a bit shiny as the day goes on, but these wonderful shine-erasing papers from e.l.f. work their mattifying magic every time. At $1 a pack, you can have one at home, one in your bag, and one at your desk!

7. Girl-power kit. For the ladies, it’s good to be prepared for the unexpected—and also for when your female coworkers are unprepared. I like to keep some extra feminine-hygiene products (try Natracare) on hand as well as some herbal tea bags from Yogi Tea to help with PMS symptoms.

8. Fun pens and office supplies. I find taking notes in pink and purple more fun, so I am sure to stock up on awesome products from cruelty-free office-supply company Pilot.

9. Nonperishable single-serving condiments. Fight Club and Choke author Chuck Palahniuk would be impressed with my collection of single-serving items. In my desk, I keep a small stash of single-serving packs of salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and often some nutritional yeast to jazz up my lunch.

10. A copy of the “Vegetarian Starter Kit.” Because I work at PETA, people typically don’t come up to my desk while I am eating lunch to discuss going vegetarian, but if you do work at an office where people seem to want more info on what vegetarians eat, it’s helpful to have a quick reference guide with recipes to pass on to them.

Tell us about the items you love to keep in your desk!

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  • Catherine says:

    I have on hand lavender cleaning wipes from Method (vs. animal-tested Clorox wipes); tissues made from recycled paper (Trader Joe’s brand is a great value); citrus-scented lotion from Trader Joe’s; and Vitamin C Energizing Face Spritz from The Body Shop. I also have real plates/cups/silverware and a cloth napkin, instead of using the paper/plastic alternatives that will clog our landfills.

  • D'yani Schnider says:

    Aww! Don’t use single serving condiments!!

    Why should a few salt crystals get their own little tree-inard wrappings? It’s so wasteful! Just buy salt and pepper and other things in bulk and put them in reusable shakers that won’t spill in your desk. Much more eco-friendly! Thanks!

  • Summer says:

    How awesome that Pilot is cruelty-free! I order our office supplies, and will order more from them.

  • Serena says:

    Hey girl, I have six out of ten of those items on my desk already. Vegetarian Starter Kit is such good idea! I need to stock up on some. Such JAZZZ idea! Let the book speak rather than me losing my breath.

  • Kristen says:

    I love Yogi Tea. I also like Republic of Tea Blackberry Sage flavor. I always have tea at work and in my desk.

  • Edna says:

    A Magic 8 ball, for when you just can’t seem to get any answers.

  • Dee says:

    Oh Mylie, I miss sitting next to you and using your lotion. Those were the days! I keep my bottle of B12 vitamins on my desk so I don’t forget to take one after lunch. Um, I also keep a reusable plate, bowl, and utensils in my drawer so I don’t have to use paper or plastic. Being vegan is the best thing to do for the environment, but every little bit helps!

  • Christie says:

    colored staples! i got them at target!

  • jan says:

    PEZ! i always hve to have PEZ candy at my desk!

  • Sharon says:

    I keep a water bottle with a built in filter at my desk.