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pulling it together

desk drawer

I was in junior high when I was finally allowed to wear a "tasteful" amount of make-up. "Tasteful" is a subjective term, and from then on I spent most of my allowance, and free time, wandering the aisles of the drug store eagerly picking out a variety of colors and flavors (yes, flavors) of products I was sure made me look extremely mature and sophisticated.

Now my make-up is neutral shades, some too subtle to even qualify as colors, and the goal is not to look mature, but rather to hide the signs of aging. Those glory days of excitedly perusing the aisles at the drug store have given way to the somber task of determining exactly which products are most effective at preventing fine lines.

When my weekly allowance started coming in the form of a paycheck, I sought ways to organize and beautify my workspace with the same enthusiasm as a teenage girl at a cosmetic's counter. To my dismay, I found that most office supply retailers carried desk and office accessories that were about as tasteful and sophisticated as bubblegum flavored lip-gloss. What's worse they didn't help me to stay organized. When your desk drawers are overflowing with unused items, adding another plastic tray really isn't helping, it's just adding more junk to the junk.

To get organized, you must first determine what you really need then get rid of the rest. To get you started, here's a list of basic items from See Jane Work that every well-stocked desk should include. You will, of course, need to tailor this list to meet your specific needs. A Sales Rep is going to need more pens, an accountant more pencils, but I can't think of any profession that requires a gum wrapper, a broken crayon, or three pennies and a nickel in order to conduct daily business, so dump out that drawer and let's get started.

  • AT LEAST ONE GOOD BLACK INK PEN, for signing documents and writing letters. Try our ACME ROLLERBALL PENS. They're uniquely beautiful.

  • RUBBER BANDS. I love our COLORED BANDS. We also carry RUSSELL+HAZEL PATTERNED BANDS, which are great for holding together binders and files.

  • STAPLER. I will allow for duplication here. Both our STAPLE-FREE STAPLER and a standard stapler can happily co-exist in your desk drawer. For attaching multiple pages, or making sure documents stay attached, a regular stapler is essential. Have fun with it by purchasing colored FANCY STAPLES. My favorites are green.

  • PENCILS. I prefer good old #2 pencils. There's no need to keep lead or eraser refills on hand, and they're easily replaced should a co-worker or a client walk off with one. But that doesn't mean I hang on to every broken, chewed-on, neon-colored, #2 pencil that happens to land on my desk. Pick one brand in one color and toss the rest. For a touch of subtle elegance, fill your desktop pencil cup with our FASHION COLOR PENCILS in White. Make sure they're all sharpened.

  • ERASER. Everyone makes mistakes. A good quality white eraser will help hide the evidence. Try our Cavellini and Co. PERFECT ERASER.

  • STICKY NOTES. Think about how you use them and then buy just a few pads in the appropriate size and style. If you make to-do and shopping lists the rectangular ones are better. Try our RUSSELL AND HAZEL TO DO POST IT NOTES. For general notes and marking pages, the square style is fine. (Hint: tear them in half to use as page markers). Try our own SEE JANE WORK 3" X3" STICKY NOTES.

  • GLUE STICK. Our O'GLUE JR. is easy to use and dries clear.

  • PAPERCLIPS. You need a handful of the regular size and a small assortment of the bulldog type clips for holding together large documents. I love the look and feel of Cavallini and Co. CLIPIOLA paper clips.

  • A HANDHELD OR DESKTOP CALCULATOR. Our SILVER DESK CALCULATOR is so pretty you'll probably want to keep it out on your desk.

If one of our ideas or products works for you, or if you have a solution you’d like to share, please let us know at

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