Essential Office Supplies (& How To Make Sure You Don’t Run Short)

office supplies, shutterstock_3210555
Essential office supplies haven’t changed much. (photo by shutterstock (c) lophoto)

Is there anything as bad than running out of basic office supplies? Yes, there is.

It’s having a ten-year supply of hanging files consuming all your storage space since someone accidentally ordered three cases instead of boxes.

Managing your inventory of essential office supplies shouldn’t consume a lot of time or brain power. If you’re just setting up a new office, use the checklist below to get your basics. (I’ve included photos of each on my office supply Pinterest board.)

If your office is overcrowded, use the list to pare down to just the essentials. Donate anything you haven’t used in the last year, unless you have plenty of room for it and you can honestly foresee using it in the coming year.

To prevent a panicked trip to the store when an ink cartridge runs out during an important job, I keep one spare of things such as printer paper and cartridges, and I keep a shopping list on Ziplist.When I use the spare, I add the item to the list from my computer or smartphone. Then I’ve scheduled a task to come up on my list each month, reminding me to order office supplies. Whatever is on the list, I order, so I always have a spare. Also, by ordering online and having supplies delivered each month, I minimize the time I spend and avoid impulse purchases by staying out of the stores.

Here’s my list of essentials.

  • Printer paper
  • writing tablets
  • pencils
  • gel pens in blue or black
  • envelopes
  • postage stamps
  • file folders
  • hanging files
  • Label maker
  • spare label tape
  • printer ink + toner
  • paper clips + binder clips
  • stapler + staple remover
  • staples
  • scissors

Note that, apart from the paper items and label maker, everything on the list will pretty much fit in a shoebox.

Voila! You’re ready for business.

Did I miss anything your office can’t function without? Leave a comment here.




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Copyright © 2009-2014 Margaret Lukens