Keep These Handy At Work


Yesterday I was removing my lunch from the microwave at work when a small bit of mariana sauce shot out from the container and landed on my pant leg. I went to the kitchen and was in the act of dabbing it with a wet paper towel when one of the clerks came in and said, “You should see if one of the staff has one of those spot removing pens”.

I decided against walking around the office and asking if anyone had one however, and made my way back to my desk, with only the slightest stain the size of a dime showing. But it got me wishing that perhaps I did have one of those handy. And that got me thinking again of the things I do have in my office that are hygiene and grooming products. Some of them I use daily, and some just every so often, but I thought it might be of interest to others to think about getting your own gear together to deal with any unexpected issues that come up.

If you have additional items that you keep around, add them to the comments and include the why and when.

First on the list is the toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss. Having these three things close at hand will ensure you don’t get pre-occupied with food stuck in your teeth, will help keep your breath fresh, and will prevent cavities and decay. An item of importance closely linked to these three is a bottle of mouthwash. Whether it’s because you had onions and hot peppers at lunch, or you just need an extra boost of self-confidence heading into a meeting, a quick swish and rinse of this can give you one less thing to stress about.

A stick of deodorant also helps reduce stress and anxiety you may feel, especially if you go out for a run at noon and come back to the office on a hot day and don’t want to worry about body odour. Small enough to conceal in a pocket for the time it takes to walk to the washroom, it’s an inexpensive item that can make the difference between raising your hand to actively participate in a meeting or keeping your arms down and being self-consumed with hiding your sweat stains.

A mug for you and a couple of extra mugs for guests is never a bad idea. First of all you will encourage yourself to drink more fluids on the job if you have one, and you’ll be cutting down on environmental waste if you avoid the Styrofoam altogether. Some restaurants will even use your mug to fill your drink order, but think about a lid to contain the fluid as you make your way back to the work area. If you have people in for meetings, you’ll also never be caught rudely drinking in front of them and not be able to at least offer them a water etc.

Speaking of water, keep some in your fridge at work. Whether it’s your own container or a shared jug of water, cold water refreshes and doesn’t add calories. Be the good co-worker and remember to fill it up when the water inside is getting low.

A comb or hairbrush is a must too, especially if you work in areas that are humid, or you visit the gym at lunch. And most of us want to brush or comb our hair and know that the finished look is what we are hoping for, so a small mirror is useful. If you can conceal one on the inside of an upper cabinet etc. then you save the agonizing walk to the washroom to check yourself out and feeling like everyone in the office is looking at you and you alone.

Another item that can be useful is a healthy snack that is small in size, easy to prepare and ward off hunger pangs. For some it might mean individual packets of hot cereal that boiling water poured over instantly releases a warm comforting smell, and fills you up enough to tide you over to the next meal. The beauty of these is they keep well, and don’t consume a lot of room.

How are you going to eat that cereal without a small bowl? A bowl and plate, even if bought at a dollar store with four or five pieces of cutlery are useful, especially when you’d rather eat off a plate than a plastic frozen entre dish. It’s a little classier than only being one step away from feeling like you’re eating out of the dogs bowl, and for some obscure reason, food seems to taste better too. And don’t you just look classier!

Consider too having a brush you can use to wipe off your shoes should you get salt stains from a winter walk, or scuff marks you want to eliminate. These usually activate themselves, but some need a dab of water. Chemical sprays that add colour like on suede’s and nubucks may do the trick, but the odour may hang in the air for hours and offend your co-workers and clients who have reactions so best to avoid these.

If you are one to wear makeup, you’ll want this too, and lastly a small sewing kit that you hope you’ll never use.

If you really get lucky, you’ll have room in your cabinet for your work things too!

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3 thoughts on “Keep These Handy At Work

  1. When I was working these were the things I had available and anyone knew I had and asked for: pain reliever, tide stain stick, salt, pepper, hot pepper flakes, Parmesan cheese (ones from take out), hot sauce packets, ketchup, garlic salt mix, disposable plates, bowls, cups, cutlery, hand lotion, hand sanitizer, individual eye drop hydration, extra contact lens cases (new of course), hair spray, hair binders, travel sewing kit, 1st aid kit, Imodium, tums, … Pretty much if you name it i most likely had it!

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  2. I’m a BSW intern, I don’t have an office. I actually travel between three locations for internship. I was tired of never having anything, so I keep one of those small travel kits in my car. It cost me $10 and it has a comb, toothbrush, nail clippers, a file, a small mirror, a razor with three blades, scissors and a lint roller. All work well. In my car I keep a small sewing kit just in case. I’ve also tried to keep small, single serving doses of aspirin and such, however they don’t hold well in extreme temperatures. All the ideas listed in the article are great.

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