Last week, we covered the ingredients for the ideal office snack drawer. This week, I thought it fitting to share what I call the deskmergency drawer. The best deskmergency drawer has both style-related items and things for when you are feeling a little under the weather. For me, the beauty products and style tools are handy when I want to freshen up before conducting an in-person interview; when I inevitably dump coffee or food all over myself; and for those days when I have an after work business or personal event. The healthcare products keep me moving when I feel a little icky, but not bad enough to go home. A well-stocked deskmergency drawer isn’t essential, but it does make life a little easier day-to-day: Especially a bad day.



My desk drawer beauty kit evolved from a stylist’s kit I created more than 12 years ago, when multiple days a week I was tasked with styling fashion and product photo shoots for Austin Monthly Magazine. For fashion shoots especially, the stylist has to be ready for anything. Clothes often don’t properly fit the models, so clothespins, bulldog clips and spring clips, as well as clothing and skin tape and straight and safety pins are the top items in the kit. Stain stick, scissors, a variety of tape (including double-sided, painter’s, masking, duct and packing), shims, fishing line, a steamer, tweezers, baby powder, hammer and nails, Goo Gone (for price tags), static spray or laundry sheets, wet wipes, clear deodorant, facial tissues, clear nail polish, adhesive bandages, a small sewing kit and measuring tape round out the collection. Finally, having hairspray, clear hair elastics and a small makeup kit, are also a smart idea.

Your deskmergency kit could include all of those items, if you really want to be a Girl Scout. Otherwise, pick and choose (for example, you probably don’t need a hammer and nails at the office) and then add to it the following:

  • Lip balm
  • Earring backs (erasers work in a squeeze too)
  • Nail polish remover pads
  • Hand lotion
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Floss
  • Emery board
  • Hand lotion
  • Perfume or perfume samples
  • Vitamin E oil (for cuticles and to put a little sheen on your shins and arms)
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Clear surgical tape (to put on the backs of shoes when they are rubbing your heels)



Headaches, allergies, upset stomachs and other small ailments often strike with no warning. It’s a relief to have a few items on hand to head them off at the pass. Consider keeping a bit more in the drawer than you’d find in a basic first aid kit. So, in addition to bandages, cloth tape and antibiotic ointment, include:

  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen
  • Allergy medicine
  • Cold and flu medicine
  • Cough drops
  • Chewable antacid
  • Herbal teas
  • Emergen-C (as mentioned in the office snack drawer piece, I’ve heard this is a nice thing to have when you’ve been overserved the evening prior)


Much like a stylist’s kit, your deskmergency drawer will morph over time as you realize what you really need and want to stock in it. There is no right or wrong, because the items that make you feel ready for anything might not be the same as mine or anyone else’s. Mix, match and experiment until you come up with the perfect assortment.

As with the office snack drawer, it’s a happy thing to assist coworkers in a pinch. When someone has an allergy attack; rips his or her shirt; or is having a hair crisis, you can swoop in and be the office hero, if just for a moment. Or you can at the very least offer to help, as it’s of course everyone’s prerogative to decline, for example, an aspirin. Don’t ever be pushy with your deskmergency items, as that would be rude.

Given the fact that most of us spend eight or more hours a day at work, it’s important to have a few of the creature comforts we rely upon at home. Build it over time and soon enough, you’ll have everything you could possibly need in the face of a mini-crisis.


What do you keep in your deskmergency drawer? Share it in the comments or email me at Melanie@MyNewOrleans.Com