Desk Hacks!

Help!  You’re in the middle of your workday and you’ve had a wardrobe malfunction, or someone stole your scissors.  What to do?

You’ve seen those lifehack articles—Use salt to clean your oven!  Your dustpan makes a great funnel to fill up the mop bucket!—for household use.  What happens when you have a little emergency at work?  Office supplies to the rescue!

  •  Use hand sanitizer to clean your purse mirror. Squirt a tiny bit on the glass and wipe it off with a tissue.

I probably wouldn’t try this on my phone screen.  It’s better to use a dry microfiber cloth, especially if you didn’t get a screen protector (why didn’t you get a screen protector!?).  For you marketing people out there, DigiClean® makes little tiny sticky ones that work great and they’re excellent branding giveaways.  I have one I got at a job fair and I love it.


  •  A paper clip or small binder clip will keep that half-full mega-bag of chips you couldn’t finish closed and fresh inside your desk drawer. A large one will hold your hair up off your neck (seriously; I just did this while stair-walking).


  • Jumbo paper clips make decent makeshift barrettes in a pinch—they’ll keep those tendrils out of your face until you’re finished crawling under your desk to replace the monitor plug you accidentally disconnected.


  • And if that weeny screw in your glasses comes out, stick a paper clip in the hole to keep the temple piece on until you can fix your frames.

FYI, a safety pin works well for this and the glasses thing.  You should go buy some right now and put them in your desk.

Your new best friend.

Your new best friend.

 Photo: Haragayato/Wikimedia Commons

  •  Need to raise your monitor? Grab a couple of those unused phone books sitting around the office and stack them underneath.  Nobody will miss them, I promise.


  • Hit up your tape dispenser for emergency pants or skirt hem repair. It won’t leave holes like a stapler and should hold until you get home.


  • I didn’t make this one up, but if you lose a pierced earring back, save the day with the eraser end of a pencil. Just poke the post through your ear and the eraser on the end of the post.


  • Have to cut a piece of paper in half but don’t have scissors? Fold it, crease it sharply, then (carefully!) run your tongue along the edge of the crease.  Open the paper and slowly tear it in half.  It will be a tiny bit fuzzy, but it works better than tearing it dry—unless the person you’re giving the other half to is completely grossed out.


Eww, Marjorie, roll that thing back up.  Seriously.  

Eww, Marjorie, roll that thing back up.  Seriously.

 Photo: stockimages/


  •  Don’t throw that chipped coffee cup away. Use it to hold your pens and pencils.


  • Make friends with the person who buys supplies and when he/she orders paper, you can score a cardboard box to use as a footrest.


There you are—a few desk hacks to make your day a little less annoying.  If you can think of any more, please share them in the comments.



4 thoughts on “Desk Hacks!

  1. Hi there.. My whole life is held together by safety pins and binder clips. Binder clips also hold music to your music stand when you’re playing outdoors with the wind blowing.. I use them also as a brooch to hold scarves together.

    I wanted to share my new video that may well be an antidote to summer-time office blahs. It’s inspired by Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle (Chapter 17), and my long-time stint working as an admin at Goldman Sachs.

    • I’m replying under the assumption that this is not a spam comment (when I see links, I wonder). 🙂

      Thanks! As for the article, it’s been shown that open office plans are detrimental to concentration. Plus, people HAAAAAAATE being right on top of their coworkers all day. I guess it’s a return to the office bullpen, but this isn’t *Mad Men*, and it can go bye-bye now.

      I work in a cube farm, and even those suck for concentrating. I have to use noise-cancelling headphones on a daily basis, because I sit in the middle of a bunch of phone support people. Which is fine, because I edit better when I have music playing anyway.

      If you’re new to office life, you should check out *Ask a Manager* ( Alison Green has tons of super advice for all kinds of work situations, and the commenters are some of the most intelligent and articulate people (as well as nice!) on the internet. 😀

      On Thu, Jul 30, 2015 at 2:42 PM, Clerical Chick wrote:


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