What Does Your Desk Drawer Say About You?

einsteins deskI guess we've all seen that famous Life magazine photo of Albert Einstein's messy desktop (a real one, made of wood, long before the advent of the PC). One can only imagine how haphazard the drawers might have been -- but it's proof that a disorganized workspace doesn't necessarily reflect a disorganized workplace.

Take a look at photos and anecdotes we collected, showing the different styles of working people from all walks of life -- from marketing to management -- and how they keep their everyday items in check.

How does your drawer compare?

Danica Bergagnini

Principal, Unnaturally Geisha Studios, Inc.

I am a graphic and Web designer and co-own a multimedia design studio. From the contents of my drawer, it is obvious that I work with computers; my most used item is definitely the flash drive. If you need to move around files on a regular basis, I strongly suggest it -- it is definitely a prerequisite for meetings so you can get or give files as you are discussing them.

The most useless and slightly embarrassing items are all the old and broken iPods, cameras and phones. I should just get rid of them already but they hide in the drawer and I forget about them.

Here is what's in my drawer:

  • various camera battery chargers
  • Disneyland lanyard
  • can of dust remover
  • CD envelopes
  • broken camera
  • 2 broken iPods
  • iPod charger
  • iPod cables
  • replacement halogen bulb
  • old cell phone
  • extra phone battery
  • various cable adapters
  • screen cleaner
  • dust remover cloth
  • CD Stomper
  • sewing tape measure
  • flash drive

Carrie L. Lundgren

Fiscal support specialist, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Desk drawers are wonderful, but in the real world they expand to this... (see pic) Which is always full of the larger extras -- dusters, discs, personal girlie products for the wayward student and boo-boo strips.


  • Envelope moistener! Best stuff ever invented.
  • Ibuprofen
  • Gum for the breath
  • A small screwdriver with interchangeable heads and a small flashlight
  • A tape measure
  • Cortisone for paper cuts.

Wish: Rubber fingertips that fit and weren't so ugly. (Why don't they make pretty ones?)

Brian Collier

Store manager

Crucial contents of any desk drawer are an overabundance of pens (they seem to disappear like socks in a dryer), staple remover (because using your fingernail starts hurting) and Post It note pads (just because they look cool hanging up and they make you feel organized and important).

My drawer, unfortunately is devoid of two important items: a Magic 8 Ball for making all-important and vital decisions, and a bottle of extra strength aspirin for when you and your ball make wrong decisions (in extreme cases, razor blades). Another drawer in my file cabinet holds innocuous plastic forks and spoons, packets of ketchup and mustard, and Snickers as rewards when you and your ball make a commanding decision.

Dinah McLean

Principal, Click Communications


  • Calculator -- I still have my old TI-81 from high school
  • Sticky notes -- mine are extra pretty with birds on them
  • Glue stick -- you never know
  • Tissues, Tylenol, floss, vitamins -- little mini medicine cabinet
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Extra staples


  • Stress ball w/ pink skull & crossbones
  • Extra pens & sharpies
  • Rubber bands
  • Matches
  • Tape
  • A wallet with extra/old membership cards, credit cards, gift cards. Just in case. Probably I could (and should) throw most of them out
  • Lint roller
  • Extra lip gloss

Keith Olexa

Freelance writer-editor, Starlog Magazine and Fangoria

Desk essentials: pencils, pens, markers, highlighters, staples, tape, paper clips, and flash drives (not a total Luddite here!)

My missing desk tool? A label maker!

What's essential, handy, fits in a drawer? Pens, pencils, of course, and an encrypted USB flash drive that contains all one's passwords and registration codes. Why? C'mon, we've all done it at one time or another... scrabbled around our files trying to find the codes for a program we have to re-install. Keep up with all of it in one safe place, a place that's also arm's length away.

Mac McLean

Principal, Click Communications

Always be prepared!

OK, so my drawer is more of a nest. Since we work from home and my desk is somewhat portable, I decided to put everything in an easy-to-move dinner tray. And the laptop stand created a nice four-compartment storage area for my stuff!

Office supplies

  • Pens (all of them)
  • Scissors (normal and 10-blade shredders)
  • Sticky notes (from 'Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion')
  • Paper clips
  • Rubber bands
  • Krazy Glue (always handy!)
  • Letter openers
  • Business card nook


  • iPhone cable
  • Flash drives (at least three)
  • USB speakers
  • Batteries (wireless keyboard)


  • Leatherman's tool
  • Flashlight
  • Box cutter

Cleaning supplies

  • Static screen cloth
  • iPhone screen cloth
  • Dirt Rags keyboard and mouse cleaner

Mini drugstore

  • Tylenol
  • Sudafed
  • Chapstick
  • Nail clippers
  • Tums
  • Wrist brace


  • Maker's Mark (in case of emergency)
  • Clif bars
  • Chewing gum

Next: What Your Cubicle Says About You

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

Danica Bergagnini drawer with TWO broken 'I-Pod's'and Cameras tells me she manages time poorly (send of a e-mail, contact 'Apple'and the Camera makers, etc.), doesn't 'Follow Through' (again...TWO BROKEN I-PODS and various Cameras, didn't follow through on the first, bought a second one and did the same ditto with the Cameras), Wastes money (doesn't tries to fix or repair...just wastes money on a item that broke, didn't research for a better constructed/value item! Ditto again with the Cameras). And she's a Principal!

November 10 2010 at 1:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I found this article kinda informative but your right new's must be slow.

November 10 2010 at 1:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Interesting...Tylenol, Ibuprofen, cortisone cream... a real drug society!
Why are otherwise intelligent people ingesting such crap?

November 10 2010 at 1:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Goody's Headache Powder. I used to keep a box in the top of my tool chest when I was turning wrenches full-time. Now I keep it in my top drawer. Whether it's from diesel exhaust fumes or an overabundance of Powerpoint slide presentations, Goody's can knock a headache out in no time flat. Something else to consider keeping on-hand, though maybe not in the top desk drawer, is a roll of decent toilet paper! Seems like a lot of employers (and the government/military) are counting on the money they save on toilet paper to pull them through the lean quarters. And, once in a while, well, it's just unavoidable. When it is, I like having my own brand on-hand.

November 10 2010 at 10:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ol Bob

What's in my drawer? My luger, and you'd be wise not to come snooping around.

November 09 2010 at 6:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

another slow news day for AOL

November 09 2010 at 5:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Picks From the Web