25 Ways to Repurpose Office Supplies

25 ways to repurpose office suppliesLadies, what are your best suggestions for ways to repurpose office supplies? Everyone likes to stock their office with the stuff they need — but from time to time you find yourself caught off guard and just need to make the best of a bad situation. We rounded up ten other uses for office supplies a loooong time ago, but I thought we’d expand on the topic and discuss today!

First up: ways to repurpose office supplies to help with fashion emergencies:

Clothing Hacks with Office Supplies

  1. If you need a lint brush, try a Fed Ex mailing label or packing tape.
  2. If you need to stop a run in your hose and don’t have nail polish, try using a glue stick or white out (obviously best if the run starts somewhere hidden).
  3. If you need to reduce static cling with pantyhose/skirt, try rubbing hand lotion on your hands and then smoothing it on your pantyhose.
  4. If you need to fix a fallen hem, try double-sided tape or packing tape folded double, or try stapling your clothes with the solid bar on the inside — many readers noted the holes rubbed right out when the staple was removed later in the day.
  5. If your pants are too tight after lunch (and/or you’re pregnant), try a rubber band or hairband to help extend the waistband.
  6. If you need to fix a broken zipper pull, try a paperclip.
  7. If you need to fix a broken bra strap or shoe strap, try a teeny tiny binder clip.
  8. If you’re going desk to dinner and forgot to wear or pack a racerback bra, try a paperclip to make your regular bra a racerback.
  9. If you need to remove a stain, try hairspray (for ink), or wet paper towels beneath your shirt with dry ones on top (especially for coffee stains).

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Affordable, Easy Office Decor Ideas

easy office decor ideasLadies, what are your favorite easy office decor ideas? What’s the first thing you do in any new office, and what ideas would you recommend to summer associates, interns, and others? Decorating your office with cute desk accessories and more can be an essential way to making your workspace happier — and giving yourself more energy. But, if you’re a summer associate, intern, on-site consultant, on a secondment, or any other kind of temporary worker, you don’t want to put in a ton of effort into decorating your desk or office. So what are the top affordable, easy office decor ideas that help you avoid staring at boring blank walls or that ubiquitous cubicle-wall shade of beige-gray-tan?

Obviously, you should make sure not to damage the office in any way, such as leaving behind adhesive residue or accidentally removing paint/drywall when you remove things from the walls. You also won’t want to bring too much stuff, or else by the end of your time there you won’t even want to bring it all home. (Plus, it’s a little weird when a temporary worker looks like they’ve moved in, yes?) So what are the best ideas beyond “colorful tissue box”? (Always an option!) We thought we’d round up some great ideas for cute desk accessories and other simple, fast ways summer associates can decorate their offices.

(Update: as you see in the comments, a lot of readers bristled at the very idea of this post, noting that summer associates or interns should NEVER decorate their office. We’ve updated the post a bit for clarity, but it’s a good reminder to know your office. )

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Family Pictures – at the Office

family pictures office decorHere’s an office decor question we haven’t talked about in years: when are family pictures at the office “too much”? Weddings, babies, parents, friends — are they ever appropriate?  Here’s a question from Reader E:

I was wondering if you or your readers have any thoughts about office decorations. I am a new mom and I recently brought a framed 5 x 7 picture of my baby into my office. I like having a picture to decorate my office, but I wonder if this makes me seem less professional. I have heard the advice that working moms should not talk about their children too much.

Over at CorporetteMoms we’ve talked about when to talk about your kid at the office, but I think using family pictures as office decor is a different issue.  IMHO, the quick answer is yes: pictures of your loved ones are fine, with the caveats that the pictures be framed if they’re on display (not just taped to your monitor, cabinet, or drawer), tastefully sized (5×7 is fine — gallery-size canvas prints, maybe not so fine) and that in the picture you aren’t wearing or doing anything you’re going to regret colleagues seeing.  I also am a fan of digital pictures, either as a slideshow for your monitor or a desktop background (more on this below).  That said, though, here are some thoughts more in depth:

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Cute Office Supplies: When To Use Them

Cute Office Supplies | CorporetteOur post the other day about the cute file folders got me thinking: When should a professional woman actually use cute office supplies? Should you use them only in a home office? Only for presentations? As part of a cohesive system for all of your office work? (Pictured: Smiley Face Binder Clips, $4 for 40 at Amazon.)

For my $.02, I’ve always loved cute office supplies — something about going to Staples or Kate’s Paperie or the like takes me back to the happy feelings of back-to-school shopping. (Yeah, I was that kid.) But once I got to my law firm, this is how I actually used them: for personal things in my office only. I had a nice folder for keeping track of my CLE credits, and a nice folder for holding my old timesheets and the like — things that I filed myself and didn’t need to hand off to someone else. They sat on my desk (as part of my organized office system) and made me happy — but they were but a small pop of color amidst the seas of red Redwelds, brown Bankers Boxes, and beige manila folders. It was still worth it to me to seek out pretty things and buy them, but it was just for a bit of silliness to cheer me up at the office.

Ladies, when do you use cute office supplies? Do you have a place for them in your life?

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What to Do When Your Office Temperature is Never Right

Office temperature controlIs there a single solution to making an office’s temperature more comfortable if big windows make it too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer? Reader A wonders…

I just started as an associate attorney and it’s my first time with my very own office! It’s so great to have my own four walls. My issue is that one of those walls is actually windows leading to outside, which is great except it makes temperature control a nightmare. Right now, it lets in tons of sun, which makes my office far too hot. I’ve been told by the person who previously occupied my office that in the winter, she froze because of the massive windows. I’m considering looking into an air conditioner for now, but when winter hits, I’ll need a heater. Any idea of a combo unit that I can just switch over when the weather changes? I’d really like to just have one unit, preferably not one that’s massive or noisy.

First, congrats on your own office, Reader A! I’m curious to hear what the readers say. We’ve talked about cold offices and hot offices and how to dress professionally in hot weather and cold weather, but not for dealing with wide temperature discrepancies within a private office like this. Here are my thoughts:

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Is a Vintage Movie Poster Acceptable Office Decor?

Is a Vintage Movie Poster Acceptable Office Decor? Is a vintage movie poster professional enough to hang on your office wall at a new job? Reader E wonders…

I just changed jobs and now have a ton of wall space. My mom graciously had a vintage Wizard of Oz poster professionally framed for me. I haven’t found a place for it in my house — is it too “cutesy” for work? (Pictured: Reader E’s poster.)

I work in state politics. As far as mirroring my boss — she has pictures of her family on the walls, some awards, etc. Alternatively, I have some D.C. pictures, etc., that would be more professional, but I wonder how I would match my accessories to those pictures — the pictures are more office-hallway professional-ish. Thoughts?

Interesting question, Reader E! We’ve talked about office decor before, but not in a really long time. As I’ve noted before, I think a lot of this comes down to a few factors:

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