25 Ways to Repurpose Office Supplies

25 ways to repurpose office supplies

2017 Update: We still stand by these ways to repurpose office supplies, but you may also want to check out our most recent roundup of our very favorite places to get cute office decor!

Ladies, 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).

Accessory Help with Repurposed Office Supplies

  1. If you need to hide scuffs in dark leather or even small tears, try a black Sharpie.
  2. If need to replace a lost earring back, try a pencil eraser.
  3. If you’re removing a delicate necklace at any point in the day (to switch outfits, go to the gym, etc.) and don’t want it to get tangled in your bag, cut slits in a business card and wrap your necklace around it. (I love this trick for general necklace organization anyway!)
  4. If you need to get scuffs out of patent leather or light colored leather, try a traditional pencil eraser.
  5. No hair tie? Try a pencil bun.

Substitute Office Supplies for Drugstore Products

  1. If you need dental floss, try post-it tape flags, a business card, or a folded post-it note.
  2. If you need blotting papers, try toilet seat covers.
  3. If you need a mirror at your desk, turn your phone camera to selfie mode.
  4. If you need to remove regular nail polish from a chipped manicure, try Scotch tape — just lay it across the manicure and lift up.

Other Uses for Coffee Room Supplies

  1. If you need to cover funny smells in the office, get a cup of mint tea.
  2. If you need to amplify your iPhone speaker volume (perhaps if you find yourself working in a conference room all day), try putting your phone in an empty plastic cup or getting crafty with an empty toilet paper roll.
  3. Get a cup of hot tea or coffee to defrost food. (It works great for Vitatops.)
  4. If you feel like cooking at the office, try these recipes for mug cakes or other mug snacks.

Rainy Day Uses for Office Supplies

  1. If you’re surprised by a rainy day and you find your pants too long, try a binder clip as a temporary hem – it’s not pretty but it will work, particularly on dry clean only fabrics that don’t stay while folded, like triacetate.
  2. If you don’t have an umbrella, try a file folder if you’re making a quick dash — they’re more durable and less floppy than a newspaper.
  3. If you already keep a wrap or blanket in your office, use it to cover your hair or business suit during a rainy-day dash — it may not be super-fashionable but it will work.

Ladies, what are your favorite ways to repurpose office supplies? Any office supply hacks we haven’t thought of? 

Pictured: Pixabay (modified). 

ways to use office supplies in a pinch


  1. TJ: Just wanted to review my Nsale purchases for those still looking!

    Pleione Bell Cuff Blouse (5163949): Expected to hate this when I pulled it out of the box, but I actually loved it when I tried it on. The bell sleeve is very subtle. It will be great tucked into suiting pants but I could also wear it for a dinner out with some skinny jeans or leggings. Verdict: KEEPING

    Vince Camuto Mock Neck Blouse (5152585): I purchased this in French Rose. It’s really pretty and I love the neckline. However, its much too sheer for office wear. Perhaps another color would fare better but I’m too lazy to deal with exchanging. Verdict: RETURNING

    Classiques Entier Superfine Wool Suit Trousers (5113364): I was looking for a nice pair of gray pants. Thought I would try the wide-leg thing. These pants were HUGE. Not flattering at all. Verdict: RETURNING

    Cole Haan Tali Luxe Wedge in tortoise patent (5150303_1): These fit TTS, are really comfy and the tortoise will go with nearly everything I own. It’s very subtle. I like that they are patent and easy to clean. Verdict: KEEPING

  2. Cornellian :

    Sorry for the threadjack, but my google skills are failing me. There is a post somewhere on corporette about announcing your pregnancy (I think in particular as a lawyer, but I might be wrong about that).

    I’ve hit 18 weeks in BigLaw, and fear the time is coming….

    • lucy stone :

      Congratulations! This one? http://corporette.com/how-to-announce-your-pregnancy-at-work/

      I told my boss at 10 weeks this time, which worked for me because I had a lot of MD appts and I think he was worried something was catastrophically wrong.

      • Cornellian :

        It’s funny, the first trimester was very brutal, but no one suspected a thing. Now I feel better, but fear I’m starting to show…

  3. Binder clips for chip clips!

    • Anonymous :

      We do this. And not just at the office. Our pantry is full of them. I feel like I dig them out of my briefcase to use once a week.

    • This is what I do. Binder clips for everything! Chip clips, cord corralling, keeping headphones untangled (paper clips work for this too), recipe holding off of my magnetic knife rack, improvising a photo holder, you name it.

      This one is well known but a pencil eraser makes a fantastic earing back.
      Also, crayon (does that count as an office supply?) will unstick a stuck zipper. And I’d say – unless you’re pregnant- if you are using a rubber band on your pants on a regular basis, you should just get new pants.

  4. This one may be a little riskee for the HIVE, but I use medical tape under my cotton blouses when I am not able to wear a bra or cami, particularly when the A/C is cold b/c otherwise peeople can see just how cold it realy is. This works.

  5. Mug cakes? :

    I have a feeling I’d be considered ridiculous if anyone saw me make a mug cake at work, or even suggest doing it in this comments section.

    • I know. Given the obsession with being omgso professional, I think mug cake is pretty out there. I come here for the hive but some posts increasingly verge on the absurd.

      • Anonymous :

        man when i’m stuck at the office at 10 at night a mug cake is sometimes just what I need to cheer me up!

    • How on earth would anyone know if you make yourself a mug cake at work? Does your office have a microwave police?

  6. If your office supplies include first aid supplies, hoard alcohol prep pads! They work for:
    – impromptu “dry cleaning”
    – glasses cleaning
    – phone cleaning

  7. A friend had the seam of her pants come undone at work right across the bottom. I told her to staple it together from the inside, where the stiching was. Worked great!

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