We spend the majority of our working hours at the office. And the stakes are high – you are constantly being judged and evaluated not just on your performance, but your appearance, attitude, interactions with others and the image that you portray.

So it’s critical that you are prepared for the unexpected. Every smart professional woman needs to keep several key items in her desk drawer to help her cope with the small emergencies that may arise during the course of a workday:

Stain Remover. We’ve all been there – sitting at your desk, drinking your morning coffee when you carelessly spill some right on your white shirt. If you’re prepared, you just reach into your drawer for your handy stain remover. There are several on the market, but my favorite product is the Tide To Go Instant Stain Remover. It is easy to use and works well on common stains like coffee and lunch spills. It is best to use tide when the stain is fresh. Blot out what is stained and then apply the remover to the area until you see the stain disappear.

Makeup palette. You never know when you will be called into a meeting. If you didn’t have a chance to apply makeup, or if your makeup wore off during the day, having a small makeup palette will be a lifesaver. I’m a big fan of Stila, which has several coordinated kits containing lip gloss, blush and eye shadows. It’s not a bad idea to go one step further and add a small pot of concealer. Within five minutes, you will look fresh and energized.

Sewing kit. In many of the hotels I’ve stayed in, they have small sewing kits available for guests. I always take these home when I come across them. These kits only contain the bare necessities – a needle, thread in two or three basic colors (typically white, black and navy), a few buttons and some safety clips. But that’s all you need for on-the-fly wardrobe malfunctions. If you haven’t stayed at a hotel where they provide them, you can easily buy a simple sewing kit at most grocery and convenience stores.

Hand savers. Research has shown that women are judged by their hands, and it’s imperative to have them in good shape and soft. Having a hand lotion with a nice scent also doubles as a substitution for perfume on days when you need a boost. Nail clippers and an emery board will save you on days when you break a nail.

Hair necessities. Weather can wreck havoc on styled hair. Perfectly straight hair will get frizzy with humidity. Naturally curly hair can become snarled. Wavy, full-bodied hair can go limp. Be prepared with the following: elastic bands, bobby pins, a comb. With these simple tools, you can create a simple chignon or chic ponytail. Bonus: those bobby pins can help hide bra straps that keep slipping!

Healthy snacks. It’s easy to slide into bad habits. The vending machine is a huge temptation. Fight it by ensuring you have a few healthy snacks available. I recommend nuts, granola bars or dried fruits. It’s also not a bad idea to have a few quick lunches handy for days when you can’t get away. Microwaveable soups are a great option.

Dental items. Don’t be THAT person. Have floss, mouth wash, toothbrush, toothpaste and breath mints handy.

Deodorant. A travel-sized deodorant will be a lifesaver on hot days when you need to reapply or on days when you just forgot!

Feminine products. Sometimes our cycles surprise us. Keep pads or tampons on hand in case you are out of stock. This prevents embarrassing accidents or rush trips home to change.

Foldable flats. There are days when you are running around. Days it’s apparent that your cute new shoes need to be broken in just a wee bit more. Foldable flats like Dr. Scholl’s For Her Fast Foldable Flats were made for days like this. I recommend a basic, neutral color like black or tan.

Stock up on these items. They are worthwhile investments in keeping you looking polished and feeling confident. And make sure you take into consideration your own personal situations. Are you in an office that still requires pantyhose? Then you want a spare. Most offices have basic first aid kits that will contain necessities like pain relievers, but if you have special medical needs like allergies or dry eyes, make sure you have the remedies in your drawer.


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