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What are Office Supplies?

Though relatively inexpensive, office supplies are critical to running a business.
Office supplies commonly include calendars.
Address books are used to record contact information of clients and associates.
Printer paper is a common office supply.
Hole punches are used as part of an office organization system.
A printer.
Office supplies may include paperclips.
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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 July 2014
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Along with technology and office furniture, office supplies make up one of the main categories of items needed to completely establish an office environment. They could be characterized as the items used in, around, and with the furniture and technology in the work of the office, whether a home office with one employee or a multi-national company with a huge workforce. Unlike technology and office furniture, most office supplies are relatively inexpensive, but many are essential to the smooth running of a business. Of course, the specific needs of each office are tailored to the work done there. Nevertheless, some items are fairly universal.

Stationery is one element of office supplies. Office workers use writing paper, copying paper, printer paper, typewriter paper, letterhead, notepads, envelopes, forms, memos, and telephone message pads. Other items that are made of paper but are not strictly stationery are sticky notes, calendars, and planners. Writing utensils are an office supply that goes hand-in-hand with stationery. Pens, pencils, markers, and highlighters may all find a place. Don’t forget the correction fluid, correction tape, or eraser.

Desk and storage organizers are another category of office supplies. Manila folders, hanging files, and their accouterments, such as labels, are crucial to certain office organization systems, just as binders and sheet protectors are crucial to others. Index dividers to organize binders and hole-punches to prepare plain paper for binders are additions to the system.

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Small tools that have a role in the office include staplers, scissors, letter openers, compasses, and protractors. Products that connect items such as tape, glue, binder clips, paper clips, pins, tacks, rubber bands, brass fasteners, clipboards, and Velcro®, are essential office supplies. These often reside in desk organizers or drawer organizers.

Presentations may be made with flip charts or easels, and notes and messages may find their way onto bulletin boards or dry erase boards. Other items that don’t fit so neatly in categories but are important office supplies include file cards and boxes to hold them, address books and devices, book racks, and CD and/or DVD storage racks.

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Discuss this Article

mutsy
Post 3

@Latte31 - Wow that is awesome. I have to say that there are always office supply coupons in the Sunday paper. I always end up going to these stores even though I don’t need anything. I could never leave the store without spending at least $100. I just love the highlighters and different pens that they have.

I could spend the whole day at one of these office supply stores. My son is the same way. He loves to draw so he is in heaven in one of these stores because he always looks at the specialty pencils and markers.

Lately he has taken an interest to specialty erasers because some of the kids in his class have some. He recently bought these erasers that were shaped like hamburgers and shakes. They were really cute, but a little pricey.

latte31
Post 2

@Icecream17 - I know what you mean. I would always buy office supplies for my company and the pens were the first things to go. I wanted to add that a lot of office supply stores offer corporate discounts.

In fact, I get a 78% discount when I shop at our preferred discount office supply company that we have a contract with. The discount gets taken off at the register when you pay.

icecream17
Post 1

I love going into office supply stores. I usually stock up when they have those back to school sales. I always buy tons of crayons, pencils, papers and pens. It doesn’t matter how many home office supplies I buy, I always seem to need more. I can never have enough pencils or pens.

I buy bags of pens and within a month, I can’t find a single one. I don’t know if people just walk away with them by mistake or what, but I can never figure it out.

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