I’ve worked from home as a full-time freelancer since 2009, and these are the desk essentials for a home office that I have in my workspace.

One of the best things about being a freelancer is the ability to work from anywhere. I’ve worked on trains and planes, while riding shotgun in a car, from hotel rooms and hotel lobbies, poolside, etc.

When you’re home, though, it pays to have a dedicated workspace with all of the must-have home office essentials you might need. There’s nothing like having to stop short in the middle of your workflow because you can’t print out a document or jot a note down on a piece of scrap paper.

Home office with essential items.
Ergonofis / Unsplash

Over the years, I’ve added to my must-have home office essentials so that everything I could possibly need is either within arm’s reach or just a few steps away.

I don’t like to crowd my desk up with those necessities, though. Keeping the workspace that’s right in front of me as clear and organized as possible helps me focus. And while my desk does get out of hand at times, keeping it in good shape is always a priority.

Whether you organize everything on your desktop or you have a few built-in drawers to stash items in, these are the 24 desk essentials for a home office that I can’t live without.

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Small Desk Lamp

Cute desk lamp to add to desk essentials for a home office.

Even if you have other lighting in your office, it’s helpful to have a small desk lamp for when you need more light or you want a calmer, low-light setting. I have mine connected to Alexa, which lets me turn it on and off with voice commands. That way, it doesn’t matter if the switch is hard to reach.

Desk Fan

Vintage pink desk fan for must-have home office essentials.

You won’t need to use your desk fan every day, but when you’re warm and need to cool down, you’ll be glad it’s there. The one I have has two settings so I can adjust how intense it is. Keep it somewhere that it’s already angled toward you so you don’t have to move it around every time you want to use it.

Computer Monitor Stand

Glass monitor stand.

Keeping your desk setup ergonomic is so important when you work from home. It’s easy to get lazy and slump when you don’t have other people around you, and if you clock in more hours at home than in the office, that extra time at your desk can cause some serious pain.

This computer monitor stand helps me keep my head, neck and shoulders aligned because I don’t have to look down to see the screen. And the see-through glass design makes it a modest addition to my desk that easily blends in with everything else there.

See it on Amazon.

Computer Mouse

Purple and yellow computer mouse from Logitech.

If you’re working with a mouse, this is the one I swear by — and that’s after testing many, many over the years. I’m a big Logitech fan in general, and this wireless mouse is sleek, smooth and rarely has a hiccup. I’ve had to replace it a couple of times since I started using it, but I’m still a devotee.

See it here.

Extra-Large Mousepad

I’ve used small mousepads in the past, but constantly going off the mousepad and having to re-center is a nuisance. Now I use this extra-large one, and I never have that issue.Large mousepad.What I like most about this mousepad is that it has two layers of protectors, so you can put notes, inspirational cards, reminders, etc. underneath and still use the mousepad as normal.

See it on Amazon.

Mini Storage Boxes

Mini storage boxes.

When your desk starts to get cluttered with small items that you’re not ready to go through yet, you can corral them with miniature desktop storage boxes. I use the ones pictured above, which come in a pack of four. The best part is that they can be collapsed when they’re no longer needed so they don’t take up unnecessary desk space.

See them on Amazon.

Letter Trays

One of the more recent additions to my desk essentials for a home office are these stackable rose gold letter trays. They’re ideal for gathering together papers, booklets and items of all sizes, whether you always need to keep those items nearby or you have to dedicate time to organizing them.

Rose gold letter tray desk essentials for a home office.

⭐️ P.S. Ignore the reviews that say they’re not stackable. You just have to tuck the V-shaped “feet” of the top one into the top of the bottom one and they stay perfectly stacked.

See them on Amazon.


Post-it notes to jot down freelancing tips.

Duh. What list of must-have home office essentials is complete without Post-its? I have an assortment of colors and sizes, and I go through them fast.

🤓 Pro Tip: Don’t buy knock-off Post-its. They don’t stick, they curl up, and they basically can’t Post-it like the O.G. Waste of money.

Portable Charger

Charging power station as one of the must-have home office essentials.

This may seem like a silly addition to your list of desk essentials for a home office, but even if you have a few outlets in your room, you’ll be glad to have a charger right on your desktop. I always need my phone nearby, even if all I’m using it for is changing the volume of my white noise. If it’s plugged into a wall, it’s inconvenient and can interrupt my workflow.

I have a power station that I love from Mophie, almost exactly like the one above, with multiple ports so I can charge my phone and headphones at the same time. Check it out here.

Alexa Device

Alexa device as part of the list of desk essentials for a home office.

Having an Alexa device on your desk — preferably one without a screen, which can be distracting — is a great way to stay on top of must-know information without having to take a break and look at your phone or email.

Using my Alexa device, I can add items to my shopping list, check on when my orders will be delivered and find out the weather without even lifting my fingers from my keyboard.

Explore your options here.

Microfiber Lens Cloths

Microfiber cloths as desk essentials for a home office.

I have a ton of microfiber cloths in my office, and I mainly use them to wipe off my keyboard and mouse a few times a day. After typing and being on the computer for a while, my keyboard and mouse always feel a little sticky, like there’s a bit of buildup from my hand lotion and general use. Wiping them down with these cloths makes them more comfortable to use without fear of ruining them with an abrasive cleaner.

More Desk Essentials for a Home Office

Here are a few more must-have home office essentials so the necessities are always close by:

  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Sharpie marker
  • Large eraser
  • Page flags
  • Letter opener
  • Scissors
  • Scrap paper

Check out these adorable, retractable letter openers.

5 Items to Protect Your Desk

Part of your list of must-have home office essentials should be products that can protect your desk and extend its life.

Cloth Napkins

Cloth napkins with animals on them.

Instead of using placemats on my desk to keep it protected as I snack, I toss down a cloth napkin. They’re smaller and easy to throw in the wash afterward. This prevents your dishware from scratching the surface of your desk.

Drink Coasters

Drink coasters as desk essentials for a home office.In addition to always having a couple of cloth napkins nearby, I make sure to have a few drink coasters in my desk drawer at all times. Not only do they protect your desktop from heat and condensation, but they keep your cups and mugs from scratching your desk.

Just make sure to get soft ones like these silicone ones that look like fruit slices. Otherwise, the drink coasters could scratch your desktop.

Edge Protector

Adhesive edge protector for home office desks.

If you lean against the same part of your desk and notice that it’s getting damaged, this clear edge-protector strip can help. You just want to try to get it on correctly the first time so you don’t have to peel it off, which can cause more damage depending on your desk finish.

Furniture Markers

Furniture markers for desk repair.

You may also be able to fix desk damage with furniture markers. Look for color options that come as close to your desk color as possible. When I watched a furniture delivery guy use a marker on an item that had a small scuff, he wiped the marker along it and then wiped a little off with his finger to blend it in, and he did that a few times until it covered up the scuff.

Keyboard Cleaning Gel

Keyboard cleaning gel.

It’s important to keep your keyboard clean so it continues working well. Otherwise, you’ll be less efficient if you do a lot of typing for work. This cleaning gel gets into your keyboard’s crevices to remove any crumbs and debris that’s settled down there, and it doesn’t stick to your fingers.

Are you in need of freelance coaching? Send me an email at lindsaypietro@gmail.com. I help freelancers navigate client issues, figure out how much to charge and so much more.