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Equipment and Supplies Every Home Business Office Should Have

Updated on February 22, 2017

Set Up Your Office Economically

Now that you have decided to work from home, you will need to create a workspace. It seems that many people go to one of two extremes when creating their home office. They decide to save money by using their kitchen table and cardboard boxes, or they go out and spend too much money on office equipment and furniture that they don’t need. The goal is to find yourself somewhere in between the extremes, while creating a work space that is both functional and pleasing to you.

Office Essentials Need Not Be Expensive

Thank you cards are a must have for your home business.
Thank you cards are a must have for your home business. | Source

Start With the Basics


Now days, it is difficult to conduct business without a computer. There are people who do, however. A strictly cash based business could get by without the use of a computer if the transactions are limited in volume and are not complex transactions. For a business such as this, a simple journal method of income and expenses would suffice. That said, if you are going to use a computer for business purposes, it is best to do some research prior to buying.

Check out different manufacturers of computers. Read up on the different types of processors, graphics capabilities, and so on. Read product reviews. Decide what it is you will need to do on your computer. Then buy one that can do everything you want it to do and a little more. I say this because technology is moving so fast. Many people with older systems are finding that their machine cannot interact with the new technology, which makes it hard to do even simple things like looking up information online.


Again, the best bet is to buy a printer that is just a step up from what you think you will need in terms of capability. The more you use your printer, the more uses you will find for it. I favor an all-in-one printer for everyday use. Looking back, however, I wish I had gotten a printer that had automatic double-sided printing capabilities. I should have spent the money for this because flipping sheets by hand eats up a lot of time.

Computer Programs

Some computer programs you should consider investing in are as follows: virus protection, word processing, spreadsheet program, computerized accounting or bookkeeping program, and a desktop publishing program. As a business owner, you will most likely get a great deal of use out of these. It is also a good idea to check into any industry-specific computer programs you may need for the type of business you plan to create.

Computer Paper

Twenty-pound paper is the standard weight for most business needs. In the beginning, using high quality linen or other specialty paper is not necessary. However, it is probably a good idea to keep a small supply of nice paper on hand for times when you need to make written communications with top-level people, such as prospective clients, or consultants you would like to thank for help given. People develop first impressions of you through your written communications. If you are keeping it simple, that is okay. A well-developed letterhead on 20-pound printer paper can look very professional.

Note Pads

Sticky notes, or Post-It Notes™, are invaluable. Use them for keeping track of small bits of information. I commonly use them on the inside of file jackets to post reminders in my working files, or to attach reminders to documents that need to be completed or otherwise processed.


Binders are great for keeping track of important information, such as reports, instructions, master documents, portfolio items, and miscellaneous information. A two-inch binder seems to be a very versatile size.

Index Tabs

I use them all the time. It just takes a minute or two to set up index dividers and tabs, but that time is worth its weight in gold when I need to find information quickly.

Business Card File

There are many types of card files. You can use a book with pockets, a spinning file, or even a plastic recipe box to store the business cards you receive from others. The important thing is that you keep them for handy reference. I often make notes about the individual or their product or service on the back of cards.

File Cabinet or Containers

Some people use wicker baskets, plastic file tubs, or file boxes. I use file cabinets. Many times, you can buy file cabinets at second hand stores. You do not have to spend a lot of money here. The important thing is that you have an organized way of storing documents so that you can retrieve them quickly when needed.

$12.00 Office Chair Cat Acquired Separately!

This office chair is in great condition. Although second hand, the upholstry was in mint condition. Just a couple slight blemishes on the wood. The best part is that it is comfortable.
This office chair is in great condition. Although second hand, the upholstry was in mint condition. Just a couple slight blemishes on the wood. The best part is that it is comfortable. | Source

Office Furniture and Other Necessities

Desk or Work Table

Again, you can save money by purchasing a used desk or table. The important thing is that it is large enough for you to work comfortably. Height is also a consideration. You will spend lots of time here, so if the desk or table is too high or too low, it will not be comfortable and you will not be productive.

Desk Chair

This is one item I would suggest investing some money in. However, I found the perfect chair for my back and body type at a local senior center. I paid $12.00 for it 3 years ago and am so grateful that I have it. It supports my back just the right way.

Pens, Pencils, Highlighters, Markers

Find the kind you like and stick with them. I use highlighters regularly to highlight important parts of long documents so I can find what I am looking for quickly.

Sheet Protectors

Keep documents longer by using sheet protectors. Papers are not ripped and wrinkled when they are in sheet protectors. I use them to keep original documents and portfolio examples. For documents that you just want to keep for general reference, consider storing them in plastic pocket folders. This is an inexpensive way of eliminating clutter.

Business Cards for Your Business

Here again, you don’t have to spend lots of money. The important thing is to develop a nice looking card that includes all the important information about your business. If you print them yourself, you should use a clean edge card sheet that is not too flimsy. An effective business card should give the holder a feeling of substance. Keep it simple but effective. There are some great online business card Web sites that are very economical and produce high quality cards.

One Useful Promotional Item

When it comes to choosing promotional items for your business, keep it simple and inexpensive in the beginning. Try to choose an item that people will use. If you decide to purchase pens printed with your business name, choose a good quality pen with a fine point. People are more likely to use it in their work, and when they do, they will think of you. That is better than a big fat pen that will sit in a drawer or the bottom of a bag and never be used. You want the promotional item to do the job you intend for it to do. Calendars are a great promotional item, but remember that the best time to use them is at the end of the year, when people need a calendar for the coming year.

Printer Ink

Ink cartridges can be costly, but they are a necessity. A lower cost alternative is to buy ink refill kits if you can get them. Using ink refill kits can greatly reduce the amount of money you spend on printing. Now days, however, they seem to be doing away with them and have begun to manufacture the cartridges in such a way as to make the refill kits obsolete. Your best bet is to remember to take advantage of the ink cartridge recycling programs offered at the major office supply stores. This way you get a discount on the new cartridge. Still, ink is expensive, and if you are printing a lot of documents, you may want to consider upgrading your printer to a laser printer. You will find that your ink expense goes down in the long run.


Keep a few stamps on hand that are specifically for business use. This way, when you need to mail a document, there is no delay.

File Folders and File Hangers

Basic file folders and file hangers are a must-have product if you want to keep your home office organized.

Cell Phone

Now days, to be competitive in the business world you need to be accessible to your customers, clients, and other professional people. There are a number of good plans available. Here again, you will want to do some research to determine what type of phone you need. I use a no-contract smart phone. It is not the most recent technology available, but it suits my needs and is economical.

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Submit a Comment
  • Nancy Owens profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy Owens 

    3 years ago from USA

    Hello, @christophercompton ! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to post a comment here. I swung by your profile and see that you are new to Hubpages . This is a great place to begin working online and there are many resources in the tutorials and in the community itself.

    I hope to see you in the future, and I am looking forward to seeing your first article when you get it published.

  • Chris Compton17 profile image

    Christopher Compton 

    3 years ago from Sydney Australia

    Great article, thank you!

  • Nancy Owens profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy Owens 

    3 years ago from USA

    Thank you for stopping by. My heart goes out to you.

  • pstraubie48 profile image

    Patricia Scott 

    3 years ago from North Central Florida

    Hi Nancy there was no comment box for me to comment after you came and read about Heston Wayne. You are so right...he call him our little hero every single day. What a gift and a blessing he is. thank you so much for caring about our little one. Angels are on the way this evening ps

  • Nancy Owens profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy Owens 

    5 years ago from USA

    I am sorry it took so long to respond to this comment. I have been away and am now just getting caught up. I get what you are saying about how fast certain supplies dwindle. Sometimes people stock up from central supply to keep their cubes or offices stocked so they don't run out. Some organizations put a limit on how much their employees can stock-pile.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    There is so much needed in a office to keep up productivity. I am in charge of ordering things in my office and you would be amazed with how fast we go through things. I definitely have to keep up with our inventory.

  • Nancy Owens profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy Owens 

    6 years ago from USA

    Well, thank you... and thank you again. Good for you on getting up and running with your small business. Another good thing to do is to list activities that you will do most often, and then stock up on items you need in order to accomplish those tasks. I can't tell you how many times I have had to postpone an activity or task because I needed to get the supplies in order to get it done. Thank you for tracking me over here. Hopefully we will connect in the big Bubble.

  • TheDragonBringer profile image

    Jade Griffin 

    6 years ago from Ohio

    I'm glad I tracked you from bblws to here. My office is pitiful. For example, I missed a deadline because I didn't have a stamp. 50 cents would have saved me. I've taken notes, and I'm going to set my office up as you suggested! Thank you!

  • Nancy Owens profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy Owens 

    7 years ago from USA

    Thank you for the kind words, Eiddwen, and thank you for reading my work. Simple tips, but sometimes these things get overlooked when setting up an office for the first time.

  • Eiddwen profile image


    7 years ago from Wales

    Interesting and very useful.

    Voted up.


  • Man from Modesto profile image

    Man from Modesto 

    9 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

    Just looking at my desk, I have these: cordless phone, container of paper clips, staplers, tissue, water (you can write off water used in your office), table lamp, straight edges, computer speakers, rubber bands (engineering plans, rolled), cordless mouse, thumb drive, manilla folders, boxes of pens, staple puller, and a small pocket knife (letter opener, and neatly opens packets of paper- ripping them open leaves them loose and messy).

    Nice hub!

  • Nancy Owens profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy Owens 

    9 years ago from USA

    Thank you, Jimania. The items metioned above a pretty basic, but it took me some time to figure out what supplies and equipment help me the most. I hope that others will benefit by my sharing what I use and the value those things bring to my professional life in terms of time management and efficiency.

  • Jimania profile image


    9 years ago from Atlanta GA USA

    We work with many new business owners and this will be a useful page for them to see. Great article and thanks for writing!!!

  • Nancy Owens profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy Owens 

    9 years ago from USA

    Thank you for the kind words! Setting up an office is fun, and there really are ways to avoid spending a lot of money to get the job done!

  • Lord De Cross profile image

    Joseph De Cross 

    9 years ago from New York

    Nancy thnaks for the follow, and I checked this hub and you did really good. I like your style thouroughly honest, and to the point. Flaggin this magnificent hub up


  • Nancy Owens profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy Owens 

    9 years ago from USA

    Thanks, cherylone. There are other home office essentials that I consider to be life savers, but there just wasn't room to include all of them here! I find it so much easier to be productive and professional if my home workspace is efficient. If I let it get cluttered, it seems like I also get a bit sluggish in my work.

  • cherylone profile image

    Cheryl Simonds 

    9 years ago from Connecticut

    Great Hub, I am one of those who needs to be organized even if it is just the weekly budget items and this hub certainly helps with that as well. Voted up and useful. :)


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