Stocking your new business with office supplies might seem like a no-brainer task until you begin to add up every little, big and legally mandatory item you'll need. A well-stocked office not only helps your team operate efficiently but creates a professional atmosphere that can boost your clientele's confidence in your company. Use a general office supplies checklist to also generate plans for room layout, budget and any skills that you may need to acquire or brush-up on.

Supplies for Office Equipment    

One of the last problems you want to face after you open the doors is a shortage of supplies to keep computers, printers or fax machines running smoothly. A list of office equipment and supplies can save you time and embarrassment:

  • Toner cartridges or printer ink 
  • Spare computer mouse 
  • Spare monitor
  • Spare keyboard
  • Mousepads
  • Monitor-mounting arms
  • Blank CDs and DVDs
  • USBs, adapters and hubs
  • Screen wipes

The Paper Works

In the outside world, paper may not be as in-demand today as it was in years past, but paper is still a necessity in the office. Customize your list of paper products for the office, depending on your business's needs:

  • Printer paper
  • Fax paper
  • Telephone-message pads
  • Sticky notes
  • Spiral notepads
  • Graph paper
  • Writing paper – letter and legal sizes
  • Envelopes – letter, Manila in padded and catalog size
  • Shipping labels
  • Adding-machine paper rolls  
  • Paper hole reinforcements 
  • Index tabs and dividers
  • File folders
  • Pocket folders
  • Calendars
  • Planner refills
  • Time cards 

Desk and Reception Supplies

What's a poorly stocked desk? A productivity killer, that's for sure. Stock up on:

  • Staples and staplers for each desk
  • Pens (blue, black and red ink), pencils, highlighters, markers
  • Erasers
  • Push pins
  • Paperclips
  • Clamps and fasteners
  • Rubber bands
  • Tape – assorted
  • Schedule board 
  • Office-chair mats or floor protectors

In Case of Emergency

An office without a first-aid kit is a disaster and a liability waiting to happen. Some businesses are naturally more dangerous than others, but accidents can occur anywhere, anytime. Make sure that employees know where to find the vividly marked box containing items such as:

  • Adhesive bandages 
  • Gauze pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Latex gloves
  • Wound-cleaning towelettes 
  • Elastic wraps
  • Roller bandage
  • Blanket

It's also wise and often mandatory, depending on local laws, for businesses to have not just a first-aid kit but also resuscitation equipment on hand.

The Pretties That Add Personality

Having a style direction can help you choose everything from the office wall colors to the furniture pieces. An office that's rich in personality is more than inspiring to workers, visitors and clients, it's memorable, too. Effective branding is a science that includes decorating your business with its logo colors and a theme that encompasses your brand, mission statement or goals. Use accents, such as:

  • Artwork – Be consistent throughout the reception area and adjoining waiting room
  • Floral arrangements and plants
  • Statues, figurines or other large impressive pieces that speak to your brand or mission
  • Lamps
  • Wall-decal quotes or murals
  • Clocks
  • Durable area rugs

The Furniture and Other Large Items

As you contemplate how many furniture pieces your company needs, also consider size, comfort or ergonomics for increased productivity and durability. Typically, the better the quality, the longer each piece will last. Depending on your venture, your office furniture checklist might include:

  • Assorted chairs – desk chairs, waiting-room seating, counter stools
  • Waiting-room tables
  • Desks for each office and a reception area
  • Office partition panels – mobile, portable dividers allow versatility as needs change
  • Storage modules, shelving, bookshelves that double as room dividers
  • Filing cabinets
  • Whiteboards
  • Conference tables and seating
  • Office kitchen furniture and appliances

A general checklist for office supplies can seem endless, but don't let the cost of these items dampen your motivation. If necessary, shop for bargains, ask sales reps for discounts and even watch for business closing-out sales where you might scoop up virtually everything you need, at a fraction of the original price (great vintage pieces never go out of style). Remember that many office supplies and furnishings are tax write-offs, and if they're top quality, you won't need to replace them for years or even decades.