The upcoming New Year got me thinking — it’s the perfect time to do some last-minute shopping for office supplies! After all, 2012 is almost over and, if you have your own business or freelance as I do, you can deduct your business expenses during tax season.

While some of these office supplies and equipment suggestions would work for a web designer’s home office, others are just plain cool and can be used for any workplace.

Red Swingline Shredder

If you’ve ever watched the movie Office Space, you know about Milton and his obsession with his red Swingline stapler. Well, Swingline’s Stack-and-Shred line of shredders usually comes in black, but they made a version of their 60-page shredder in beautiful Swingline red.

Camera Accessories

Accessories are a must for professional photographers and non-professionals alike. Even though I’ve dabbled with photography for over 10 years, I’ve never owned some of the most basic camera accessories like an external flash or a light box.

I seriously use my years-old Canon Rebel for some of my work, and I would really like a lightbox. It would help a lot so I wouldn’t have to struggle with setting the shot up; for example, this is a graphic I made for womens-protein.com using a Kindle, a white cloth, some random things piled up for supporting the Kindle, and one hand holding the Kindle while the other pressed the button on my camera:
The Tiara Diary for the Kindle

Also, who wouldn’t mind deducting the cost of a telephoto lens (if you can afford it)?

Scanners and/or Drawing Tablets

There are some trends that may never go away; hand-drawing, textures, and other realistic elements have been trending in the online design world for a while, and as techniques become more refined with using these elements, they may become mainstays. Using a scanner to upload hand-drawn work or a texture can be useful, as well as for uploading and saving a digital copy of printed legal papers for your business. Drawing tablets are a bit more narrow in their purpose, as you can use them only for drawing, designing, and writing digitally—activities better suited to illustrators.

A Good Caffeine Container


Okay, I don’t think you can deduct this product, but I received an Autoseal travel mug for Christmas. I think it is amazing, and it keeps my coffee warm for hours. And that’s saying something for how cold my house is, especially at night! It also helps with my productivity.

Do You Need These Office Supplies?

Of course, it’s not necessary to purchase business supplies before the year is over, and you shouldn’t feel obligated to buy things at the end of the year so you can get money back later with your tax refund. If you don’t have the money now, buying things you don’t exactly need for your business can hurt your financials (though all the discounts all the stores are offering is tempting). It may be better to just restock on your basic office needs (I tend to go through one keyboard and one mouse a year), or save up.

What office supplies are you needing or putting on your wishlist?