The catch-all or valet tray seems excessive and not quite useful enough to warrant an existence. But look at it again, and imagine it on your desk. It holds things. That’s it’s only job. It’s simple, and it’s also elegant, in an outdated sort of way. One can easily imagine a stuffy manservant named Tibbs dusting around one and snooping cautiously at its contents while the master of the house is out. Really, the problem is that we’ve moved on from using these trays for fine oiled leather wallets and fountain pens and polished silver cigarette holders and cigars with colorful bands to ugly iPhones in plastic cases and key rings festooned with mini LED flashlights. Valet trays are not just a place to put your things. They’re a statement about how important those things are. So don’t blame the tray. Blame your own bad taste, and then throw away the mini LED flashlight you never use and buy one of the stately holders above.
Izola Twain Catchall ($45), Ghurka Folding Snap Tray No. 58 ($150), Desu Design Riviera Tray ($225), Union Parabellum Valet Tray ($350), Muji Soap Stone Giraffe Tray ($16), Polo Ralph Lauren Quilted Silk Cuff Link Tray ($46), Clara von Zweigbergk Kaleido Trays ($16+), Michael Bastion by Frank Clegg Valet Tray ($200), Sir Jack’s Glazed Brown Crocodile Valet Tray ($495), Hermes Chakor Change Tray ($280+)