New Home Project: Desk 2.0

Last year, I did a major overhaul to my workspace and gaming configuration. Besides tossing out old furniture that was moldy, dirty and falling apart, I bought an L-shaped corner desk, got a mat for a new chair and other things to make my general computing area much more ergonomic. However, that space has been shrinking and it’s time I started to expand upon it. So I have a plan that I’m going to put together as well as add what I’ve done here.

One thing that has been a major boost in saving space is a pair of monitor arms that uses a clamp to hook onto the rear of my desk. Right now, I’m using two old Acer 19″ monitors that frankly need to be the next things to go. Both have broken power buttons but aren’t nearly as clear as my 27″ curved Samsung that I picked up last year and use for both my gaming laptop and working laptop. The whole idea of the clamp style extensions further was impressed upon me the other day when I bought an organizer for my older power strips and use for my gaming laptop’s power case. While that hasn’t completely cleaned up the floor, it has helped remove some of the ugly wiring and will the general direction as I start doing a major sweep of shifting things around my work area.

The thing with my desk that I didn’t realize until now is that it really has been a bare bones type of system with the except of a badly designed keyboard/mouse drawer that only can be used on one side of the L-shape set. The problem with this setup is that it severely limits my activities and the space on this thing barely can hold both my gaming keyboard and mouse. With my mouse, I frequently am wrestling both with the cord and the limited motion because the tray itself is quite small.

Nonetheless, the key thing about this desk is that it’s actually good for this kind of extensibility using clamps. With that in mind, I started looking for more of these extensions. Originally, the start of my search was due to wanting some sort of shelving unit. While there are a few shelving unit types of extensions, most are quite small. But the next thing coming in later is a small generic 4-in-1 type of cup holder/headphone clip/storage. I have a lot of little stuff just running around my desk like writing utensils, random eating utensils, notes, etc. So this item should clean a lot of those types of items nicely. Also, I have some giant gaming headphones just sitting between two of my monitors that I want to just place somewhere convenient to save even more space.

Along those lines, I bought an attachable power strip with USB and USB-C connectors so that I can free up more of my chords. My phone charger uses a USB connector which is hooked into one of my laptop USB-C extensions. It’s gotten to the point where that setup is really inconvenient since I have to constantly plug/unplug these wires. Also, having this new power strip allows me to get rid of this ancient fat power strip that takes up space on the floor because I can just directly connect my two MacBook cables into the USB-C ports. And for the last USB port on the power strip, I’ll connect my soundbar which will further allow me more general mobility in my place, namely having a permanent connection to my laptops whenever I need to broadcast music. Lastly, there’s another old floor power strip that I’m going to free up in having this thing. I’ll probably put this strip either on the corner or behind the middle monitor. Altogether, I’ll get back a bunch of space as well as have some more floor space and be able to vacuum.

Also, on the way are a new 27″ Samsung monitor (not curved this time) and a small 15″ width two layer attachable shelving unit. For the Samsung monitor, I’m intending to replace one of my Acer 19″ monitors. Unfortunately, both my Acer monitors are old and the quality aren’t good compared to the Samsung I bought last year. More importantly, the power buttons on both broke so I have a sneaking feeling that both have been costing me more money than necessary to keep around. I’ll probably replace the leftmost monitor to start because I use that one with my home MacBook Pro and the new 27″ one should help give me a little more privacy overall as the 19″ Acer is partly covering up my balcony window area from having people peek in at me.

The desk shelf extension is something I’m going to add behind my gaming laptop. Since it’s small, I’m hoping it’ll fit complimentary to the power strip/wireless organization thing I got yesterday. With this desk shelf, at minimal, I’m going to put my router and external Western Digital My Home drive. I’m skeptical about having electronics on the desk itself if I can help it because I use my computer desk quite frequently for meals (hey, my monitors are there!) and the shelf in conjunction with the cup holder should limit the potential of a major disaster. Also, it’ll be a lot easier to clean that side of the desk. Additional space might be devoted to storing my iPad and some other utility items like my Kleenex box.

Beyond those items, I’m also getting a TV tray with a cup holder built in. While I don’t have a TV mounted anywhere (nor do I watch TV at all), I like the idea of just keeping my drinks nearby whenever I’m on my couch. Ever since I got rid of my old coffee table, I really have nothing to place my stuff and the floor isn’t a good idea with dust, bugs and the potential of a disaster. So this tray is going to be great just to keep stuff like my cup, laptop and other things.

But the major future purchase that I want is a portable laptop monitor. One of my ex-coworkers would bring his in when we met in the office and it seemed like a really good idea for people on the move. In my case, since I prefer to do my writing on my couch, I’ve found that my limited laptop visual real estate really requires a small extension. So combining the TV tray with a laptop monitor I hope will resolve two things. Then I can watch movies or have a separate browser whenever I need to work on my couch.

Other ideas for the future:

  • Attachable LED desk lamp. Again this item has a clamp and is wide and would replace another desk lamp I had that uses a traditional light. The main benefit here is that I could mount this on various sides of my desk and gain back space. So this is going to be another major item down the list.
  • Mouse cord bungee. I have a major issue with my gaming mouse where the chord gets in the way or occasionally gets locked on the drawer mount. That can be crucial depending on certain games.
  • Another Samsung 27″ (or up to 30″) monitor. I want to see how this one coming in is. If I really like it, I’ll consider a 30″ one as the next major upgrade to completely replace my Acers.
  • A laptop arm. I’ve heard a lot of good things about these. At the very least, I want one for my gaming laptop. What that would do is free up more of the right side of my desk. I might be able to move my keyboard and mouse onto my desk since I’ll have more room there. I don’t know how comfortable/ergonomic that will be though. If this works out I might get a second one for my personal laptop.
  • Another keyboard/mouse under the desk extension. Because I would be freeing up the USB cord from my extensions, I could use that interface to connect with a keyboard. This has a general low priority but I might at the very least get a mouse extension piece just to have more space for my gaming mouse on the side.
  • A side drawer/organizer. This is another very low priority item but it’ll be used to hold more miscellaneous items and paper. The bulk of my paper and writing tools are in the built drawers for the apartment desk. I’m not a huge fan of that system because it was not built well. That said,  I don’t use paper that much anymore but I could keep utility items like scissors or cables there to have even less clutter.
  • An arm wrest. Very low priority. I’ve seen some that fold out so this depends on how much space I can get back in moving my personal laptop to a laptop arm. I do use my work and personal Mac laptop keyboards on the desk but I don’t think they’re honestly very ergonomic. So I need to experiment more with my setup once this table evolves further.

I do have some stands for my monitors and laptop. Those might end up shifting around or being piled upon one another depending on how much space I can reclaim. Also, I might get another side shelf if the first one turns out decent. I could put my soundbar on that and even mount my phone there. Once I get more of these things in place, I hope to get some pictures in and show off the finished result.


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