Control desktop clutter with the Homework Desk

For the last two months, I’ve challenged myself with the goal of walking every day. I’ve been spending more time with my treadmill and, as a result, I’ve also been doing quite a bit more reading on my iPad while I walk. I’m thrilled that I now have scheduled reading time and that I actually find interesting articles that help make the time pass relatively quickly. During one of my walking and reading sessions, I came across a blog post that asked if having a messy desk is such a terrible thing. My first thought, even before I read the post, was that I wouldn’t be as productive as I am if my desk were cluttered. In fact, I would probably feel compelled to organize it before I started working.

But, I also know that sometimes while I’m working, things can get a little, er, out of control. I like keeping my favorite pen, sticky notes, and notebook on my desk. And, I also have my water bottle and iPad. If there’s something that I don’t want to forget to do, it will probably be on my desk, too. The problem is that when there are too many things strewn about, it affects how well I can get things accomplished. But, if I had the Homework Desk, I might be able to have the best of both worlds — a clear desk and needed items within reach.

Have a look:

Image credit: Tomas Kral

This simple desk (aluminum placed between two slabs of wood) designed by Tomas Kral has no bells and whistles and no drawers. Instead, it has trench-like storage around it’s perimeter (Kral refers to it as a toolbox) to hold papers, pens, books, or documents that you need to have on hand. This leaves you with the entire expanse of the desk to do your work. The photo below shows a cable coming from the back of the desk, so it seems there may be built-in grommets.

Image credit: Thomas Kral

If you like this style but prefer having drawers, here’s a similar model, called my writing desk, designed by Inesa Malafej. It also has open slots on two corners for cables to run through.

Image credit: Design Boom

The drawers are slim but big enough to hold some essentials (like business cards, pens).

Image credit: Design Boom

This desk also has removable legs which would make moving it to a different location relatively easy. Of course, with both models, you’ll need to make sure you don’t clutter your table gutters with rubbish and items you don’t use.

Image credit: Design Boom

Out of Sight Out of Mind modular desk

An industrial design student by the name of Thomas Broen has created a concept for a modular desk that has caught my attention. The desk is based on the idea that the materials you need to do your job can easily be a part of your work surface — for efficiency and for organized storage.

From the Bornrich blog:

There are modules for office supplies, paper trays, pen holders and insulated food storage that can be put into the table. The modules can further be customized to hold power outlets for your gizmos. With a push on the top, storage compartments appear on the table surface. The table has two work areas, both of which can be placed at any angle to enhance ergonomics and comfort.

For now this modular desk is merely a concept, but it’s a concept I hope becomes a reality. A desk such as this would make keeping an uncluttered desk a simple task.

(via Bornrich blog)

Brando 4-in-1 desk lamp

When I first read about the multifunctional Brando 4-in-1 desk lamp I was intrigued. I like it when I find items that have utility and can complete more than one task. But, then I studied the product details, and I was underwhelmed. It is hectic and distracting. And, a desktop fan is useless to me. (When was the last time you used a desktop fan?!) It felt like the fan was thrown in just so it could say it had four functions. I also have no use for a webcam or a microphone since both come installed on my laptop.

It is USB powered, which takes away one of your computer’s USB hubs, but it does provide a LED light, fan, webcam, and microphone. I’m not excited about this product, but maybe it’s just me. I’m interested in hearing from our Unclutterer readers in the comments section. Are there other multifunctional items that you had high expectations for and then were disappointed by the reality of the product?

(via Engadget)

In defense of a messy desk

A Financial Times Deutschland article asks the following question: “If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what does an empty desk say about the quality of your ideas?” I guess the assumption is an empty desk equals an empty mind. I think an empty mind can help you focus on what the task at hand is, while a cluttered mind makes it a bit more difficult to concentrate.

The article continues:

Ian Smalley, creative director of corporate digital communications agency CTN, is a believer in just that sort of messy medium.

The perimeter of his desk is delineated by towers of paper: “I have a relatively big desk so as long as there is elbow room, things tend to pile up, even if some of them do date back to 2004.”

But his main reason for untidiness is lack of time to tidy:

“It is a busy environment and at the end of the day, while all confidential documents are shredded and recycled, I want to leave and see my son, not file bits of paper.” He adds: “I can get a professional-looking desk by doing a ‘five-minute tidy’ where I straighten all the piles of paper up if I need to.”

Keeping a clean workspace isn’t the only key to being successful at your job, but it doesn’t hurt. Yes, there are some people with tidy desks who don’t have the best work ethic and there are people with messy desks who are invaluable to their companies. But, as a rule of thumb, it can be more efficient to have a well organized workspace. An organized workspace allows you to focus on the task at hand rather than losing focus while looking for a misplaced paper or file.

What do you think of the article? Agree or disagree? I’m eager to read your responses to it.

That wire mess can win you a prize

The contest is called “What’s Under your Desk” and that mess under your desk can qualify you to win a dinner with Peter Brady, er, I mean, Christopher Knight.

The contest is sponsored by Green Plug.

Green Plug’s mission is to sign up electronics manufacturers to use its chip that would go into power supplies. With the chip, consumers would be able to plug any device into a hub to power multiple devices. Software, which the company intends to make available for free, will be able to read exactly how much power a device needs.

Here at Unclutterer, we have made it our mission to rid your workspace or entertainment center of that wire monster that may be lurking under your desk. The wire monster is incredibly pesky and hard to control, but with some tips and the right plan of attack the wire monster can be conquered.

(via Crave)

Home office in a box

CI DeskIf you are strapped for space and you need a workspace for your house or apartment, you may want to check out the CI Desk from Creative Industrial Objects. Its small design and compact storage drawers offer a welcome alternative to a space-hogging desk.

The CI Desk looks a bit like a storage unit on wheels, but it is more than just a way to store your office supplies. The top flips out to supply you with a solid place for your laptop to rest, instead of using your lap. From Creative Industrial Objects:

A multi-functional home office on wheels, in its handy size and elegant shape, adapting to the flexible working habits of the individual at home or in the office. Through a 180-degree turn of its top, it unfolds into a small workstation for laptop users. The smooth contours of the desk cube in fact reveal the delicately inbuilt wooden drawers that open to the front and sides. CI desk provides mobility and a practical working space for any busy individual.

If one was to go this route in a home office, you would more than likely have to keep all clutter out of your streamlined desk. There just isn’t enough room for a junk drawer or desk top toys and trinkets … which is probably a good thing.

(via Apartment Therapy)

Unitasker Wednesday: The StockCast

StockCastDo you like to keep your eye on the stock market? Well, how about picking up the StockCast Wireless Stock Market Tracker? The StockCast may take up a bit of extra space on your desk, but how else are you going to keep track of the Dow, Nasdaq, and S&P 500? That information is nearly impossible to come by these days.

Wireless stock market tracker delivers updated information for the DOW, NASDAQ and S&P 500. Get daily stock market activity wirelessly, with updates every 15 minutes from the Ambient wireless network—no PC, wires or subscription needed. Easy-to-read numbers and icons clearly show market gains and losses. Built-in, self-setting clock provides amazingly accurate time. Display on desk, table, refrigerator or other metal surface (stand and magnet included). Uses 3 AAA batteries (not included).

Now if you can come up with a better way than The StockCast to keep track of the stock market, I’m all ears.

**Unitasker Wednesday posts humorously poke fun at the single-use items that manage to find their way into our homes.

Workspace of the Week: Minimalist Desk

This week’s Workspace of the Week is Lucy’s 10 Lives’s minimalist desk.

This isn’t the most unclutered workspace I’ve ever seen, but there’s still something very charming about it. I like the symmetry bewteen the right side of her desk with the walls and the open desktop on the left for multi-purpose workspace. I find it comforting.

Want to have your own workspace featured in Workspace of the Week? Submit a picture to the Unclutterer flickr pool. Check it out because we have a nice little community brewing there. Also, don’t forget that workspaces aren’t just desks. If you’re a cook, it’s a kitchen; if you’re a carpenter, it’s your workbench.