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The Evolution of My Budget Standing Desk

It took me over two years to realize I needed a standing desk.

When I started working at The Verge one of the first tech toys I played with was a table you Can be raised and lowered to a standing or sitting position. This is the first time I’ve actually tried it, and I’ve been skeptical of the idea of ​​a standing desk until now. How can you do your job when you’re standing there switching from one foot to the other?

However, I soon lost my doubts. I find that taking some time to stand up keeps me from getting restless and helps me stay alert in the late afternoon. Not only am I used to it, but I really like it.

Then, of course, came the epidemic. I went back to my home office.

At first, at least to me, it wasn’t a big deal. I worked in the second small bedroom of our house for a few years. I can do it again. But slowly, I realized I was used to having that standing desk. I missed.

I briefly considered buying a new desk for the office. But the Fully Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk, recommended by a couple of guys at The Verge, is usually around $600, and I have other expenses to deal with. Also, these desks tend to be quite large, and my office is already crammed with shelves, filing cabinets, and all kinds of miscellaneous furniture and technology that take months to complete. Lastly, I love my little wooden table – it has a family history – and I don’t want to throw it away or have it exist as a solitary storage. So I started wondering if I could come up with something that would give me the equivalent of a standing desk.

Here’s what I’ve tried, what didn’t work, and what finally worked.

Pile of books

My first attempt: put My laptop is on a pile of books.

For the most part, I just use my laptop for work; it’s not connected to a larger monitor or keyboard. My first thought was to simply have a bunch of big books that I could move around or around the table as needed.

I put a few of my big books Stacked up and put my laptop on it. At first, I thought I had solved the problem; the books were large enough to hold the laptop fairly stably. But that pile of books is also, um, heavy, and I have to move them every time I want to get up to work – which might be a good upper body workout, but doesn’t exactly encourage me from sitting at my desk. And since my phone sits on a stand next to my laptop and occasionally refers to it, it’s inconvenient to have to stare at where it sits on my desk from a stack of books.

So this pile of books is useless.

A bookshelf

Laptop sitting on a metal shelf

The shelf is the perfect height for typing – but it’s still not a comfortable space.

The inspiration for creating a DIY standing desk came from Verge colleague Caitlin Hatton, who, back in April 2020, turned his bookcase into a standing desk. I think it’s a really good idea, and while I don’t have the nice Target bookcase she used, I do have a rather ugly but very useful metal shelving unit that’s close to my desk and usually holds a A printer, a load of old hard drives, a bag of unused greeting cards, a bunch of outdated laptops I haven’t had time to recycle, and various other odds and ends that have accumulated over the years.

so I clean up Got a shelf, moved the trash and recycling basket on the floor next to it, and tried it as a standing desk.

This experience was better than mine pile of books. There’s plenty of room on the shelf for my phone, notebook, and pen (in case I need to take notes). This is my best height for standing and typing. And since it’s an open bookcase, I can even arrange for a separate cable to plug into my notebook.

but I It’s not very convenient to move your laptop/phone/other materials back and forth from the shelf to the table. To actually work for me, I have to move the entire six-foot shelf next to my desk, which my current setup doesn’t allow.

and I don’t know what to do with what I cleaned out of that shelf to make a workspace. (Though anyone who sees what I’ve accumulated will have reason to wonder if having to get rid of a lot is probably not a good thing.)

So while this is a possibility, it’s not an ideal solution. I will have to bite the bullet and either buy a new table or find another replacement.

Standing Desktop Converter

I can’t sit and type at this height.

I finally decided to try a vertical desktop converter. There are all kinds of these devices out there. They basically sit on top of your current desk and create an extra work surface that can be raised or lowered.

These devices vary widely, from extremely simple devices that can be raised to a single height to surfaces that can be manually moved up and down to your desired height and motorized converters at the touch of a button.

I weighed my needs, desk size and budget; searched the internet for reviews; and chose a manual desktop converter from a company called Vivo that uses a side Handle to move the surface up or down. Like all converters I’ve found (except the simplest), it adds about 4 inches of desk height at the lowest point, but it also has a keyboard tray that hangs at desk height. I don’t need a keyboard tray (since I don’t currently use a separate keyboard), but the tray is a separate part that can be added or removed as needed. So I ordered Vivo.

When it came, the desktop converter worked like a charm. Since I didn’t want to bother with the keyboard tray, I just installed four rubber feet on the four corners of the converter bracket, cleaned my desk, and put it on. The handle on the top allowed me to smoothly raise the surface to the correct height, and although I needed to push down a little to lower it, it worked exactly as I wanted. Except for one thing.

I’m wondering if the four inches added by the converter (at the lowest point) would increase the height of my desk, which would make it difficult for me to use while sitting down. Unfortunately, I was right – I had trouble sitting with my laptop. And at about 20 pounds or so, I don’t move the Vivo in and out of the desk every time I need it.

I’m starting to wonder if there’s any real answer other than investing in a new desk.

Desktop Converter Plus TV Desk

Fortunately, I found a solution.

I happen to have an old TV table that for the past few years has just been holding books and an outdated, no longer used monitor with a surface a few inches lower than my desk. I removed the monitor, replaced it with a desktop converter, and moved the desk so it was at right angles to my desk. (You can see the results in the photo at the top of this article.)

success! Now, whenever I want to spend some time standing instead of sitting, I just transfer the computer to the Vivo on the TV table, adjust the height (if needed), and get to work. I still want to sit? Just move my laptop back to my desk. I can even tweak the Vivo to make the laptop’s camera more suitable for Zoom sessions. This arrangement may change – I may decide to buy a monitor and keyboard and rearrange the workspace to accommodate them – but for now, I can work Sit or stand comfortably and confidently. Barbara Krasnoff / The Verge Photography



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