Like a lot of people, I started working from home in mid-March when shelter-in-place orders went into effect to try and curb the spread of the global pandemic. As of this writing, I am still working from home and, several months in, I finally have a set up that works for me.
Here’s everything I bought* and changed in my home set up to create a work from home space:
- Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein: It’s no secret that I love Marie Kondo. Joy at Work is one of the first books I read when quarantine started. Marie Kondo is always incredibly helpful but especially here with Scott Sonenshein’s perspective on professional life organizing. A lot of how I went about setting up my work from home space was inspired by this book. (You can read my full review on the blog.)
- Desk: You probably already have a desk or table that you use for work. I use a white melamine table my mom has had forever. It’s a little higher than a desk but I like having a big surface where I can do computer stuff or other things when I’m not working. If you have the space, I’d definitely try to set up a specific table space for work. It helps separate it from all the other time you spend at home and will often be more comfortable than trying to work with everything on your couch or bed.
- Desk Chair: If you are working for any length of time on a computer, you need a desk chair. It should have a back that you can lean against for support, arms, adjustable height, and if it’s on wheels all the better for easy movement. There are a lot of options but back support is key.
- Paperwork holder: I use a wooden one I appropriated from my mom but I like having a place to keep papers I need to act on like correspondence, book review letters from publishers, and the few bills I still get on paper. It’s a small thing but having one I like has been such an improvement.
- Pens: I like having different colored pens that almost look like markers. I try to use a different color for each set of notes so it’s easy to flip through. Le Pen brand are my favorite because they are thin, capped (I am a pen clicker), and don’t bleed through most paper. If you are looking for a slightly cheaper option, my second favorite are Paper Mate InkJoy gel pens.
- Notebooks: I’m not a big notebook user for work although I have a lot for my creative writing. When I realized I’d be working from home for a while, I decided to resurrect my traveler’s notebook to set it up with all the work info I needed at home so that whenever I go back to work it could travel easily to and from my office. If you want to know more about traveler’s notebooks, this post from Hannah at So Obsessed is still the best guide I’ve ever found. I like Webster’s brand because they are vegan and feed into my floral aesthetic. You can see more of my own planner essentials in this Amazon idea list.
- Pencil holder: One of my hobbies is sending postcards to friends (and for Postcards to Voters) so I have more pens than I need. To make my desk feel morel like my space, I keep them in containers that make me happy like this owl pencil holder I built. (Model making and 3D puzzles are a new hobby I picked up in quarantine.)
- Book boxes: My mom and I have a ton of these. They come in standard sizes and the medium one here is the perfect size to hold my external CD drive, hard drive, charging cables, and more so that I have easy access.
Laptop and Peripherals:
- Laptop: I have a 13″ MacBook Air and I love it. Mine is from early 2015 and thanks to OS updates, it’s still going strong and has been a lifesaver as I spend so much more time using my home computer now. I was very relieved to have a computer at home when this started that I knew I could rely along with home internet.
- Floral laptop shell: Depending on your investment, your laptop is probably one of the most expensive things you own. Because of that I decided to get a shell case to protect mine. This one having a cute floral design is a bonus and makes a statement on my desk even when it’s closed.
- Apple Magic Mouse: This is Mac specific but my Magic Mouse is one of my best investments. It is a lot easier than navigating a track pad, especially if I need to do light photo editing, it connects automatically to my computer, and the rechargeable batteries are easy to use.
- Floral mouse pad: You don’t technically need a mouse pad but it makes mouse movements quieter and a little smoother. Plus, if you can buy a cute one in a design you like, why not? There are a lot of cheap options out there depending on your preferences.
- Laptop stand: After a few days of working from home, my back and wrists were starting to feel it. I tried propping the computer on a book or a box and all sort of things but nothing felt right. So I started reading up on ergonomics and realized I probably needed a laptop stand to get my screen at a better angle. My friend Estelle recommended this one. I like that it has a few settings, folds up for storage, and has rubber grips to stay in place. It also lets me adjust my screen for optimal angles in video calls without needing anything else.
- External keyboard: Like the laptop stand, this external keyboard helps me hit a better ergonomic position when I’m typing for longer periods. I got mine in aluminum silver with white keys. It was ready to go out of the box, and is holding up great. The keys are louder than I was used to from my laptop but not dramatically so. There’s a power indicator light which is very bright so I covered it with a sticker. Otherwise, no complaints and since I don’t travel with it, I like being able to plug it in to use–no charging needed.
- Phone Tripod: I haven’t used this a lot but knew if I was going to be home more, that it would be good to have a tripod for filming myself with my phone. I like that this one has a big height range without a lot of frills I won’t use.
- Wireless headphones: I already had wireless headphones for my phone but reconnecting them between my phone and laptop was a pain so I got a second pair to use solely with my laptop. It’s been a great investment. This set has some noise cancellation, a built in mic, and don’t hurt my ears.
- Selfie ring: My friend got me one of these for Christmas–it’s been really helpful on days when I need better lighting during meetings. It also clips onto my laptop as easily as my phone.
- Fitbit Inspire: I discovered pretty early on that I need a routine even in quarantine. I also need an alarm to wake up most days. My mom doesn’t need either of those things so I started researching devices with silent alarms and this Fitbit seemed like the best bet. It tracks my steps and exercise but I mostly just use it to have an alarm that won’t drive my mom nuts. In fact, I care so little about the other features that I wear it on my ankle with one of these bands.
- Plants: I have a lot of house plants but I got myself an aloe plant in a pretty ceramic planter and some marimo moss balls from Oh My Planta on Etsy so I had some green stuff to look at on my desk which always improves my mood.
- Pichu Funko: In my photo up top you can see my little Pichu figurine. This was a gift from my friend Nicole and has been making me very happy to see on my desk every day.
Now you know everything I did to make my work from home set up work for me. Have you made any changes to your own work from home set up?
*All links direct to Amazon. I’m an Amazon affiliate and will receive a small commission if you purchase through these links.