You can’t deny the appeal of a great home office — a well-organized space built for productivity and efficiency, steps away from the comfort of your bed (and the snacks in your kitchen). There’s just one catch: You can barely wedge a desk into your tiny apartment. Take heart, closet-dweller. As gadgets get faster, they’re continually being built smaller and smaller. And with wireless networking capabilities now built into just about everything, you don’t even really need to have one central desk to hold everything; just grab a laptop or tablet, and find a shelf somewhere out of the way to stash your extra tech. Whittle down your workspace with these small-space essentials:
We’ve come a long way from the days when home PC ownership meant competing with a blocky monitor and a bulky tower for elbow room. Sleek all-in-ones are becoming the norm for those who opt for a desktop model — check Apple’s iMac’s, or TV maker Vizio’s new line of space-age PCs to see just how slick a desktop computer can be. Nowadays, however, the laptop is king, and small-space dwellers can seize on the popularity of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. If it’s a computer you’re after, check out the super-compact Samsung Series 9, which just hit store shelves in Canada. Ringing in at 2.88 pounds and 0.64 inches thick, it packs a processing wallop (it ships with third-generation Intel i5 and i7 processors) despite its slim profile. The 13.3-inch screen size adds to the portability factor. It also boasts a 10-hour battery and fast boot time (just 9.8 seconds). The Series 9 starts at $1,299.99 (for the i5 version) at Best Buy.
A little organization can go a long way toward keeping snaking cables under control. The Cablox system consists of flexible plastic pads studded with little grips that hold your gadgets’ cords in place. Stick them to the underside of your desk, and your cables won’t budge. A set of two (in either black or white) goes for $12 at sirtified.com.
If you need to cram a full office’s worth of functionality onto your desk, an all-in-one printing combo will likely be your best option. If you worry that "all-in-one" machine might still occupy a fax machine, a scanner and a printer’s worth of space, try the HP Envy 110 on for size. It’s a respectably slim 16 by 13 by 4 inches, and the wireless capabilities mean you can stow this all-in-one pretty much anywhere. You can still print, copy, scan and fax — HP claims it even offers "lab-quality" photo printing. You can print directly from the Wi-fi-enabled touch screen, and the Envy’s ePrint function lets you print documents straight from your phone or tablet by sending an e-mail to your printer, so you don’t even really need a computer to put your thoughts down on paper. Scoop one up for $299.95 at Future Shop.
If a scanner’s what you’re after, there’s no need to devote precious surface space to a flatbed. The clever design of the Doxie Go scanner lets you roll your documents right on through to the other side, scanning pages in eight seconds. It then stores what you’ve scanned (up to 600 pages), syncing to your computer when you plug it in, like a digital camera. There’s also included software that lets you create a database of searchable PDFs, so you can scan important documents and store them digitally, cutting down on clutter even further. It’s $199 at getdoxie.com or London Drugs stores.
If you’re just looking to create a little visual space in your home office with the tech you already have, follow the "breadbox rule": Anything smaller than a breadbox gets tucked out of sight. Make space in drawers and pick up some storage boxes for your odds and ends, and you’ll be decluttered in no time. It also helps to maximize whatever vertical space you’ve got. The Workerman Machook is an ingenious way to keep your desk clear — the hand-carved hook sticks to the corner of newer-model iMacs, providing a handy perch for your headphones. Order one for $15 US at workerman.storenvy.com.