I’m a product junkie. If there’s a 12-step program to rid me of my interest in home office products, technology and furniture, no thanks. I love discovering the hottest new products to improve home office productivity. Visit Working Naked often as I share some of my favorite office products and others I discover at various design and office shows. Please note that I’m not paid to write about or endorse these products.
Have you experimented with organizing your home office or have you successfully transformed your office from Frankenstein-like to fabulous? Either way, this 3-vial paperclip, pushpin, and clip holder can make a final transformation a success. Each vial is filled with supplies that are stored safely under black rubber plugs and stacked neatly in a powder-coated stand.
Have you ever wondered what happens to unused billboard posters? While some of them may wind up in recycling bins, others become bins. These Paperbag Wastebaskets come in small, classic and large and are easy to assemble. They’ll also add a little color to your home office.
You can’t add more hours to each day, but you can make time more interesting with this geometric desk clock. This unusual clock, available in white or black, could remind you to work, but why not use it to remind you to take a few breaks throughout the day?
Bag in a bag
Contrary to what some people think, bigger isn’t always better. Take your briefcase or purse for example. A bigger bag means you can carry more stuff, which means you’ll spend more time digging around for what you need. Before you dump your big bag for good, try one more option: the Slim Bag-in-Bag. This padded fabric holder with 13 pockets and a zippered top makes it easy to separate your supplies and extra stuff into different compartments. It’s lightweight and hand washable.
Staying warm while working naked
Working Naked Day is over and a few people questioned why I picked February 1st to celebrate this holiday. Most entrepreneurs are up for a challenge, so working naked in the dead of winter seems to be a good challenge. But this year I realized there was one thing missing…USB heated gloves. You can keep them closed while you’re on the phone or doing anything non-typing related, and then flip back the top for typing. Not only are they cute, they’re simple to use. Just plug the glove cord into the USB cord and let the warming pad inside keep your fingers nice and toasty.
Nothing adds class, culture and high style to your home office than a bust of Aphrodite. OK, maybe that’s pushing it a bit but why not mix art, technology and function into one USB device? The 4-port USB hub is ceramic with a slip resistant base. At 3.5″ x 4.25″ x 7.75” this hard-working bust can sit on your desk add some culture to your home office, yet not take up much space.
Get a grip
My exterminator would cringe if he knew I was promoting spiders, but he’ll have to get a grip…actually a grip similar to the one the SpiderpodiumTablet® has on iPads and other Tablet PC’s. Sure, it’s creepy with its 8 legs that bend at all angles, but I always say that function (it can hold your tablet in place or let you view it at any angle) trumps beauty. The Spiderpodium Tablet, made from Advanced Tech “SoftTouch Rubber,” is available in black and graphite.
Put on the hog
Working from home can be lonely. Take a break from the silence with the iHog. This hog-shaped iPod/iPhone docking station has 4 speakers that deliver 360 degrees of sound…they’re loud!
Whether you choose the iHog in pink, white or black, consider sharing the iHog with your family. You don’t want them to think you’re a pig.
A functional skyline
Your home office may not overlook a city skyline, but you can get the next best thing with the Skyline Desk Organizer. This laser-cut wood holder has two spaces for mail or letters, and a space for pens and pencils.
This is one of the more interesting and creative supply organizers I’ve ever seen. Its neutral color will match any home office and its narrow design will leave you with plenty of desktop space to work.
If walls could talk
I’m a huge fan of chalkboard paint and how it can transform a simple home office wall into a ready-to-use chalkboard. IdeaPaint™ does the same thing, but instead of converting a wall into a chalkboard, it turns it into a multi-purpose dry-erase board.
The best part of this product is that instead of hanging a heavy or even ugly dry-erase board on the wall, you can transform any wall in your home office into a functional message center, idea catcher or project organizer. The IdeaPaint™HOME kit covers up to 20 sq. ft. If you want to cover more space and choose from colors other than white, there’s the CRE-8 kit (get it…create?). This kit covers up to 50 sq. ft. and comes in 9 colors.
A room divided
That’s where Loft Wall comes in. These decorative, freestanding room dividers let you physically separate your home office from the rest of your home. One of the best features of the Loft Wall is that aside from adding a bit of color and design to your home office, you can design your own wall.
A whale of a holder
When you think of cute animals, you may not think of a whale, but when it’s the size of a pencil holder and is a pencil holder, it’s hard not to say, “ahhhh.” This handcrafted holder, made from white pine, beech or redwood, holds pencils and paper in the top and back and can grip something in its mouth, too.
Each Wood Whale is signed, numbered and “packed for migration.”
Fixing the filing blues
There’s nothing exciting about filing, but that doesn’t mean that your file cabinet has to be blah. This powder coated cabinet in a beautiful blue and cool green can brighten any home office. It has one letter-legal file drawer and two storage drawers (dog not included).
Finding a bag that can double as a home office isn’t easy. Believe me, I’ve been looking for that type of bag for over a year. The allrounder does the job perfectly. It’s large enough to hold a desktop file holder inside, along with supplies and a laptop. It will even fit under the seat in front of you when you fly. The best part is that this bag comes in different, stylish designs that have anything but a stuffy, corporate look.
Your cell phone case may protect your phone but can it open a bottle or can? The “Be A HeadCase™“ case has a built-in, stainless steel bottle/can-tab opener on the back of a hard-shell plastic case. This “why didn’t I think of that” case for your iPhone 4/Verizon iPhone 4 or iPhone 3G/3Gs includes a bottom cover slot that makes it easy to charge your phone without taking it out of the case. It also comes with a free app that plays your favorite song or sound and displays a photo when you open a bottle or can.
Maybe I still have my dead computer on my mind, but this cup holder, named the Spink, could have kept my glass right next to my computer instead of letting it go bottoms up on my keyboard. The lever-powered suction cup on the bottom of the Spink will keep your mug, water bottle or glass in one place and more importantly, your computer safe.
Have you ever had a dessert that looks too good to eat? This gorgeous wooden desk set is almost too beautiful to use, but when you work from home you need to be functional. So why not tape, open letters,store supplies and staple in style using mahogany and sonokeling wood accessories? After all, art and function are always the perfect combination.
I don’t know what it is, but there’s something irresistible about oversized replicas of small things or miniature versions of large things. This giant pencil sharpener made from rubber wood, has plenty of room for pens and pencils and will look much better on your desk than a boring, regular size coffee cup.
Last year I bought a red shoe tape dispenser — it works better when you add weights to the inside — so when I saw this black stiletto one, I had to upgrade. Those of you who are shoe lovers can appreciate the style and function of this not-so-ordinary dispenser. The purse Post-it note holder is optional.
Taking a stand
An iPad is handy when you travel and you don’t want to take a bulky laptop. But trying to watch a movie, read an e-book or even type on an iPad isn’t as easy as on a laptop. The A-Fold iPad® Stand holds your iPad either vertically or horizontally and stores flat. You’ll see your iPad at a whole new angle.
Just what the doctor ordered
Finding a thumbtack when you need it isn’t always easy and storing them loose in a drawer is risky and painful. The Essential Vita-pins Push Pin Set is the perfect cure. Each plastic pill pulls apart and becomes two separate pushpins. The apothecary jar makes it easy to store them until you need them.
Let it grow
I’m notorious for killing plants (either too much water or not enough) so when I get flowers, at least I know they’ll last a few days. The USB Flower Hub will last even longer and serve more of a purpose than just looking nice and smelling good. The 4 USB 2.0 high-speed ports are Windows and Mac compatible and the hub doesn’t take up much room.
The writing is on the wall
Why use a boring white board for notes and reminders when you can use a peel and stick chalkboard? Each pack comes with four vinyl (9” x 12”) sheets that are removable (they won’t harm most surfaces) and you can reposition them if you need to. Another option is to buy chalkboard paint and paint it directly on your wall, but chalkboard sheets are easier and less messy to install.
Fish you could have this?
I like products that are functional and stylish, but now I’m into fun and functional products. This fully
functional fish tank will add a little life and interest to your home office. Plus there’s a place to hold supplies, you’ll always know what time it is and you’ll have extra light in your home office. The low voltage pump and filtration system runs off of USB power. The fish run off of fish food.
In business, power is good. When you travel with a smart phone and other tech tools, power is everything. The USB Flexible Charging Station can charge up to four mobile devices at one time. Whether you want one place in your home office to power up or you want to avoid dealing with endless cords (who doesn’t?), this roll-out docking station can help you get all the power you need.
The key to backing up
Flash drives are small and easy to lose. Keys are easy to lose too, but you know that eventually they’ll turn up. The LaCie iamaKey is a USB flash drive in disguise. It fits on your keyring, has 4GB of online storage and is water and scratch resistant.
Sit and store
Finding extra storage in a home office can be challenging. That’s why making one product do double-duty is so important. The Stowe smoke leather storage ottoman can hold magazines, extra supplies, reams of paper and anything else you need to store in your home office. It also serves as extra seating and you can use the underside of the lid as a tray. This ottoman is also good for storing blankets and if you’re truly working naked, it’s always good to have a blanket within reach.
OK, I’m not going for function here, but there’s nothing wrong with making your home office a bit more interesting. This glass zipper bag will make your boring stapler and tape dispenser jealous. After all, they may be functional but can they hold M&M’s, Reece’s Pieces, gumballs or any other yummy candy?
It’s easy to stuff files in a drawer and forget about them, but the problem is that the minute you shut the drawer, the files are out-of-sight, out-of-mind. This crystal clear acrylic collator has five dividers and will help you keep files clearly in sight.
Put a cap on it
I’m all about saving time and if you looked in my desk drawer, you’d find pens with the caps on the other end and click pens clicked and ready to go. If I need a pen, I want to be able to grab it and go. Now there’s a better use for a pen cap. This pen cap pencil holder on steroids keeps your supplies organized and the bottom is weighted to keep the cup from tipping over.
Although you’re working from home and no one sees your home office, it doesn’t mean that you can’t dress things up a bit…for you. These stylish resin desk accessories look like sculpted glass and hold pens, pencils, paper clips and other supplies. The MoMA store always carries interesting, out-of-the-ordinary products.
Remember when you wove mats out of newspaper in school or Scouts? The GRID-IT! Organizer is a cooler, more useful version of that with rubberized elastic bands woven throughout the front. This thin, sleek organizer holds office supplies, headphones, your cell phone and anything else you want to tuck away in your briefcase, laptop bag or travel case. There’s even a zippered compartment on the back to hold more supplies. Sometimes the simplest product can be the most functional.
I have an unhealthy addiction to my iPhone, my second brain. My favorite part is all of the awesome apps. If you’re addicted to your iPhone too then you’ll enjoy these 18 app magnets. Best of all, you’ll never need to update them.
Cords aren’t and never will be pretty. Ever. That leaves only one option: hide them. The Desk Dock created by interior designer extraordinaire Jonathan Adler gives you a stylish place to recharge your iPhone, cell phone, iPod and camera. The front drawer has room to hold a few supplies and you can store paper and pens on top.
This takes the tape
Do you really need another boring tape dispenser when you can store your tape in an out-of-the-ordinary holder? The Spence tape dispenser looks more like a sculpture than a useful desk accessory. This aluminum cube with a hole in the middle, cradles a role of tape and makes it easy to help you with your next sticky situation.
Desk accessories as art…an interesting concept.
Messy cords? Box them up
I love technology but could do without the cords…unfortunately for now, not literally.
The surge protector under my desk that I used to kick out of the way whenever I moved my chair, has a new home: the CableBox. This simple plastic box holds my power strip (you have to provide your own) and has enough room inside for a block charger or power adapter.
No mowing required
Cell phones charging on the counter with cords snaking all around aren’t a pretty sight. When will this cable hell end? We’re going to be stuck with power cords for a while but you can make them go away with innovative products like the Grassy Lawn Charging Station. This little lawn resembles something that belongs outside of Barbie’s Dream House, yet charges most small devices that have a power cord. A compartment underneath hides all of the power adapters and cables.
Getting a jump on storage
You know what happens when you put your cell phone or keys on the counter: your family dumps papers and other stuff on top. If you’re tired of calling your cell phone to find it (trust me, I’m a master at that), leave temporary storage to the Kangaroo. This handcrafted leather holder is functional and looks adorable too. It’s also ideal as a desktop holder for paperclips and rubber bands.
You may not have bought an iPad, but did you know there’s a non-tech alternative? Check out the NotePod, a 100-page pad of paper that comes in two sizes: one fits in the palm of your hand and the other is around the size of a mousepad. The best part? You don’t have to worry about whether or not it’s charged.
A truly green stapler
You work like a dog and sometimes have to be as stubborn as a mule so why not add a few frogs to your home office? The Frog Tape Dispenser and the Frog Stapler can make any home office desk a bit more interesting. Think of these not-so-ordinary supplies as another way to go green.
A clear plan
If you’re tired of losing your to-do list or if writing your list on your hand isn’t working out, the answer could be clear. The Write-on Mug offers an interesting solution to keeping track of the top tasks that need your attention. Write your list with a special pen (included) and clear your list by washing the mug or better yet by finishing all of the tasks on your list.
A place and slot for everything
It’s rare to find a product that fits a few of the working styles I’ve described before on Working Naked. The Office Designs Desk Organizer from Ballard Designs is the exception. For the “Nit Picky” there’s the sleek, organized look of this desktop organizer and for the “Ima Mess” there are plenty of drawers and cubbies to corral clutter. This ready-to-be-filled wooden organizer comes in black and brown and works well in either a transitional or a traditional home office.
You can take it with you
I’m not a big fan of “pleather” or faux leather (maybe we should rename it “feather”) so when I see leather office accessories, I take notice. Not only is this tote from grandinroad (one of my favorite design catalogs) a functional addition to your home office, it’s the perfect home for magazines you’ve been meaning to read. The handle makes it easy to move the magazines to another room and the two front pockets give you even more storage space.
Always use protection
It takes only one power surge, power failure and fried computer to figure out that you need a good battery backup.
Enter the Tripp•Lite to the rescue. This UPS (uninterruptible power supply) system has six outlets that provide battery backup when you need it most. It also has an energy saving feature for peripherals you don’t use all the time (scanner, speakers and external drives). All you have to do is plug those devices into one of the 4 ECO outlets and the system will save energy by automatically turning off the ECO outlets when your computer is off or in standby mode.
Something that’s green and powerful. Maybe they should rename it the Hulk.
Forget simple storage cabinets. There’s another option that’s loaded with storage space.
This 10-drawer tower has locking swivel casters, removable drawers, a chrome-finish frame and a top shelf. Multiple drawers can make it easier to store and organize supplies.
This 13″W x 15-1/2″D x 38-1/2″H cabinet is ideal for a home office closet or near a desk.
It’s time to dump that crappy plastic file holder and give your office a little class with this Brocade Desktop File. It’s made of stamped steel with a glossy white epoxy finish. I know, you’re probably wondering why this would make a hot list but if you look at what’s out there, you’ll find boring, plastic and mesh file holders. (Hello, my old, corporate office.) This holder can add some design interest and function to your home office. You can buy other accessories to match this file, but too much of a good thing is tacky and expected. Buy sparingly.
A good case for space
I love using any product with pockets, compartments, and anything else that makes it easy to organize my stuff. It’s not hard to find backpacks with different compartments but finding a functional laptop case that doesn’t resemble a diaper bag is a bit challenging.
The Cocoon bag is the exception. Each bag features a (patent pending) “GRID-IT!” elastic organization system that uses rubberized elastic bands to keep everything organized. In other words, it’s cool and functional. Best of all, these bags are TSA approved to be travel friendly as well. Maybe if my bag is friendly, the airport security crew will be too.
Supplies that speak
Yesterday I was checking out Z Gallerie, my new haunt for everything loft-related, and found file folders from Knock Knock. I’d file these under smart-ass and sassy. One set read, “More Crap, Other Crap and Total Crap.” Really? After seeing these, how could you ever go back to boring, manila file folders again?
The folders in another set, “To Do, To File and To Ponder,” list when you should do those three tasks. Guess what’s on my holiday gift list this year.
Knock Knock’s file folders aren’t the only products with attitude. Their sticky notes that read, “When pigs fly,” “Note to self,” and “Please: like me, finish, shut up or go away” are sure to get attention or at least a laugh.
Their sticky cubes are almost art. One is called “take a pill” and the other looks like a brick of cheese. No more excuses for having a boring office.
On a roll
A few days ago I flew to LA to speak at the Power of Pink conference (an incredible event). Before I left, I had to figure out an easy way to pack my clothes, laptop and some hot new products to show during my sessions, into two bags.
The Rolling Case File, part of the Peter Walsh [In] Place System, saved my back. It’s compact but has more storage space than you’d think. One of the outside pockets held my laptop—the case comes with foam pads—and the other pocket held my supplies. Inside is a built-in, letter-size file frame where I stored all my files and products with room to spare.
Preparing for fall(s)
Imagine you’re making the 10-second commute to your home office holding your laptop, then suddenly you trip, fall, and land on your laptop. I don’t have to imagine it because I lived it.
Last week I figured out that a MacBook can break your fall, but you’ll crack your LCD screen as you land. The good news is that I had two backups of my data—one on a flash drive and the other on an external hard drive. The bad news is that until my laptop is fixed, I have to use the family PC and work in our family room. It’s not my favorite place to work.
*Fire and extreme heat protection includes being subject to 1,550° for up to 30 minutes
*Underwater submersion up to 10 feet for 3 days
*Holds up to water, humidity and fire.
*It’s under $400
The ioSafe won’t make you less clumsy—I’m open to anything that will—but it will make a damaged computer easier to handle while it’s being fixed.
Being an office supply aficionado—it sounds better than office supply addict—I’m rarely impressed by what I see in stores, catalogs and online. What’s been most disappointing is when a celebrity creates an office product or furniture line that’s no different from anything else out there. The new [In Place] System product line by best-selling author and organizational expert, Peter Walsh (he’s a regular on TLC’s Clean Sweep), is the exception. He’s created a practical and useful line of products and his Web site demonstrates how the products work.(It’s cool and worth checking out.)
I like several things about his new line. First are the design and function elements. Secondly, everything in Peter’s line of filing products (except for the Rolling File) is made of clear plastic…I mean sturdy plastic. The third thing I like is that his products are practical and useful. They do more than just sit there looking pretty.
Filing just became a bit more interesting.
Ban boring backups
Hans Solo and Luke Skywalker, among others, saved the galaxy so it only makes sense that they can save your data. These Star Wars Mimobot flash drives take the boring out of backing up and make transferring data more tolerable.
These hip, colorful and, well, adorable flash drives also include Princess Leia, golden boy C-3PO, and of course the bad boy of the galaxy, Darth Sidious. Too bad Chewbacca didn’t make the cut.
“i” marks the spot
My family is addicted to any piece of technology that starts with an “i” including the iPhone, iPod, and the iTouch. Over the summer my younger son bought iHome speakers so he could blast his favorite downloaded tunes (especially the ones that annoy his older brother) from his iTouch. LifeWorks, creator of cool, sleek, stylish products, just introduced more products that are perfect for any iFamily. Two of my favorites are the iConnect Media Keyboard and the iStand Notebook Media Center.
The iConnect Media Keyboard takes a necessity, a keyboard, and adds a docking/synching function. Using iTunes, you can download photos, videos, music, applications and more. The two rotating USB 2.0 ports make it simple to connect a printer, camera, flash drive and a mouse to the keyboard. It’s not only a good product; it’s good for you too. OK, that may be a stretch but the rubberized wrist rest (try saying that three times fast!) is a nice ergonomic feature.
Up against the wall
I’ve had my eye on the Madison Corkboard by Ballard Designs for a while. The distressed acanthus and scallop frame is hand carved from walnut. Sizes start at 28” x 24”. A friend of mine has one in her home office. Maybe I can talk her out of it.
There’s hardly anything The Container Store doesn’t carry when it comes to home offices. Their 15” x 15” linen bulletin boards are beautiful which means no more boring boards! Linen wouldn’t have been my first choice to cover a bulletin board—I’m thinking function not design—but after seeing the self-healing feature, I’ve changed my mind.
This 12” x 12″Square Dot Magnet Board from See Jane Work —they carry a variety of colorful products—is made from powder-coated or stainless steel. It comes with a set of magnets.
The Pulp bulletin board from Smart Furniture definitely falls into the “green” category. So you can help the environment and post your favorite pix and cards (if friends send you something other than e-cards) at the same time. This 12” x 12” board is made from stacked reprocessed paper and a recyclable paperboard frame.
Not your average time manager
I can’t give you more hours in the day but consider this a way to make those hours a little more interesting. This unusual but stylish clock is designed to sit on the edge of a shelf. The bottom half of the clock—the top is made of powder-coated steel—is missing but the aluminum hands rotate fully. You wouldn’t expect a typical clock from the Museum of Modern Art would you?
Cloudy with a chance of jeans
You can check the Weather Channel for the latest weather update or you can find out the weather from the fashion-forward, Weather Boy Wireless Weather station. The Weather Boy, available through Day-Timer, not only provides both indoor and outdoor temperatures and humidity, he changes outfits to reflect the weather—15 outfits in all. This battery operated, mini weather station that sits on your desk or mounts on your wall has an LED backlight, an adjustable alarm setting and provides the date and time which is synchronized with the Atomic Clock.
Lights, video, action!
After missing prime shots of my family, friends and interesting home offices, I started carrying a small digital camera with me everywhere.
There are times though when I’d rather shoot a video than take still photos. Now I can do that with the Flip Video from Pure Digital. This small, lightweight, 5.6 megapixal video camera slips into my purse and best of all, it’s easy to use.
The video quality is good and you can even upload captured video to YouTube and AOL Video. It has an instant playback and delete feature, allows you to watch your videos instantly on TV and holds 60 minutes of video. I wouldn’t put it in the high-end digital camera category but for the price (it retails between $115.99-$179), it’s ideal for a small office/home office situation.
I use clear containers to store my home office supplies. It’s easy to see what’s inside and I don’t have to label every container. But I store them in my office closet because they’re ugly. The storage boxes I store on my bookcase, though, are the perfect combination of design and function. They add color to my office and they store plenty of supplies. This collection of “document boxes” from See Jane Work —they always have the latest home office products—are covered in heavy-weight matte paper and feature bright colors and patterns. Beauty and function are always a good combination…especially in an office product.
Computing for a cause
My first computer, a hand-me-down from my dad, was an IBM with a hard drive the size of a two-drawer file cabinet. After that, I converted to Apple and I’ve been a Mac user ever since. Normally I don’t get excited about PCs but the line of Dell Studio laptops featuring designs by West African artists, caught my attention.
I was drawn to this laptop from a style point of view rather than the technical side. The best way to describe the Dell Studio laptop is “art meets technology.” These colorful laptops feature designs by various West African artists. Best of all, Dell contributes $20 from each sale to the Global Fund, to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. Customizable designs are also available through Dell’s Design Studio.
A few years ago, one of my neighbors used to work by his pool but one of his complaints was that his laptop was hard to balance and it was too hot to keep in his lap. His solution was to place a book under his laptop while he worked. When I started using my laptop away from my office, I knew the book option wouldn’t work (mostly because it didn’t sound appealing or comfortable). I was checking out Brookstone and saw the ePad travel laptop desk. Of the other laptop desks I had seen, this one was the least bookish. The ePad is compact and easy to pack when I travel. It comes in red and blue (I have the blue one) and when my sons aren’t borrowing it so they can write when they’re in the car, it gets plenty of use.
Finally, an assistant who won’t talk back
Seems like I could never find enough USB ports. Then I found this little guy, The Hubman, on uncommongoods.com.
You might say The Hubman is portly: his AC-powered limbs are four USB 2.0 hi-speed ports, compatible with all USB devices. His heart? An LED indicator that displays his port status. He’s nifty and compact – and I couldn’t help but be charmed by his cute smile.