There is no shame in using duct tape on Ikea products.

Among the Christmas presents from my family were, as I’d requested, a shelving unit, tabletop and adjustable legs from Ikea so that I could build myself a new standing desk with storage space.

Why, look at how that works out!

Why, look at how that works out!

It turns out that the maximum length of the adjustable legs stops somewhere short of the height I need on a standing desk, and at the length I need, the legs do not reliably stay in place.

So I stretched those buggers out as far as they’d go, and used duct tape to keep the legs from collapsing. I believe this would be an Ikea Kludge, rather than an Ikea Hack.

The space directly on top of the shelving unit is for the printer, USB hub, wifi router, and a couple of small desk organizers. This frees up the desktop for my laptops (I have a Mac and a PC, the latter of which is difficult to explain), iPad, mousepad, swing-arm lamp and way-station for new paper correspondence.

There are four compartments in the Expedit shelving unit. I use one of those compartments for the UPS unit that charges all these devices. The other compartments hold the rest of my office supplies, plus a cube full of yarn. The yarn can be placed somewhere else, but I live in a small flat and I’ll free up whatever floor space I can.

All the accessibility for a fraction of the square footage for the nerd who has too many ideas and not enough hours in the day.

All the accessibility for a fraction of the square footage for the nerd who has too many ideas and not enough hours in the day.

I think of this space as my Work Island because it’s accessible from all sides. I like having a workspace that occupies the middle of the room, rather than being pressed up to a wall. I don’t have to commit to any particular side of the desktop, and I can access the charging cords without acting like a contortionist.

My ideal workspace would be a larger version of this. I’d use a bigger tabletop, with fixed legs at the right length, and put my bookshelves under it alongside the Expedit unit. There would be room for all my office supplies, books, and a charging station for all my mobile devices. The desktop would be big enough to hold my electric keyboard as well as the computers. The walls of the room could be devoted to sofas and chairs. This would have to be in a bigger room, for when I have more income to spend on housing. For now, I’ve just made my front room look more like a home office, and less like I have no room in my life for guests.

This arrangement is obviously very new and I’d be lying if I said I had it all figured out. At the moment I’m using my yoga mat as a standing pad (it’s more productive this way) and I’d like to get some cord-management supplies so I don’t trip over the electronic effluvium spilling out the opposite side. This is the first time I’ve had a real standing desk at home or work (the closest thing I had previously was to stack a couple of big hardbacks on top of a bookshelf and rest my Mac on top of that; I found it did not inspire commitment), so I’m used to sitting down for most of the day, which is not healthy, but there’ll be a transitional period while my feet get used to being on the job.

Also, there’s an old secretary desk that needs a new home.