Christmas Cleaning: Clutter-free Productive Home Office

Update (30 Nov 2010): I've moved again and I have a new home office now. Make sure to check it out.

OK, so after we've moved to our new apartment I got my very own room to set up my very own home office where I'd be productive when at home... and I wanted a true clutter-free experience. As you know, in the past I managed to pack all of my office-related stuff into an Ikea cabinet but this time around I was aiming at an Apple-style-designed big, clean, lean and clutter-free desk. This is the outcome:



There you go, from the left there is my Canon MP110 Printer and scanner (it's so far on the left that you can't see it, but you'll see it on the other photos), a 21-inch Gateway external monitor (aligned vertically - I prefer it that way), my Macbook Air, GTD-style folders and iPhone dock, my previous main machine: X60 Thinkpad TabletPC (docked) which my wife is currently using, my Toshiba M200 TabletPC (acting as my home server) docked and accessible only with Wacom active digitizer pen, GTD-inboxes and a document shredder.

Interested? I've got more pictures for you and the setup photos below.

Step 1 - big desk with lots of free space

I started out with a big desk Apple-style without anything on it or attached to it. It even doesn't have any legs, sweet pure and beautiful place to work. So I started digging around it, making holes and putting first wires:



Step 2 - preparing "cage" to attach to the bottom of the desk with chargers inside

I bought a clothing drawer in a local superstore and cut it to fit my space below my desk:



Step 3 - prepare the wires and chargers

There are lots of chargers and wires we need to prepare to put "below" our desk:



Step 4 - make sure you have enough "juice"

I need lots of "power sources" to power all these little tiny devices and all my computers, so here goes - two (eventually I ended up with 4 when I realized how many power outlets I really needed) power lines:



And additional "chimney" for ad-hoc power on the desk (clutter-free power):



Step 5 - put the cables and stuff into the "cage" and attach them with plastic straps



Step 6 - install power juice and make sure all the cables are in place



Step 7 - realize you have to few power outlets and install more, install cage



Some design details - how I attached the "cage" with all of my stuff:



It's nice to use a plastic pipe to make sure the details look really nice:



Step 8 - install a "charger basket"

I got this idea from unclutterer and I liked it a lot, here's my basket with all the outlets for mobile phones, camera and digicam in one place:



Step 9 - move everything around and attach your last cables

After I've done my initial version I had to do it all over again to make sure everything is in the right place:



Step 10 - enjoy your new clutter-free and beautiful office space

Here's my left side of desk:



And here's my right side:



Here's what's in front of my eyes when working:



Hope you liked my very lengthy blog post and you got inspired to get a clutter-free place to work.

And there is one more thing....

Don't try to pull it off on your own! Always get help from someone qualified to help you with this kind of setup, luckily my daughter (11 months young) gladly helped:



How is your home-office? Do you work from home? How is your real office? Enough room to be creative?

--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Posted on Wednesday, December 23, 2009 (apple,declutter,office,xmas,zen)

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Stefano Ricciardi
Dec 24, 2009 08:50
Love your setup. Hope I'll be able do to something like this myself next year. My desktop space is really shrinking!
Michael Sliwinski
Dec 24, 2009 12:21
Shrinking desktop is very limiting and adds distractions to your surrounding... I had trouble getting stuff done with limited space... it really pays off to have lots of space around and only a few items visible...

Thanks for your comment Stefano and have a Merry Christmas!

Dec 25, 2009 19:59
Michael your desktop looks so fine, good job!
Michael Sliwinski
Dec 26, 2009 00:41
Wanted to make sure I get to finish my clutter-free desktop before Christmas so that I could enjoy it asap. Glad you like it, Jordi, thanks for your comment!
Dec 28, 2009 20:02
Very nice! I'm working on my desk, but here's a little charging station I came up with:
Michael Sliwinski
Dec 29, 2009 00:43
Really cool charging station Nejc! Fantastic, good looking and very practical for all the mobile stuff that needs to be charged. Good job!
Jan 2, 2010 01:32
Good and inspiring post. I studied it with interest and came across a typo: I think you meant, not declutterer. ;-)
Michael Sliwinski
Jan 4, 2010 10:53
I've corrected the link to - thanks for your comment and welcome to the new uncluttered 2010!
Jan 19, 2010 21:28
I just love this workplace.I am planing to install same way but i was wondering that what kind of wood is this and what type of support did you used?
Michael Sliwinski
Jan 19, 2010 22:25
The wood is just double-size of the standard furniture wood and the support is very tough - steel pipe (rounded square shaped) mounted in the walls. I just didn't want any "legs" and wanted this to be unbreakable. Right now it's so tough that you can dance on this table and nothing happens :-) Good luck with your workspace!
Jan 19, 2010 22:33
thank you for quick reply, I have one more question is that what about that front long pipe! is it connected to the other?

Michael Sliwinski
Jan 19, 2010 22:39
The two layers of furniture wood are glued together and the metal pipe goes right in the middle of desk along the whole desk (from side to side - coast to coast :-) - you can see the pipe in the photo in Step 7.

Jan 19, 2010 22:44
thank you for help, as soon as I finish I will send you the photos.

Jan 20, 2010 18:59
hello Michael,
Yesterday I went to home depot. I couldn't find the type of wood .first they showed me countertop's and white Melanie, laminated pine, flush birch slab, red oak tread. my wall is 12'9" so it has to be two part attached to each other.

Michael Sliwinski
Jan 21, 2010 01:14
I had it custom made by my carpenter and this is why it worked. Good luck with your setup!

Jan 24, 2012 13:04
Very nice setup. And a beautiful little girl you have, too. Where an I get one of those cool Nozbe chair mats?
Michael Sliwinski
Jan 24, 2012 22:22
My father was running an ad-agency and he gave me this Nozbe mat as a gift - love it :-) Don't have any new left, I'm afraid but will think about them maybe for our best Nozbe users - thanks for your kind comment Chris!
Aug 23, 2012 22:49
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