Arm Yourself & Reclaim Your Desktop!

Mitsu-CRT-Monitor-InsetMeasuring in at 57 x 30 inches my desk is not small, but it’s not massive either. It hails from a shop called Storehouse Furniture that has sadly gone out-of-business. Nonetheless, this desk has served me well, and will continue to do so for along while to come.

This desk has seen its fair share of computer monitors over the years. There was a time when a 21” Mitsubishi CRT dominated the desktop. What a beast that was. It was heavy as well as physically large.

More recently I’ve been using one or two ASUS VE248H 24-Inch Monitors. These are very nice LED backlit monitors. Resolving 1920 x 1080 pixels, they’re native HD displays with DVI & HDMI connectivity. Better yet, they were pretty affordable.

The trouble is that a pair of monitors this size can truly dominate the desktop. They can leave precious little space to for the other things that are necessary on my desk. I do try keep it to just one phone on my desk at any time, which is an ongoing battle.

Asus-monitors-and-mount-600px

Recently I’ve found that I can reclaim a bunch of desk space by abandoning the built-in monitor stands for a dedicated monitor stand that clamps onto the desktop. Some would call these “monitor arms.” By that logic it would seem that I’ve armed myself.

The stand that I purchased was a Halter Dual LCD Monitor Stand capable of supporting two displays up to 27 inches. It was around $60 from Amazon.

This has several advantages, some obvious and some wholly unexpected. The most obvious benefit is the ability to reposition the monitor given the articulating nature of the mounting arm. I can bring it close, push it away or even rotate it into a portrait orientation, all without disturbing the rest of the contents of my desktop.

I’ve also found that I like the monitor being elevated a little higher than the built-in stand allowed. This has in fact eliminated some back trouble that I was occasionally suffering.

My-Desktop

Of course, I regained access to a lot of desk space under the monitor, which is exactly what I was hoping for. Further, the monitor can now be positioned front and center, whereas in the past it was always off to the left or right corner.

In the past I’ve tended to use two 21” or 22” monitors on my desk. With the move to 24” displays I’ve found that one is enough. Using two monitors has actually proven less convenient as they simply consume too much desktop horizon.

It’s worth the cost to have some extra flexibility in how you can position a monitor and not give up much of the useful space on your desk. It might not be something that the average personal considers, but it’s been a good experience for me.

  • I recently made some desktop changes too. I built a standing desk using LifeHacker’s $22 Ikea design. Now, my one PC is powering 2 “desktops.” one high, and one low. Each desktop has its own monitor, keyboard, and mouse. I am using Logitech wireless keyboards and mice for each “desk.” I can drag windows to and from. I keep browser tabs with email open on both screens.

    Standing is still new to me, but Ive read enough and am otherwise inactive enough that I thought I should give it a try. Definitely better for the back and I’m more tired at the end of the day.

    As a result of this, I am more aware of my monitor height not being perfect. I was thinking a phone book might do the trick but I can’t find one. Perhaps I will need to drop $60 (or $120).

    http://iamnotaprogrammer.com/Ikea-Standing-desk-for-22-dollars.html

    • mjgraves

      Nice. I too should consider a standing desk at some point. Did you notice from the pic that I’ve moved my desk to be in front of a set of terrace doors? That’s intended to ensure that I’m front lit for video calls & Google Hangouts.