Difficulties Finding a Good Work Space

I've got a ton of scholarly projects I want to get started on, but it's been difficult given the limitations of available work space.

I live in a very small apartment with my boyfriend. By some miracle, all of our stuff manages to fit in the place, but it's not in good order. And it's impossible to be in good order given my limited storage space.

I can live with big comforters on the floor and assorted stuff sitting on the floor along pretty much every wall, but I can't do any of this self education I want to do because I can't figure out how to carve out a decent work space. I have a great desk, but my computer takes up most of the space on it and I refuse to put my CPU on the carpet given how much dust and dirt would end up gunking up my processor.

I wanted to work on my vocabulary project last night. For this project and to do it the way it needs to be done given what I want to get out of it, I use a lot of large books. The largest is my compact OED which takes up the entire writing space on most desks. I ended up making my attempt last night by piling the OED, the reading glass required to read it, my Webster and an Etymology dictionary in my lap. I discovered very quickly that it's very difficult to concentrate when you have to keep switching out books in a pile while your somewhat burly boyfriend is next to you on the love seat working on a laptop.

I've considered trying a study room in the library, but that requires the transport and carrying of these multiple large books to the library on a regular basis. Call me lazy, but that's a lot of trouble for something I do in my spare time.

I don't have a kitchen table anymore, which was where I used to do such projects. If I did, I certainly wouldn't have room for it.

Do any of y'all have any magic suggestions of how to remedy this problem? What do those of you with limited space do?

I love working on this project (and all my projects) and it makes me feel great about how I'm spending my spare time. I just wish I could figure out how to do it without breaking my back or getting too bogged down by discomfort.

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I have exactly the same problem.

I even tried to use the ironing board, as an alternative working table. I use all the time for its intended purpose, so it is always up.

Well... It only works if you like working standing up.

I just found out about those 2 low footprint workstations from Balt, an office furniture manufacturer.

Since we have the same space dilemma, I might as well
share my finds and ruminations.

I am on a limited budget, I gather that you are as well so I hope this post is useful.

The Fold-N-Go

According to the numerous pictures, it is a small foldable desk with front casters, one keyboard/laptop shelf and one big screen shelf capable of holding something as wide as a slide viewer.

Pros:It folds flat, has a small footprint and fits a laptop.
Cons: Because it consists of two different level work surfaces, is the lowest one big enough to be a comfortable work station.

The Fold-N-Stow

Is a desk made up of 3 drawers with a steel which support a small square wood top which line up with the foldable table/work area.

Pros: The small footprint of the 3 drawers/square tabletop can fit anywhere.
It can double up as a side table when folded.
Cons: The manufacturer claims that it can fit a CPU, monitor, mouse, and a printer but they skip the picture of the printer. The only printer I think would fit is a label printer, nothing more.
I don't know how sturdy the desk leaf is.
During moves, the tiny casters like the ones used in the product, usually get loose or broken in some way.

I suspect the Fold-N-Go could be perfect for you, the big books placed on books holders on top of the upper shelf.

Note that I found out about them by accident,in an office store website, I have never seen them in person, hence the reluctance to order either of them.

I am not affiliated with the manufacturer in any way.

How about a set of TV trays?

You know, the kind that are sold as a set of four and have a rack to go with them? They would serve multiple purposes, you could use them to eat, but also, you could set up a couple while studying to hold the various books and then fold them away on the rack when you are done. I have never owned any, so I don't know how solid they are, but just a thought.....

Oh, and by the way

I had to chuckle at the fold and go pictures - the one with the desktop on it, what exactly is the dude supposed to do with a tower PC AND a monitor with one hand while carrying the fold n go in the other? It does look good for laptops...

Good idea!

That is a good idea. I have one TV tray already, but it's holding my routers and things.

The only thing is they're usually a tad too high for me to work at them comfortably, but I'll look around and see what I can find.

Thanks for all the suggestions, y'all! I knew this was the right place to gather ideas. :^)

Adjustable trays

Walmart has some "tv trays" that are made of hard plastic with metal legs, are a bit larger than a normal tv tray table top, and have adjustable height (they work sort of like an ironing board for setting height). They are ugly (unless you like a really modern asthetic) but quite functional!

That sounds like it could

That sounds like it could work. Thanks!


$250 is a bit too much for what that is, but I like the direction you're going and thank you SO MUCH for the addresses and descriptions.

I haven't considered folding work stations, so I'll investigate further.

Retail Price Links

Fold-n-Go $119 (discounted from $199)

Fold-N-Stow $129 (discounted from $260)

These are the first prices I found. I do not claim that these are the best prices.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson) ***

Korean folding table

Years ago, I bought a Korean folding dining table, about 3x2ft surface and about a foot off the ground. Nice big surface, you don't need a chair and it folds less than 2 inches thick. If you have a Korean market nearby, have a look.

Also a good idea.

I live in Podunk NW Georgia, so there are no Korean markets to be found anywhere nearby, but I'll look online and see what I can find along that line.


Card Table maybe

How about a card table? About 850 mm or 34" square work surface with fold up legs. When the legs are folded up it is about 50mm or 2" thick. The one I have has a metal frame and legs so has bit of weight though that makes it stable. The surface is padded vinyl so not great as a writing surface but that can be overcome. Two of them side by side in conjunction with your computer workstation would give you a good work area. When not in use, the tables can be folded and stored away - or leant against a convenient wall or furniture. It can also double as cosy dining table if you like. Sorry but I have no idea on pricing.

Bob H.

Maybe you need to tackle this on a bigger scale?

Where do the two of you eat now?
Given the size of that fold'n stow and it's single purpose and the fact that you "have a great desk", wouldn't it make more sense to buy a table that saves both purposes?
A small foldable dinner table you can have meals at that doubles as a work station when it's cleared. Maybe you can even thrift one, and if it doesn't work you can pass it on and haven't lost much.

I also found this table-bookshelf-cupboard-combo and I think it's awesome. You could build it up to the ceiling to hide some of the other stuff you have sitting on the floor. But it's apparently custom made and I don't know how talented you are when it comes to carpentry or how committed you are to the current apartment.

multi-tiered storage

I suggest you use your desk for your work and move the books and the CPU. However, I wouldn't move them to the floor. Y

ou could use something like a small trolley with multiple shelves for the books and other items. It could store it against the wall with your stuff on it and then can you can move it when you need to do work elsewhere.
There are lots of nice second-hand ones out there, very cheap.

If you're allowed to put shelves up in your flat, I suggest you put your CPU on a shelf above the desk to give you more space. If you can't put a shelf on the wall, there are shelves on legs (like tiny tables) that would would lift up your CPU so you could use the desk space under it. Or you could put the CPU on top of the trolley

Just what I need ! A Catheter Trolley !

Too silly to resist.
Thirty lashes with a wet noodle for me. >:D
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson) ***

Fair enough

Fair enough ... it wasn't the best link. :)

This is a bit closer to what I meant, and a lot less medical http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/TEA-TROLLEY-/260956136196?_trksid...

And it would be useful for entertaining


I don't know if this sort of thing would be useful for you, but it's a laptop stand from Ikea. My wife has this, and it's quite useful. She thinks it's too wobbly, but I've used it for a couple months while she was in the States, and I loved it. Here's a link:
DAVE Laptop table


Looks like it'll be too

Looks like it'll be too small for multiple books though.

that's what couches are for

;-) Seriously, that's what I did. I put my books on the couch with me, and maybe one with my netbook on the table. I tilted the table down, toward me most of the time, though, and kept the books on my lap, and on a small tea table.