July 8, 2015

Written by

Chris Gonzales


Jeff Sheldon

It’s no secret we at Tools & Toys love a good workspace. To that end, in this week’s gear roundup we have put together some of our favorite office accessories in recent years.

Some are almost absurdly simple, but that’s what makes them so great. A tiny addition to your workspace can sometimes reap huge benefits.

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Twelve South MagicWand. ($30)

Twelve South MagicWand. ($30)

Twelve South MagicWand »

Twelve South’s MagicWand is one of those products that does one simple job and does it well.

It’s a small, extremely light (as in, lighter than two AA batteries) polycarbonate halfpipe that you snap an Apple Wireless Keyboard and an Apple Magic Trackpad into, side-by-side, combining them into a single unit.

Whereas you previously might’ve had to reach across the desk from one device to the other, the MagicWand keeps everything nice and tidy and unified. You can also put the trackpad on either side of the keyboard you like. For example, you could attach it on the left side and still use a Magic Mouse on the right, if you want the best of both worlds.

NeuYear Calendar »

This is a great calendar to hang in just about any workspace, since it can be hung vertically or horizontally depending on which side you use. It’s also easy on the eyes. We recommend taking Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity advice and marking each day you get some writing (or other work) done with a big red ‘X’.

They’ve got lots of variations to choose from. Here are the ones we suggest, depending on if you care to purchase a calendar for the remainder of 2015 or if you want to get the 2016 edition ahead of time:

Nordic Appeal MacBook Wall Desk. ($220)

Nordic Appeal MacBook Wall Desk. ($220)

Nordic Appeal MacBook Wall Desk »

Now here’s a clever idea: Take a typical wooden MacBook stand, design it to mount on a pair of wooden knobs screwed into the wall, and you’ve got the MacBook Wall Desk.

Use it as a stationary standing desk, and when needed, just slide it up off the wall mounts and either put it in storage or use it as a raised MacBook stand wherever is most convenient. When sitting on a surface, the space under the stand is a great place to store a wireless mouse and keyboard.

The wall desk in storage mode.

The wall desk in storage mode.

What’s more, the stand is made in your choice of walnut or oak from sustainably forested woodlands. Pretty cool.

Get it from Nordic Appeal for $220. Comes with everything you need for installation, minus a screwdriver.

Umbra Conceal floating bookshelf. ($15-$18)

Umbra Conceal floating bookshelf. ($15-$18)

Umbra Conceal Floating Bookshelf »

The Umbra Conceal Floating Bookshelf is a clever (and invisible!) way to add some literary flair to your walls, making them appear to stick there with no support.

Once you’ve mounted the shelf to a wall (all you need to provide is a screwdriver), you insert a hardcover’s back cover edge into the little hooks underneath, then close the book over the panel to conceal it from sight. Then, just stack a few more books on top of that. Easy peasy.

Multiple floating bookshelves creates a cool effect in any office.

Multiple floating bookshelves creates a cool effect in any office.

It comes in a handful of variations:

  • Small ($18) — Supports up to 15lb of small- and medium-sized books; maximum stack height 8″.
  • Large ($15) — Supports up to 15lb of medium- and large-sized books; maximum stack height 8″.
  • Vertical ($18) — Supports one book vertically, up to 5lb and 1″–1½” thick.
  • Double ($18) — Supports up to 30lb total (15lb on each side) of books; maximum stack height 8″.

Ugmonk's leather mousepad. ($36)

Ugmonk’s leather mousepad. ($36)

Ugmonk Leather Mousepad »

When people think of mousepads, they generally remember those weird old foam pads from the 90’s, which everyone always had a million of in a closet somewhere.

Although today’s mice don’t really require a mousepad to work anymore, Ugmonk’s premium leather mousepad certainly makes the experience enjoyable. The cool part is that the soft leather, due to its very nature, will develop a beautiful patina the more you use it. Your mousepad really becomes personalized to you.

Comes in brown, natural (light tan), and black.

Color-changing LED kit + remote. ($28)

Color-changing LED kit + remote. ($28)

Color-Changing LED Strip Kit + Remote »

Way back when I (Chris) lived with my parents, I had a simple multi-color rope light in my bedroom. It was only a few feet long and I never found a good use for it (save coiling it around the frame of my futon), but I liked it anyway.

Thanks to a January 2015 post by Sean McCabe, I discovered something better: this color-changing LED kit that’s like a rope light on steroids. It’s 16.4 feet (5 meters) long, comes with a 44-button remote for full customization, can be cut shorter if needed, and uses very little energy despite its high light output. Have some electrical tape on hand though, because there are exposed wires at each end that may need covering.

Be sure to check out the Amazon reviews for great tips on setting everything up.