11 Work-From-Home Essentials to Turn Your Living Room Into an Office

Sony/HP/Logitech/Amazon
Sony/HP/Logitech/Amazon

There's the idea of working from home, and then there's the reality. While, yes, you can pretty much do everything you need to do in your pajamas with The Crown on in the background, you'll still need some office essentials to get you through the day. Of course, there are the computer accessories and gadgets just to do the basics, and then there are the products that make your home a bit cozier to toil away in from 9 to 5.

Without the everyday comforts of office supplies, copy machines, or even those pesky co-workers who heat up fish in the microwave every day, working remotely can sometimes be a difficult endeavor. But this list of items will help make the transition even easier than washing your hands.

1. Anker Quick Charging Station; $36

Anker/Amazon

Working from home means staying seriously plugged in. After all, you’ve got to keep your computer going, your phone at the ready, and your tablet fired up so you can access everything you need without having to leave the comfort of your chair. Stay connected with this Anker Quick Charging Station. Its five charging ports generate 63 watts of power—more than enough for all of your gadgets—and can charge your devices up to 80 percent in just 35 minutes. Featuring cool blue LED lights that indicate your hub has power, this is the little assistant that will get you through any charging crisis.

Buy it: Amazon

2. SimpleHouesware Mesh Desk Organizer; $25

SimpleHouseware/Amazon

This mesh desk organizer from SimpleHouseware will make your kitchen table feel like an office desk. Made with a stylish and space-saving mesh design, it comes with two side-load letter trays, a tray with a three-compartment drawer, and five dividers so you can store papers, folders, notebooks, and more. And best of all? No tools are needed to assemble it, so building your own mini home office will be a snap.

Buy it: Amazon

3. HP Office Jet Printer; $100

HP/Amazon

One of the worst parts about working remotely is not having the tools that you use every day in the office. But this HP Office Jet 3830 All-In-One Wireless Printer will give your work-from-home setup a much-needed boost. Not only does this machine print in both black and white and color, but it can scan, fax, and make photocopies, too. The HP Smart app also allows you to order toner from your smartphone or print from the cloud. It even comes with an optional quiet mode setting, so your printing will never disturb any fellow “colleagues.” (Let's face it, cats make for grumpy co-workers sometimes.)

Buy it: Amazon

4. Amazon Basics Micro-Cut Shredder; $55

Amazon

The cost of printing, of course, is physical evidence of any sensitive documents that you may not want circulated around your home. That’s why the Amazon Basics High Security Micro-Cut Shredder is a must-have for anyone working from home. Anything that goes into the machine—from papers to credit cards—turns into “confetti-like” pieces on the other side, ensuring that any confidential matters stay that way even outside the office.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Sony Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones; $278

Sony/Amazon

Drown out of the sounds of any pesky roommates or neighbors with these wireless noise-canceling headphones from Sony. These are designed to create a “virtually soundproof” listening experience, and they’re Alexa-enabled for easy connection to music, podcasts, and news updates. They are equipped with touch controls and smart listening technology to adjust ambient sounds based on your activity. And these headphones will last for 30 hours after a single charge, so you'll get through most of the work week without needing to give it more juice.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Miroco Light Therapy Lamp; $40

Miroco/Amazon

In the midst of social distancing, it can be hard to get outside. But with this Miroco light therapy lamp, you can receive the benefits of the sun without having to worry about getting within 6 feet of your neighbors. The UV-free light provides the medically recommended 10,000 Lux a day you need for effective light therapy—working to boost your mood and help with your concentration. It has three different light modes, and its built-in timer means you can decide how long you want your “sun exposure” to last. You might not be able to get as much Vitamin D right now as you’d like, but this lamp is the next best thing.

Buy it: Amazon

7. LapGear Home Office Desk; $45

LapGear/Amazon

While you can certainly work from the comfort of your bed in most cases, a hot laptop takes all that comfort and throws it out the window. Avoid that with this lap desk from LapGear. It fits most laptops and features a convenient slot for your cell phone and an integrated mouse pad. Plus, it’s designed to both ventilate your laptop and keep you feeling cool—something everyone needs during their shift on the couch.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Logitech Wireless Mouse; $22

Amazon/Logitech

Give your wrists a break with this wireless Logitech mouse. This mouse comes with a USB receiver, which pairs perfectly with your laptop or computer to make your work-from-home experience a smooth one. It’s designed to conform to both right and left hands (a score for lefties everywhere), and will last for two years on just two AA batteries.

Buy it: Amazon

9. TIJN Blue-Light-Blocking Glasses; $17

TIJN/Amazon

For anyone who’s been staring at a screen more often than usual, these blue-light-blocking glasses are the antidote to any dry eyes. The lenses, tinted a soft yellow to make digital reading less harsh, block 100 percent of UV rays and relieve any eye fatigue. Durable in construction and with many colors to choose from, these glasses will always keep you looking stylish—even if the only person to see you all day is your pizza delivery guy.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Zeetra Mini Desk Humidifier and Diffuser; $22

Zeetra/Amazon

Anyone working from home deserves to breathe easy, and a desk humidifier and diffuser is just the ticket to finding a moment of Zen. Just add a few drops of essential oil, choose one of the seven different light options to create some ambiance, and bingo—you have your own personal oasis. This humidifier will last six hours, so it can go for as long as you do.

Buy it: Amazon

11. Rubix Cube; $9

Winning Moves/Amazon

When working from home gets to be too much, take a break—but still keep your brain sharp—with the original brain teaser. This 3-inch-by-3-inch Rubix Cube, which has 43 quintillion possible moves, will give your eyes the rest they need from staring at a screen all day. Check out some of these Rubix Cube hacks in case you get truly stumped.

Buy it: Amazon

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14 Retro Gifts for Millennials

Ravi Palwe, Unsplash
Ravi Palwe, Unsplash

Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996, which means the pop culture they grew up with is officially retro. No matter what generation you belong to, consider these gifts when shopping for the Millennials in your life this holiday season.

1. Reptar Funko Pop!; $29

Amazon

This vinyl Reptar figurine from Funko is as cool as anything you’d find in the rugrats’ toy box. The monster dinosaur has been redesigned in classic Pop! style, making it a perfect desk or shelf accessory for the grown-up Nickelodeon fan. It also glows in the dark, which should appeal to anyone’s inner child.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Dragon Ball Z Slippers; $20

Hot Topic

You don’t need to change out of your pajamas to feel like a Super Saiyan. These slippers are emblazoned with the same kanji Goku wears on his gi in Dragon Ball Z: one for training under King Kai and one for training with Master Roshi. And with a soft sherpa lining, the footwear feels as good as it looks.

Buy it: Hot Topic

3. The Pokémon Cookbook; $15

Hop Topic

What do you eat after a long day of training and catching Pokémon? Any dish in The Pokémon Cookbook is a great option. This book features more than 35 recipes inspired by creatures from the Pokémon franchise, including Poké Ball sushi rolls and mashed Meowth potatoes.

Buy it: Hot Topic

4. Lisa Frank Activity Book; $5

Urban Outfitters

Millennials will never be too old for Lisa Frank, especially when the artist’s playful designs come in a relaxing activity book. Watercolor brings the rainbow characters in this collection to life. Just gather some painting supplies and put on a podcast for a relaxing, nostalgia-fueled afternoon.

Buy it: Urban Outfitters

5. Shoebox Tape Recorder with USB; $28

Amazon

The days of recording mix tapes don’t have to be over. This device looks and functions just like tape recorders from the pre-smartphone era. And with a USB port as well as a line-in jack and built-in mic, users can easily import their digital music collection onto retro cassette tapes.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Days of the Week Scrunchie Set; $12

Urban Outfitters

Millennials can be upset that a trend from their youth is old enough to be cool again, or they can embrace it. This scrunchie set is for anyone happy to see the return of the hair accessory. The soft knit ponytail holders come in a set of five—one for each day of the school (or work) week.

Buy it: Urban Outfitters

7. D&D Graphic T-shirt; $38-$48

80s Tees

The perfect gift for the Dungeon Master in your life, this graphic tee is modeled after the cover of the classic Dungeons & Dragons rule book. It’s available in sizes small through 3XL.

Buy it: 80s Tees

8. Chuck E. Cheese T-shirt; $36-$58

80s Tees

Few Millennials survived childhood without experiencing at least one birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. This retro T-shirt sports the brand’s original name: Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre. It may be the next-best gift for a Chuck E. Cheese fan behind a decommissioned animatronic.

Buy it: 80s Tees

9. The Nightmare Before Christmas Picnic Blanket Bag; $40

Shop Disney

Fans of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas will recognize the iconic scene on the front of this messenger bag. Unfold it and the bag becomes a blanket fit for a moonlit picnic among the pumpkins. The bottom side is waterproof and the top layer is made of soft fleece.

Buy it: Shop Disney

10. Toy Story Alien Socks; $15

Shop Disney

You don’t need to be skilled at the claw machine to take home a pair of these socks. Decorated with the aliens from Toy Story, they’re made from soft-knit fabric and are big enough to fit adult feet.

Buy it: Shop Disney

11. Goosebumps Board Game; $24

Amazon

Fans that read every book in R.L. Stine’s series growing up can now play the Goosebumps board game. In this game, based on the Goosebumps movie, players take on the role of their favorite monster from the series and race to the typewriter at the end of the trail of manuscripts.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Tamagotchi Mini; $19

Amazon

If you know someone who killed their Tamagotchi in the '90s, give them another chance to show off their digital pet-care skills. This Tamagotchi is a smaller, simplified version of the original game. It doubles as a keychain, so owners have no excuse to forget to feed their pet.

Buy it: Amazon

13. SNES Classic; $275

Amazon

The SNES Classic is much easier to find now than when it first came out, and it's still just as entertaining for retro video game fans. This mini console comes preloaded with 21 Nintendo games, including Super Mario Kart and Street Fighter II.

Buy it: Amazon

14. Planters Cheez Balls; $24

Amazon

Planters revived its Cheez Balls in 2018 after pulling them from shelves nearly a decade earlier. To Millennials unaware of that fact, this gift could be their dream come true. The throwback snack even comes in the classic canister fans remember.

Buy it: Amazon

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10 Great Gifts for Teens

Fjallraven/Polaroid
Fjallraven/Polaroid

If it’s been a few years since you were a teenager, you might be feeling at a loss when it comes to finding the perfect gift for the teen in your life. But you don’t have to worry—we’ve culled the internet to figure out what’s cool these days, and we found 10 items to suit any teen (and any price point).

1. Fjällräven Kånken Mini Classic Backpack for Everyday; $70

Fjällräven/Amazon

Fjällräven’s Kånken backpack was originally introduced in 1978 as an affordable and comfortable bag for Swedish schoolchildren, but it recently took off as a trend among American high schoolers and college students. With 43 different color options, chances are you’ll be able to find the perfect trendy backpack for the teen in your life.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Hydro Flask Standard-Mouth Water Bottle; $30–$35

Hydro Flask/Amazon

Hydro Flasks aren’t only trendy, they’re sturdy and environmentally friendly. Plus, they keep hot drinks warm and icy drinks cool for an absurdly long amount of time. The standard-mouth water bottle is currently available on Amazon in 17 different colors, but the brand also offers tumbler cups and coffee mugs depending on your niece/nephew/cousin/friend/child’s preference.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Polaroid Originals OneStep+ Bluetooth-Connected Instant Film Camera; $140

Polaroid Originals/Amazon

Teens can kick it back old school with this Polaroid camera that hides some surprisingly contemporary features. Using a special app, users can fine-tune their camera settings to suit their personal tastes. Plus, this camera makes it possible to capture two scenes in a single frame, so it's that much easier to create uniquely artsy Polaroid pics.

Buy it: Amazon

4. 4th-Generation Echo Dot with Clock; $60

Amazon

Tech-wise, the fourth-generation Echo Dot is almost identical to its third-generation predecessor. But the updated spherical design seems poised to make the Echo Dot a worthy contender for traditional alarm clocks—the speaker face shows the time and it even includes a tap-to-snooze function for drowsy sleepers.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Bubble Tea Kit; $38

Uncommon Goods

Part of the reason bubble tea is so popular is that it’s customizable—and what could be more customizable than making it yourself? This kit, made by an Atlanta-based couple, comes with two reusable straws and enough supplies to make up to eight servings.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

6. Mixtape Card Game; $20

Uncommon Goods

This party game challenges players to find the perfect songs to suit specific prompts. Some cards might prompt players to use Spotify or Youtube to search for the songs with the best guitar solos, while other cards call for participants to play their “favorite slow dance love jam from junior high.” This game is sure to be a hit at any high school sleepover or house party—or, in true 2020 style, at any digital hangout or Zoom meeting.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

7. Giant Flour Tortilla Throw Blanket; $18-$35

Mermaker/Amazon

This goofy double-sided blanket turns any human into a giant-size burrito, and it comes in four different sizes to suit any height. One reviewer even went so far as to say that “once you wrap yourself in it, you will be convinced that you are a burrito.”

Buy it: Amazon

8. The Cup of Destiny; $22

Shelter Harbor Press/Amazon

Here’s a prediction: Your hunt for the perfect gift is almost over. This kit is ideal for the teenager who is fascinated by the supernatural and loves exploring new ideas. Included, you’ll find a 96-page illustrated instruction book along with a cup and a saucer marked with patterns and symbols.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Wreck This Journal: Now in Color; $9

Penguin Books/Amazon

This journal is not intended to be pretty. It’s made for messiness and exploration and a little bit of chaos. Artistic-minded teens will love filling out pages that prompt them to catalog various stains or poke holes through the paper. Reviewers say it’s not only a source of creative inspiration, though—it’s also a stress reliever. And considering that the middle-school and high-school years aren’t exactly known for being relaxing, this journal could be a welcome reprieve from the daily pressure of managing homework and a social life.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Therapy Dough; $15

Uncommon Goods

Some teens focus better and relax more easily when they have something to fidget with. If the teen in your life fits that description, this therapy dough may be the perfect gift for them. Each 4.5-ounce container is infused with essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, orange, or pine, making relaxation smell delicious (and all natural!).

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

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