Working from a laptop on the couch all day was cute when it wasn’t all day, every day. In pandemic times, since so many of us are working from home for the foreseeable future, it makes sense to invest in a few upgraded home office essentials.
Over the last month or so, I’ve ditched my trusty laptop and gone back to a good ol’ fashioned desktop computer. If you’re dusting off an old tower or looking to score a computer on the cheap, here are five inexpensive, DIY computer upgrades that will have your online-life feeling downright luxurious (and bonus, you can score it all for under $250).
This little device converted my old(er) desktop into a Bluetooth-enabled modern marvel. It takes up next to no space and lets me go wire-free during Zoom calls (a must, since my son likes to snatch my headset).
2. New mouse and keyboard
Going wireless was a must, and honestly…I write a lot. I did some research and found a keyboard/mouse combo that was responsive, inexpensive, and gave me that really satisfying feeling on the keys.
3. HD webcam
You don’t even want to know the foolishness I was trying to get away with here. My laptop had a webcam, but my desktop didn’t, so I was logging into Zoom on two devices so I could be seen on the phone and share my screen from the desktop. It was madness. Just don’t do it, ok? The webcam is like $20.
4. More RAM
This will be the hardest of all the DIY upgrades, but I promise that you can still pull it off yourself. Look up your computer’s make and model to find out what kind of RAM you need, then order based on the style, total amount, and number of slots you have. At most, you’ll need a screwdriver (and a vacuum, my PC was dusty…). The RAM cards just pop right in. I went from 8GB to 20GB and I’m now living my best life.
5. Second screen
Back in my Wall Street days I got a second screen for my computer and if you don’t know, once you get two screens you can NEVER go back. I mean, really. I can’t do it. This will be the bulk of your budget (unless, like me, you literally found a second monitor in the trash and no–I’m not ashamed). Do it. Be warned, your life will never be the same.
Oooh, you feeling like you gots a little money to throw around? Get a chair. Like, a really fricking good one. AN OFFICE CHAIR. If you’re working from home, you need it. I don’t care if it matches anything in your house. The ergonomic ones are usually ugly, but they are insanely comfortable. Do it. Your ass, and back, and legs, will thank you.