The Amazing Free Tidy Cats Standing Desk!

I wanted to try out a standing desk, but wasn’t sure how to put together a trial model. Inspired by the Standdesk 2000, I was too lazy and cheap to go out and buy stuff committed to creating a free standing desk out of reused and at-hand materials.

I started with a Lack-style table from our garage, but my 27″ iMac was too much machine for it. The “table” sagged visibly under my 21-lb baby. The handiest objects of similar size and better sturdiness that happened to be available were some empty Tidy Cats litter buckets. I pulled out my trusty yardstick, and indeed, the bucket heights were within an inch of the ideal positions for my body-to-desk ratio.

Fully assembled Tidy Cats standing desk.

The Amazing Free Tidy Cats standing desk!

So why not just use a couple of buckets? It took only a few minutes to assemble an entire standing desk – for free! As a bonus, it comes in an attractive yellow and red color scheme, complete with images of scampering kittens!

Parts:

  • 2 empty 27-lb Tidy Cats litter buckets with lids
  • 1 empty 35-lb Tidy Cats litter bucket with lid
  • 1 piece of 1/4″ plywood, approximately 7″-9″ deep, around 24″ length
  • 2-3 cord clips (optional)
  • 2 medium binder clips (optional)
  • flexible wrist wrest (optional; strongly recommended)

Procedure:

27" iMac rests nicely on a Tidy Cats bucket.

My 27″ iMac rests nicely on an upside-down Tidy Cats bucket.

  1. Optionally remove the handles from each bucket. The handle on the 35-lb bucket must be cut off, but you can maneuver the handles off the 27-lb buckets without a knife. If you leave them on, they could be used as an anchor for various cords, but they take up too much desk space for my taste.
  2. Turn 35-lb bucket upside down, lid on, and position at back center of desk.
  3. Place iMac on up-ended bucket; the front lip of the bucket base is perfect for lining up with the base of the computer stand.
  4. Turn the two 27-lb buckets upside down, lid on, and put them together width-wise in front of the big bucket.
  5. Optionally use cord keeper clips to hold the two buckets together (see photo at left below).
  6. Place plywood on top of buckets, evenly centered horizontally across the two buckets.
  7. Optionally, install medium-sized binder clips at the center of each of the buckets’ back edge to make a no-fuss backstop for your keyboard. There is a little lip into which the clip fits perfectly. Snap the back lever down, and leave the front one up.
  8. Place keyboard and mouse/trackpad on plywood. Align the keyboard’s G and H keys with the center of the monitor; your specific positioning of the two-bucket keyboard stand will depend on your peripherals.
  9. Optionally, cover any gap between the plywood and the front edge of the buckets with a wrist rest. This is highly recommended. If your plywood actually covers the entire bucket bottoms, unlike mine (we had a 7″ wide piece handy; why bother with more than one cut to get an 8″ wide piece?) then you might get away without a wrist rest. Either way, you’ll probably want to rasp/sand/pad the front edge of the plywood. Unless you like splinters in your wrists, that is.
  10. Stand up and enjoy!
Keyboard shelf finished off with a piece of plywood and wrist rest. Binder clips were a later refinement.

Keyboard shelf with a piece of plywood and wrist rest.

Keyboard stand/shelf made from two Tidy Cats buckets, plus a piece of plywood.

Keyboard shelf made from two Tidy Cats buckets and scrap plywood. Binder clips were a later refinement.

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