How Many Gadgets is Too Many?


ScreenshotOver on our parent blog GigaOM, Om Malik bemoans the lack of desk space in his office, thanks to too many gadgets. I can certainly sympathize – in fact, Om’s desk looks positively uncluttered to me. Currently on (or under) my desk, I have:

  • Two tower and three laptop computers.
  • Two 24″ monitors
  • Two document scanners and a flatbed scanner
  • Two sets of external speakers, including subwoofers
  • Two digital thermometers, one clock, one timer
  • Digital camera and camcorder
  • A RadioShark external antenna, plus an analog AM/FM radio
  • One telephone and three assorted headsets
  • One GDrive
  • One substantial UPS
  • And of course a rat’s nest of assorted cables

OK, so I might have a problem. But I’m betting that I’m in good company among our readers (not to mention in my office, where my wife has her own desk as do some of our kids).

I find I have conflicting impulses when it comes to gadgets. On the one hand, I’m always interested in finding smaller, better, more portable ways to do things. On the other, I’m always interested in finding the best ways to do things. The two are often at odds – the simplest example being that lots of screen real estate makes me more productive, but less mobile.

As you can probably guess, I’m mostly a stay-at-home member of the web work tribe, so I tend to accumulate hardware without worrying about it too much. Fortunately, I’ve managed to go nearly paperless, so I don’t need desk space for much besides gadgetry. If I traveled more, no doubt I would slim down the pile somewhat again, as I have in the past.

What about you? Is your desk lean and mean, with only a few bits of hardware on it? Have you ditched the desk altogether, and composed everything into a traveling kit? Or would you like to confess your own hardware addiction in the comments?


Lasse Rintakumpu

At home or office you can have any number of gadgets, but it must be less than or equal to the number of plants.

When you’re on the move the maximum number of gadgets is … three.

Preferably just two (phone + laptop).


I try to keep my desk clear too, but with a all the gadgets it’s impossible! eBay is awesome for getting rid of all your old gadgets.


Because of my gadgetry, and my love for amateur radio equipment, we are selling the 1200sq ft townhome to A) Take advantage of the cheap housing costs (plus taking a loss when we sell this place) and B) Have a large room to build a custom desk space in order to house all of my goods.

Every now and then I sort through my products in order to evaluate what I still need, and what I can sell on Ebay. Then clean house.

If you’re any kind of geek like me, you just learn to live with the “stuff” as my wife calls it. But, once you feel buried in it, it’s time to recycle that to someone else that wants it in order to clean up and reevaluate.


I’m also addicted to hardware but since I don’t have a whole lot of disposable income I only have two things on my desk, my MacBook and a Mighty Mouse.

I am a simplicity nut at heart so I have always done my best to try and consolidate my hardware to the point where I can still do all that I need to while having the least amount of devices possible.

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