My Minimalist Office

What does your workspace look like?

I’ve been asked this question multiple times over the last two years. I understand the curiosity but, truthfully, I always thought that showcasing mine wouldn’t be helpful, given how basic it is. However, since I’ve started this blog, I’ve had a change of heart. After all, I write extensively about how minimalism has improved how I work, so it only makes sense that I show you where most of it gets done. Maybe, this will even inspire you to simplify your workspace? Who knows.

Anyways, let’s begin.

Photos

In May 2018, my girlfriend and I moved to a two-bedroom apartment. After living in a junior one-bedroom apartment for two years, we decided we needed a slightly bigger space in order to accommodate our dog, rabbit, and the both of us.

Since we have a comfortable pullout couch in the living room, we decided that the spare bedroom would serve as an office and exercise space. Aside from when Jayme’s doing yoga, this is what the room looks like.

The view from the hallway. Note the donation pile in the corner and the drying rack (we only use our dryer for sheets and towels). The black container beside the radiator is my dumbbell set.

The view from the hallway. Note the donation pile in the corner and the drying rack (we only use our dryer for sheets and towels). The black container beside the radiator is my dumbbell set.

The other side of the room (the door leads to a Jack and Jill bathroom). Please excuse the outdated wood paneling and wallpaper that came with the apartment.

The other side of the room (the door leads to a Jack and Jill bathroom). Please excuse the outdated wood paneling and wallpaper that came with the apartment.

These are all the books that Jayme and I own. Her nursing books live on the bottom shelf and aside from a few others, the rest of the books are mine (she prefers to borrow books from the library). To answer your question: Yes, I regret buying Zero to One.    Also, note the large brown envelopes beside the printer — those are our university degrees we STILL haven’t bothered to frame.

These are all the books that Jayme and I own. Her nursing books live on the bottom shelf and aside from a few others, the rest of the books are mine (she prefers to borrow books from the library). To answer your question: Yes, I regret buying Zero to One.

Also, note the large brown envelopes beside the printer — those are our university degrees we STILL haven’t bothered to frame.

This is our donation pile! Although it’s easier to drop off everything at Value Village (a second-hand store), we donate as much as we can to specific local organizations. For example, we donate winter clothes and toiletries to Toronto women’s shelters, sheets and blankets to animal shelters, textbooks to an organization that donates them to students in need, and so forth. Though it takes 10x more effort to drop things off at various locations around Toronto, we feel better than it’s going to those in need rather than having it re-sold by Walmart (Walmart Canada owns Value Village).    We take the hangers back to our dry cleaner who reuses them.

This is our donation pile! Although it’s easier to drop off everything at Value Village (a second-hand store), we donate as much as we can to specific local organizations. For example, we donate winter clothes and toiletries to Toronto women’s shelters, sheets and blankets to animal shelters, textbooks to an organization that donates them to students in need, and so forth. Though it takes 10x more effort to drop things off at various locations around Toronto, we feel better than it’s going to those in need rather than having it re-sold by Walmart (Walmart Canada owns Value Village).

We take the hangers back to our dry cleaner who reuses them.

The worst part of the office. This is where the office supplies, misc. tech stuff/adapters, and small household items live (tea light candles, batteries, light bulbs). We do charge our awesome cordless Dyson beside it though.

The worst part of the office. This is where the office supplies, misc. tech stuff/adapters, and small household items live (tea light candles, batteries, light bulbs). We do charge our awesome cordless Dyson beside it though.

The bankers boxes contain some material I needed for a hearing, which I’ve been procrastinating on bringing back to the office. On my floating shelf sits my microphone, box of index cards, a candle, and two printed frames.    I bought my chair, desk and filing cabinet second-hand for a cumulative amount of $25.00.

The bankers boxes contain some material I needed for a hearing, which I’ve been procrastinating on bringing back to the office. On my floating shelf sits my microphone, box of index cards, a candle, and two printed frames.

I bought my chair, desk and filing cabinet second-hand for a cumulative amount of $25.00.

I’ve had this for over ten years. It was a present from my mom and was made in 1970.

I’ve had this for over ten years. It was a present from my mom and was made in 1970.

The beautiful matte black lamp is from V de V and was a birthday present from my girlfriend. I also keep a photo of my dog on my desk, who kept me company in the office until he passed.

The beautiful matte black lamp is from V de V and was a birthday present from my girlfriend. I also keep a photo of my dog on my desk, who kept me company in the office until he passed.

Finally, by the door, I have a large print that was made by my friend who is extremely talented. The man in the photo is actually her dad!

Finally, by the door, I have a large print that was made by my friend who is extremely talented. The man in the photo is actually her dad!

And there you have it. No white walls. No motivational prints. No fancy tech setup.

While I would love a beautiful wooden desk, mid-century office chair, or hell - even just a filing cabinet that’s not super-ugly beige, these are minor dissatisfactions. There’s nothing I lack.

My philosophy is simple: function over aesthetic.

An effective workspace creates a calm and focused environment where we can do our best work. We needn’t pretend it’s more glamorous than it is.

New Beginnings

The only constant is change.

As you can see, I’ve created a new website to go along with my refocused writing. My old website (jennifertchan.net) will still be up for those interested in perusing past posts, but new content will only live here. I have a lot of ideas that I want to share about minimalism including simple living, mindful productivity, ethical consumerism, post-growth economics, and more.  

In other words, Deliberate Discourse serves to deliver thoughtful, no-nonsense commentary on today’s pressing issues without targeted ads, affiliate links, and the usual bullshit. (I only monetize my writing through Medium and working with freelance clients).

I’m excited for the future of DD. For those of you who already subscribe to DD (from the old site), your subscription will automatically rollover so you don’t need to sign up twice. And if you wish to come along for the ride, I encourage you to subscribe by signing up with your email address on the side —>

Sincerely,

Jen