Recommended Chairs and Waste Baskets

Post 11 in the series: Recommended Productivity Tools

Get a good chair. Depending on how desk-dependent your job is, you may be in your chair six, eight, or more hours a day. It does not make sense to merely get a chair that you can “get by” with. Get a chair that is ergonomically correct and which you enjoy using.

At the other extreme, I’m not recommending that anyone go out and buy an $800 Herman Miller chair. There are some decent middle-of-the road options that I think strike a good balance.

Here’s the chair I prefer:

It looks a bit like a Herman Miller chair, but it’s not. It’s available at Office Depot and is called the “Realspace PRO™ Quantum Recycled Mesh Mid-Back Task Chair.” That’s a mouthful. And the name actually continues: “40 1/2″H x 30 3/10″W x 26 1/5″D, Black Frame, Black Fabric.”

It costs way less than a Herman Miller, but still costs more than most of the other options at Office Depot. Here’s the way I look at it: This chair ought to last me at least eight years–probably much longer. Let’s assume eight years, though. Working 260 days per year, that’s 2,080 working days. That puts the cost at 12.5 cents per day.

Having a chair that works well, is fully adjustable, and that I like to be in is worth 12.5 cents per day.

Waste Baskets

Waste baskets don’t have to be ugly. Here’s the one I have in my office at home:

I like it because the color and wire mesh style fit the rest of the style of my office. The governing principles for productivity tools in general also apply here: if you are going to have a waste basket anyway, you may as well get one that contributes to the overall work environment rather than just getting whatever you find.

Posts in This Series

  1. Recommended Productivity Tools: An Introduction
  2. The Tools You Need to Have (And Where to Keep Them)
  3. Recommended In Boxes
  4. Recommended Capture Journals
  5. Recommended Pens
  6. Recommended Pencils and Paper Pads
  7. Recommended Staplers, Staple Removers, and Tape
  8. Recommended Scissors, Letter Openers, and Post-Its
  9. Recommended Paper Clips and Super Glue
  10. Not Recommended: Desktop Organizer Things
  11. Recommended Chairs and Waste Baskets
  12. Recommended Labelers and File Folders
  13. Recommended File Cabinets and Bookshelves
  • Jeff

    I want to defend the Hermon Miller chair to a small degree. Yes the chair is insanely expensive (seemingly). But after sitting in one every day for 4+ years, I can promise you it’s an amazing chair.

    I’ve had no pain or problems with the chair in all the time I’ve used it. It’s extremely sturdy. The only thing that’s worn at all are the faux-leather armrests.

    If you can find a chair that’s just as good for less money then you should definitely buy it.

    I just wanted to point out that the Aeron isn’t just an expensive toy – it’s actually a REALLY good chair.

    And they can sometimes be found second-hand for MUCH cheaper than retail when an office closes or someone moves (check craigslist).

  • Caleb

    I agree with Jeff. I’ve known Aeron chairs to last many years with very little wear and they are super comfortable. The Office Depot reviews of the chair recommended in this post seem to indicate that this chair has a major design flaw that will limit the lifespan of the chair to about 1 or 1.5 years. I’d much rather spend $400 on a used Aeron.

  • kATHY

    I have been using a Raynor Miranda Chair for ~5 years now…holds up great, isn’t too oversized, adjusts where I need it to adjust for my bad back (forward tilt on the seat) THICK seat padding, and super comfortable. The only adjustment I had to make was the arm rests….there was no way to get them low enough to be ergonomically correct, so I removed them.

    It’s not as ‘space age’ looking as the ones others recommend..but neither is it’s price…originally, 5 years ago it was only 125. Now it is going for 199, but still well worth it!!

  • David

    I am new to your site but couldn’t find my topic through your search feature. I am asking about it here because you are dealing with wastebaskets.

    My question is what do you do with the waste stream? All I see you mention is a wastebasket. In our office I can think of three options:
    1. papers we put through a shredder before putting them out with our recycling. These may have personal information on them such as bank account numbers that we wouldn’t want intercepted from our garbage for someone to attempt identity theft.
    2. papers that qualify for recycling but don’t contain personal information.
    3. garbage that can’t go in recycling — this is where I would use the wastebasket.

    So, do you not think about identity theft or recycling, or did I just overlook your dealing with it?


  • Matt


    Thanks for reading. When it comes to sensitive information, I do shred that. I have a shredder at home here that I keep in the closet in my office, and at work I would take it down to the shredder in the supply room.

    On recycling: I actually don’t keep a recycle bin at my desk (either at home or work), and my rationale for that would probably make an interesting post sometime. We do recycle non-office stuff at home (kitchen, newspapers, etc.). And at my work, those who want to keep a recycling bin at their desk do.


  • Ben

    Matt and readers,
    The Raynor chair is being recalled because the backs of the chairs are coming loose, sending people to the floor. FYI…

  • Dallas McMillan

    Hi, thanks for the truly useful articles on productivity and organisation. This has always been a challenge for me in spite of periodic attempts to get everything working smoothly. Your list of “tools you need to have” and particularly the prescriptive instructions on what to put in specific drawers is exactly what I needed.
    Great work.

    What do you think of standing desks? I’m contemplating an adjustable standing desk to vary my posture through the day. Also looking at using a Bambach saddle chair. I’ve used these at work for years and they take some getting used to but certainly help posture. They are extremely expensive compared to your average chair but I think probably worth it – as you say we spend 1/4 of our lives or more at our desks!

    • Matt Perman

      Thanks so much! I’m glad they’ve been helpful.

      In relation to standing desks: I think they are a good idea as long as the desk is adjustable (that is, you can lower it and sit if you desire). It’s nice to have the variety, and it helps you be a bit more active if you can stand. I have a friend who has a standing desk and he’s found it helpful.