this thing's incredible

This $39 Cardboard Box Turns Any Desk Into a Standing Desk

As a freelance writer, I’ve sat for so long at my desk (slumped forward, legs twisted like a pretzel) that my feet have gone numb. Sitting in a chair is bizarrely exhausting, and apparently a sure way to perish early, but I also couldn’t convince my cheap boss (me) to spring for what looked like a $400 to $2,000 investment. But to my great fortune, a start-up friend sent me a link to the Oristand, a $39 standing-desk converter that’s essentially a collapsible cardboard box. Three days later, I had it popped open (no assembly required) on my desk.

Freelance people, start-up people, poor people, standing-phobes — this contraption is it. The box only weighs 2 pounds, but holds up to 60. My laptop (or monitor, if I’m feeling dangerous) sits on the top shelf where it’s totally eye level, while my keyboard and mouse stay on the lower shelf, right in line with that perfectly ergonomic 90-degree arm bend. (I’m five-eight, but this might get awkward for anyone under five feet.) To be clear, I don’t use it all day, or every day, because I’m not some chair martyr, but I am now an occasional afternoon stander. When I’m feeling fatigued from hours in a seated position, I’ll pull out the Oristand from under my desk and pop it open: I start typing with purpose, smug in the knowledge that a few extra calories are coming off (at least 20 an hour) and my spine isn’t becoming perma-curved.

There’s no shame in a standing-box desk, but it does have its limitations — I imagine a big coffee spill would kill the fun pretty quickly, and I’d never buy it in stain-revealing white (like a good millennial, I eat avocado in between keyboard taps). But considering its price, it’s incredibly sturdy. If an accident-prone human like me has been using it for over a year, yours should look practically brand-new.

Update: The Oristand is so popular that it’s all sold out! Until it’s back in stock, try the very similar and well-reviewed Ergodriven Spark, which comes in three different sizes depending on your height and is only $25.

For those times when you are sitting, plop the BackJoy SitSmart Posture Plus onto any seat to lift your tailbone up over your butt.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best comforters, bath towels, bed sheets (twice), pillows for side sleepers, weird kneeling chair, and sleep accessories. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

This $39 Cardboard Box Turns Any Desk Into a Standing Desk