If you spend a lot of time at your computer, and I know you do, a wrist-rest is a must.

Especially during these winter months, when desks, tabletops, and other work surfaces tend to get chilly. Of course, a properly elevated wrist is also less likely to develop repetitive-stress problems.

You can buy a wrist-rest, sure, but why spend money when you can make your own using any number of household objects?

For example, I often work standing up at the bar-height section of our kitchen counter. It's made of granite, so it can get really cold.

My solution: a soft, smooth towel or washcloth, folded roughly to the size of a coaster. It provides not only cushion and elevation, but also insulation.

If you have an old mouse-pad lying around, you can cut it into quarters and stack two or three of the pieces for an equally cushy wrist-rest.

When I work at a coffee shop or some other public spot, I can accomplish roughly the same thing with a stack of napkins. It's not always the most comfortable solution, but it works.

Finally, if you're handy with a needle and thread, you can sew your own wrist-rest using any suitable scrap material and a handful of rice.

What the author of this tutorial neglected to mention is that you can microwave that rice bag for about a minute, then enjoy a wrist-rest that's actually warm. That, my friends, is my definition of awesome.

Have you put any other household items to use in support of your mouse hand? Share your MacGyver-style inventions in the comments.

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at [email protected], or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PCWorld Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.