Cords can create clutter. One of these days, we may have wireless electricity, but until then, we need to find solutions to keep our cables in some sort of order.
This list contains a mix of easy, do-it-yourself cord solutions as well as products to help with the task of wrangling your cables.
One problem with cords is that, left to their own devices, they’ll flow in any old direction. Cordlets attach to your wall or desk, and allow you to control the flow of your cords. Have your USB cables go from the outlet to your desk to charge your phone, or directly from your computer to an attached drive or other device.
Some things just lend themselves to a variety of uses, and cardboard toilet paper roll tubes are a perfect example. If you’re putting cords away in a drawer or box, you can loop them, and then put cords of the same type into a toilet paper roll, which will hold them together. You can also label each roll with a Sharpie so you know what each type of cord is for.
When done charging your phone or camera, how do you contain the charging cords? One way is to unplug them and put them in a nearby drawer, so they don’t take up room on your desk or a counter, but then they can get tangled up with other charging cables. One nice solution are cord keeps. These consist of a portion that fits over the back of the plug, and another for wrapping up the cord. This solution puts the cable into a nice bundle that you can easily unwrap the next time you need to use it.
In the cheap life-hacks category we have bread tags, those flat, plastic devices that keep bags of bread closed. It’s easy to repurpose these to label your cords. Attach one to a cord, and in Sharpie, note what it goes to. You can also keep two cords together using this method. Note, however, that bread tags can come off cords easily, so this may not be a long-term solution.
There are several ways you can create a charging station yourself. You’ll need a power strip and a box approximately the size of a shoe box. A ribbon box, with existing holes, works well. Place your power strip in the box, and feed the cord through the first hole. Then, plug the cables for your various devices into the power strip, and feed their cords through the other holes. Use the Washi Tape suggestion below to label each cord. Put the lid back on the box, and set it on a counter. You can then plug the power strip into the wall and plug your devices in, using their own cables.
Another frustrating aspect of managing your cords is when you’re not sure which cord goes to which device. A simple solution is to use Washi Tape. Just like with bread tags, you’ll attach one to a cord and use a Sharpie to write an abbreviated not about what the cord is for. Another cheap way to accomplish the same thing is by using masking tape.
These rubber devices will attach to the wall or your desk, like some others, and will keep several cords easily accessible in one place. You can also use cordies to keep them in a line between your computer and a hub.
Most of these have been best for lean, USB-type cables. Powercurl is a product that works great for thicker cords, like the power cord to your computer or laptop. Essentially, powercurl makes it easy to wrap the excess length of a cord in a circle, and place it just out of the way.
We hope this helps you get your cables sorted, and helps keep your work productive.