Cables are wild, tangled messes if you let them do as they please. They can also be beautiful examples of organization, or even wall art, if you put in a little time and effort. If you’ve got a mess of cables that could use a little wrangling, here’s how you can get them under control this weekend.
Hide Them in Plain Sight
One of the coolest ways to organize cables is to hide them in plain sight. In essence, you’re displaying them outright but creating wall art so they’re not looked upon as a bunch of cords. For example, you could turn them into a flowering vine, an addition to existing furniture, or create a circuit-like pattern. You could really use them to draw just about anything if you have the patience and take the time. If you’d rather hide them entirely, however, you can also pick up some flatwire, mount it to the wall, and just paint over it.
Use a Catch-All Method
Most cable clutter exists under your desk, and you need a way to keep them in order otherwise you end up with a tangled mess that is nothing but a pain to deal with. Cablox is a clever system that just adheres to the underside of your desktop and provides a grid with which you can attach cables to keep them easily organized. A rain gutter is also a clever DIY solution that can just catch everything. IKEA also has the SIGNUM series of cable management tools that are very inexpensive and easy to use—especially if you’ve got an IKEA desk. They’re all great solutions, so whatever you prefer will get the job done nicely.
Shorten Cables to the Right Length and Keep Them in Place
Cables are often problematic because of their length. If they were only just as long as you needed and they’d stay put, they wouldn’t be such a problem. If these are your issues, there are plenty of ways to keep your cables in place and make sure they’re the length you want them.
If you want to go the product route, there are lots of options. Cordlets stick on to most surfaces to hold cables in place and shorten them at the same time. Apple Cores and cable drops are good options as well.
If you want to go the DIY route, there are lots of options. Binder clips can help keep cables in place and are super cheap. Add a magnet and you’ve got easy access to the cables that aren’t always connected to something. This dead simple wrapping techinque is a great way to shorten your cables, too. Of course, if you can just use really short cables you can just buy some.
Keep Your Cables Labeled and Organized
No matter how organized you are, it’s hard to tell which cables are which if they’re not adequately marked. This doesn’t have to be terrible complicated, though, as there are plenty of cheap ways to label them. One example is using pencil toppers. Another is simply tying different colored strings around them. ID Pilot Labels are a more traditional route. Bread tags, milk tags, and metallic sharpies also get the job done just fine. So long as you know what you’re unplugging, you’re good to go.
Avoid Tangles Altogether
While it’s impossible to avoid a mess of cables without a little work, you can make cables much less likely to tangle with one little adjustment: wrap them like a friendship bracelet. This involves a bit of time and effort, but it can be a relaxing task you can accomplish while watching television or, say, listening to a podcast. It works because it makes the cables a bit more rigid. You’ll still be able to wrap them, but they’ll be more averse to twirling themselves into awkward, tangled positions. As a result, you won’t have as much of a mess and you will have a colorful alternative to the otherwise boring look of most cables. Additionally, you can use this method to color-code them for easier identification.
Got any other great cable management tips or tricks that have worked well for you? Share ‘em in the comments. And have a great weekend!