Do you have a maze of wires behind your television? How about a rats nest of cables near your computer? Cutting down on cable clutter is easy and a quick way to make your home look much nicer.
There are some simple ways to clean these areas up and make your home a little bit more organized. Another upside of doing this is that you can protect animals - some cats and dogs are known to chew on cables; this can shock them resulting in serious harm or even death.
The quickest way to get rid of cable clutter is to follow these five steps:
- Turn off the electronics that the cables are attached to
- Untangle and straighten out each cable
- Plug back in one cable at a time, keeping cables going to the same general area parallel to each other
- Coil up any slack in an out of sight area (behind the desk, in a shelf on the TV stand, etc)
- Use zip ties, velcro wraps, or other fixture to keep the cables tied together.
The other option, as mentioned above, is a sleeve type of cable wrap that can help keep animals from chewing the cables. I haven't personally used these, but I have seen them used in friends houses to varying degrees of success. I have also seen them used in homes without animals as a way of hiding the cables and blending them in to the baseboards or carpet as the sleeves can be ordered in a variety of colors.
If you want to get fancy with your cable decluttering you can install some pegboard on the backs and undersides of you desks and TV stands, or other places where your cables congregate. You can then use the holes in the board to better attach and wind your cables. In the place of pegboard you can use velcro (with adhesive) to attach electronics or cables directly to your desk or stand or even use shelving racks as the holder and attachment point. There are some truly impressive desks out there with great cable management. Take a look at the underside of this desk!
Sometimes the cables need to be routed across furniture - there are cable ties that are meant just for this purpose. This way you can run cables in out of the way areas without resorting to pegboard or other "large" alternatives. These special cable ties usually look like the ones shown in the picture below. Fastening them is usually done with an already applied adhesive with a peel off backing, although there are some that are meant to be nailed or screwed into place.
Another great cable tie that I've recently come across is the Cable Drop. These are little "rounded circles" that allow for a power cable from things like cell phones, computers, and others to be pushed into place, but the opening is too small to allow the actual plug to slip through. This way you can use it to hold cables to the side or top of a desk (backside is "sticky" so you can put it where you want) in out of the way places and let the cable slip down to the plug so that you don't have a bunch of extra cable on your desk or table.
I used the these on my nightstand to organize and keep the cables to my phone and laptop out of the way - it just took a few seconds to set up and looks great - not to mention the frustration it saves me from compared to having to reach behind a nightstand to fish around for the right cable.
Computer Cable Management
Do your computer cables in need of some management? There are some tried and true methods to cleaning up a potential rat's nest of cables that tend to grow behind and to the side of everyone's computer desks.
Many of the steps are the same as general cable management, but there are some special steps that you can take with your computer area. Check out the tips and equipment below to get started.
Unplug all of your power supplies, USB cables, DVI cables, HDMI cables, and all of the other miscellaneous cables. Straighten them out and untwist them if they are coiled or snagged on each other.
Get rid of any unused power cords or cables that go to devices that you no longer use or own. I'm pretty sure we all have some of these...
Place your power strip in a central location. Instead of running some wires a short distance and some a long distance, try to position the power strip so that all of the various power cables go about the same distance.
Plug back in your cables to the correct devices but leave the ends unplugged and near the power supply. Combine cables from areas close to each other into a single larger strand as you go back to the power supply so that you end up with only one or two groups of cables going down your wall or desk to the power supply. If you want to get really organized you can mount your power supply on the side or underside of your desk with zip ties or screws to keep cables almost completely out of sight.
Plug back in the cables to the power supply and enjoy the cleaner computer area.
Looking for other cable management devices and clips? Check these out for more ideas.
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