If you looked under your desk and finally got fed up with the mess of cables underneath, here’s how to organize that mess and get your cables under control.
Most of the time, you probably don’t care how all of your cables look in the first place. After all, they’re hidden under your desk where no one will see them anyway. But the moment you need to unplug something, you finally realize just what kind of chaos lives down there. Thankfully, you can do something about it—all it takes is a little bit of time and attention.
Step One: Unplug Everything
It’s best to start from scratch, which means unplugging everything from the power strip and separating all the cables.
You can stop right there if you want to, but you can also unplug everything from the other end and completely throw all the cables off to the side for a completely clean slate. This makes things a bit easier, but it’s not absolutely necessary.
Step Two: Mount the Power Strip to the Desk or Wall
Perhaps the most important step is finding the best place to mount the power strip, because all of your cables will converge to that one point.
Since I have a standing desk that can move up and down, the best place to mount the power strip is on the underside of the desk, that way it’s mostly hidden and it moves with the desk whenever I switch it to standing or sitting mode. This also allows all of the cables to remain static whenever I adjust the desk’s height.
However, my desk surface is only about an inch thick. If yours is the same, you’ll want to make sure to use short screws that won’t pierce through, as well as use a piece of tape on the drill bit so that you don’t drill all the way through the desk surface when drilling the pilot holes.
However, if you have a regular desk, you could just mount it to the wall. The goal here is to get the power strip off of the floor and into a more ideal location so that all of your cables aren’t dangling all the way down to the floor.
As for actually mounting the power strip, most (if not all) units have holes on the back where you can slide screw heads into them to secure them to a surface.
To mount it, you would simply measure the distance between the holes, copy that to the desk or wall surface, and drive in screws, leaving them sticking out just a bit so that you can slide the power strip on.
After that, line up the power strip’s holes with the screws and slide it in place. If it’s still pretty lose, tighten the screws down a bit until you finally get a snug fit from your power strip.
Step Three: Wrap Cables Up and Plug Them In
Next, you’ll want to shorten all of the cables as much as you can so that they’re not dangling and causing an unsightly mess. There are a couple of ways to do this.
You can either use velcro straps (like the ones pictured above) or zip ties. Zip ties are easier and quicker to work with, but they’re also more permanent. You have to cut them off and use another one if you ever want to change things around in the future.
To shorten cables, you can be as neat with it as you want, either bunching up the excess and wrapping a tie around it, or carefully looping the cables and then securing them, as shown above.
Either way, the goal here is to consolidate all of the excess cable that’s hanging down and hide it the best you can.
Step Four: Label Each Cable (Optional)
If you find yourself constantly unplugging and plugging things into your power strip, it might be a good idea to label each cable so that you don’t have to trace them all back every time.
To do this, I like to use masking tape and wrap it around the cable to create a tag of sorts. From there, take your favorite Sharpie and write on the tag what the cable goes to.
Again, this step is optional, but it could save you some headache in the future.
Use a System That Works For You
In the end, there’s not one single system that works for everyone, mostly because every desk setup is different and each person has their own definition of what’s organized.
For instance, you could just get one of these cable management under-desk trays and throw everything on that to hide your cable mess, and it would ultimately be quicker and easier. However, if you don’t like tangled cords period, then you might want to take some extra time to separate everything and create clear paths for each cable.
Overall, don’t be shy to use this guide as a starting point and modify it to fit your own situation. What worked for me may not work for someone else, and vice versa.
Last Updated: September 9, 2019 References
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If messy cables and cords are driving you nuts, fret not! You can easily organize your cords to sort them for short or long-term storage. Changing your organizational system will make it easy to find and identify your cords in the future. There are also plenty of options when it comes to hiding cords that you’re using. Organizer cubes and cord concealers can hide unsightly messes while a simple binder clip can keep your charger from falling off of the table. With a few simple steps, you’ll have that jumbled mess of cords sorted in no time!
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Tip: If you’re building your own organizer box, consider using a shoe box for power strips and a small moving box for larger collections of excess cords.
This level of organization will melt your stress away.
Our friend Marie Kondo has taught us that we should only keep things that #sparkjoy — and I’m sure that your annoying headphone wires that always get tangled don’t exactly scream “joy.”
But don’t toss those headphones just yet! Kondo also taught us that everything can be easily maintained as along as every item has its own home. That means those jumbled mess of wires, whether they’re attached to headphones or stuffed behind your TV, should all have homes to stay nice and neat (and save your sanity).
These 15 cord management products will keep your wires neat and make you feel a little more zen every day. And couldn’t we all use that?
Best for: Headphone wires
There’s a reason this gear tie was our top selling stocking stuffer during the holidays: It’s pretty much indestructible thanks to its bendable design and rubber exterior. It can be twisted, tied, reused and it’s water-resistant.
Best for: USB management
Flower power indeed! This adorable charging station comes with four USB ports so you can charge all of your tech at the same time (and do it in style).
Best for: Office use
This compact mini station tidies up all the loose cords on your desk. Its brilliant design keeps cords snugly tucked in so they won’t slide onto the ground when unplugged.
If you are looking for sleek lines and tidy rooms, there is nothing worse than a pile of cables that you need, but look extremely unorganized and sometimes they look a mess!
Don’t worry, there are some simple solutions that you can try to tackle those unsightly cables!
You can Organize the Wires around Your Computer!
I have to be honest, nothing makes me crazier than working in my home office and having a tangle of cables around my desk! Recently I was sliding my chair back from my desk and realized my foot had caught a wire in the massive web of computer wires I had shoved where nobody (me!) could see them – and I managed to violently unplug things. I spend two hours untangling the mess so it never happened gain.
So this is a post that HAD to be written and shared.
Controlling the Cable Clutter
Don’t think that having a pile of cables is something you have to live with, you can contain the wires and make the space under your desk an organized and cable free space!
Before you Start Unplugging Cables
Label those cables.
Don’t wait until you are trying to put them back, label them before you unplug them.
This will help reduce the stress when you are trying to work out which cable goes where!
Reduce the Cable Clutter
The simplest way to reduce the cables you have is to invest in a wireless keyboard and mouse!
This can reduce the cables that you see on your desk, the ones that get caught and can restrict your movement! Removing these and going wireless will remove two cables, but these are the most annoying cables!
Reduce the Cables you can see
If you have a pile of cables under your desk, one for your computer, printer and any other gadget that you use, it can look untidy.
Remove any unnecessary plugs and equipment that you don’t need or use, this will save power too!
If your printer is Wi-Fi, then relocating this to another area is a great idea especially if you are limited on space around your computer.
The easiest way to organize your cables is with cable ties, looping the excess cable so it is out of the way and securing the cable.
However, you will still see the cables.
Moving the Location of the Socket
This sounds drastic, don’t move your socket in the wall but your extension lead.
Locating the extension lead onto the back of your desk will hide the visible cables.
Make sure that you fix it carefully to the back of your desk, you don’t want it to fall off!
Heading Inside your Desk
If you have space inside your desk, converting a cabinet with lots of air flow or a small shelf to hold your power supply and any cables is a great idea.
Just don’t overfill the space as you need to ensure that you don’t cover the power sockets, some connections can get hot and we don’t want any fire hazards!
Following the Line of the Desk
If you want a sleek look and you never intend to move the cables, sticking them to the back of your desk, following the shape of your desk so no cable is visible, is an option.
This is a risk if you ever want to move an item.
A less permeant method would be using Velcro, or a hook, this method would allow you to move the wires if you needed to in the future!
What is your best tip for organizing wires around your computer?
Need more organizing ideas? Check out How to Organize Your Home Office.
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About Cynthia Rusincovitch
Cynthia is a writer, photographer, and recipe developer. She was in corporate marketing for 15 years before leaving it to focus on family. She started blogging as a way to nourish the desire to work while balancing the joys and duties that come with having more kids than hands. She is married to an aerospace engineer who likes to man the grill and has 3 daughters – a teenager and two toddlers. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and Pinterest.
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I bet you own a few cords. You might have so many cords that they burst out behind your TV stand or below your desk. Play video games for any length of time and you’ll acquire all sorts of cords you don’t know what to do with. For just a few bucks you can rein that mess in though and make some sense of the cyberpunk sprawl lurking behind your TV or monitor.
There’s a lot of stuff that’s out of our control: stock markets, the weather, a pet cat’s claws. Messy cords aren’t one of them though. It’s a choice, and one you aren’t stuck with. More importantly, tidying things up will make it easier to sit down and enjoy your favorite games without being distracted by the black spaghetti spraying out from behind the TV at weird angles.
Everyone’s gaming setup is different. Some people house everything in a TV stand in their living room. Other’s have an auxiliary setup in their basement or bedroom exclusively for gaming. And then there are the sophisticated types who manage everything from a PC setup in their home office. Personally, I utilize all three, but the principles and tricks for managing the cords involved in each are similar enough.
Keep stuff close together.
Every console comes with both a power cord and HDMI output. An ethernet cord makes three if you’re really serious about your multiplayer ping and download speeds. If at all possible, it’s best for organizational purposes to have both consoles as close to one another and or the cable box and modem as possible. That’s because the goal of all this is always going to be to bundle your cords together. Having everything scattered to the far corners of your media cabinet or TV stand makes that practically impossible.
Run power cords down and HDMI up.
The power cords should all be going down to a power strip on the floor (it’s both energy efficient and helps protect against power surges), preferably one encased in a small, weighted box so you don’t have to look at it. I use a Bluelounge Cable with the lid taped down and that works well enough while a company called DMoose makes something similar with faux-wood look. The HDMI cords should all be headed in the same direction up to the TV, either directly in or into a minimal latency passthrough box. If your power outlet is in the ceiling or something weird, you’ll obviously have to improvise, but either way the idea should be to limit all the outgoing cords into no more than two bundles.
Relieve the stress with accessories.
Cords are bundles of metal and plastic which have a tendency to get twisted and contorted over time. Do yourself a favor and try to take the stress off of them by not bending or forcing them into unnatural positions. Power cords are usually pretty heavy duty these days, but HDMI cords are often still rather flimsy. One of the easiest ways to help them last is by getting either and HDMI passthrough box so you only have one cord that’s actually going into the TV. The Kinivo 501BN is a good utilitarian option at around $40. The small box can take up to five HDMI connections with one output at 1080p and automatic switching to whatever device is turned on. However, depending on the speed of your HDMI cords and whether you have a 4K TV or not, something else might be called for, so it’s always prudent to ask around first at a place like AVForums .
Another simpler option is to buy angled adapters that let you plug your HDMI cords into connector that’s facing the same direction, rather than perpendicular as most TVs are. Monoprice makes HDMI port adapters of every imaginable permutation and they’re all under $2. This lets you avoid having the cord buckle out as it bends back down making it easier to keep your bundle of wires clean and taught.
Zip tie everything.
With everything in place, you’ll want to zip tie it all together. Feel free to use velcro if you prefer, although I prefer zip ties because they’re both cheap, hard to see, and easy enough to replace if you decide you need to move or reconfigure something later. I like to use a zip tie every four to six inches, which might seem excessive but when it keeps everything tight and snug it feels worth it. The goal after all is to consolidate the profile of every cord in the bundle. I start zip tying everything as close to the inputs on the consoles as possible and then as often as necessary to wherever they’re going.
Find stuff to hide your cords behind.
In most circumstances having only one main set of wires running vertically behind your TV stand or media cabinet will be improvement enough. From there you can always knock some small picture-hanging nails into the back of your stand if it’s made out of wood and use them to guide the bundle of wires so they’re hidden behind shelves. If the back of your stand or cabinet has a solid backing, you’re already golden. In the case of a PC setup, this same logic works for the back of the desk legs or drawers. You can use adhesive-backed velcro for instance to tie up the bundle of wires running from the consoles or monitors on your desk down to where the PC is. If you’re monitor stand is negotiable, however, you’d probably be even better served by picking up a monitor stand that doubles as a cable management box. You’ll lose a little desk real estate but will create a nice hidden alley for your cords to run along before going down the side of the desk closes to the PC tower.
Decide on a dedicated charging station.
As someone with two phones, a tablet, and laptop, and a bunch of handhelds, charging stuff ad hoc just isn’t feasible anymore. Selecting a spot to install another nondescript power strip and have all your AC adapters ready to go is straightforward enough, but what will really help make it feel clean and orderly is a nice weighted cable holder to sit atop your chosen charging perch. This way you don’t have to worry about cords getting tangled or fumbling around with your precious electronics attached. A dedicated charging station, beyond letting you know everything’s always in the same spot, will also help clear up room in your already cluttered media cabinet. I’ve tolerated an ugly micro USB hanging off my PS4 into the room for far too long. At the very least I recommend spending the extra coin and picking up some nice charging docks to cut down on cords.
Throw that extra stuff in containers.
Between old component cables, extra HDMI cords, micro USBs, mini USBs, and now USB-c, I’m sure you have a bunch of stuff that you don’t actually ever use but are worried you might at some point. It’s time to make a final decision on this stuff: either throw it out or organize it in some nice plastic containers. I have a few I ordered from The Container Store, a place that continually ignites my aspirations toward a more organized life the same way someone who’s never managed to run for two weeks straight before still has a really nice pair of jogging shoes. Their small, stackable see-through drawers are a less than $10 each and four of them labeled should be enough to house all of your cord overflow in an inconspicuous utility closet, or even under the bed.
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I am not a neat person. You need only to see my desk to realize that. However, when it comes to my PC case, I keep the cables organized.
There are some good reasons to do that–and they have nothing to do with neatness. If you buy a new computer, especially an expensive powerhouse PC built for gaming or heavy-duty editing, one thing you notice is how neatly the interior is organized. Often, PC builders carefully route the cables along the case edges in tight bundles, making them almost invisible.
When you’re tinkering with a PC, organizing the cables is a good habit to get into, for plenty of practical reasons.
- You’re ensuring that stray wires or cables don’t touch the fans, which would produce teeth-clenching noise and increase the heat around critical components. (Fans can also burn out this way.)
- You can improve airflow throughout the case, so that the entire system remains cool and stable.
- Good cable organization allows you to find the wire or cable you need when you have to unwind them to change out a component.
So here are some guidelines for organizing the cable clutter inside your PC. Rather than give abstract rules of thumb, I’ll walk through an example, and offer ideas and suggestions along the way.
Taking Inventory of Your Components
For this cable-routing project, I’ll start with a fairly modern PC case. This is the Fractal Designs Define R3, a midsize-tower chassis designed to house a quiet high-performance PC.
The Fractal Designs Define R3 offers modern amenities, but it isn’t particularly wide or deep.
Although this case offers modern amenities such as a cutout behind the motherboard CPU socket to make mounting exotic coolers easier, it isn’t excessively wide or deep. I’m going to build in a high-end graphics card, but with a case like this I can’t fit one of those foot-long Radeon HD 6990 cards. The interior space is only a little roomier than that of the typical midsize-tower case, which affords me the opportunity to show you how to declutter cables inside an average case.
Most new performance-PC cases, such as this one, allow the routing of cables behind the motherboard tray. That’s your key to cable-clutter happiness, and you should take full advantage of it. On the other hand, the R3 doesn’t have the extra width of something like the Coolermaster HAF 932 or Corsair 600T, so you can’t just run bulky cable sets behind your motherboard willy-nilly–you’d never get the case side back on.
Of course, building a PC requires collecting a set of PC components. I’m going to transplant an existing system based on an Intel DX58SO2 motherboard and a Core i7-970 processor. Just so no one accuses me of cheating, I won’t use a modular power supply. The Corsair TX850w unit has all its cables permanently connected, including two full runs of SATA power and four PCI Express power cables. As you can see, everything makes for quite a pile of parts.
That’s quite a mess. I sure hope I can organize this.
The CPU cooler is a Corsair H70, which is a sealed liquid cooler with two 120mm fans. While it moves clutter away from the CPU socket, it adds clutter to the back of the case, which creates challenges of its own.
Now that I’ve defined the project, let’s go over some rules of thumb.
Check Your Connectors
Before installing components, spend some time doing a connector inventory. That way, you’ll have a better idea of how many cables and wires need to be routed. My particular system has the following pieces.
- One nonmodular power supply (with several excess power connectors)
- One high-end graphics card, requiring two PCI Express power connectors
- Three hard drives, for a total of three SATA power connectors and three SATA data cables
- The motherboard, with associated power, reset, power LED, audio, eSATA, and USB connections; also needs a main power connection from the power supply as well as the eight-pin ATX12V auxiliary power connection
- One optical drive, with a SATA data cable and power connector
- The sealed liquid cooler, which needs two fan connections on the motherboard for power
- One front case fan, which also requires a motherboard case fan connector
At this point, you should take stock and figure out what you need to install first. Typically you’ll want to install the power supply, storage devices, and motherboard right away. After that, it’s time to stop adding components and route power cables to the motherboard. That advice particularly holds for the eight-pin ATX12V connector I’m using; if you make the mistake of installing the liquid cooler radiator first, it will be impossible to install the ATX12V connection.
Now that I understand what needs to be routed, it’s time to string some cables. But wait–since I’m going to organize the cables, I need some gizmos to tie the cables back. Thankfully, plenty of good options are available for tying down cables.
I refuse to use zip ties. Period.
Personally, I use everything from rubber bands to twist ties to Velcro straps to nylon buckle ties. But I do not use zip ties–ever. A few years ago, I unpacked a system in which the builder had obsessively dressed the interior cables with zip ties, every 3 or 4 inches. Tracing any individual cable or wire required half an hour of carefully cutting zip ties to avoid slicing actual power or data cable. As cautious as I was trying to be, I accidentally cut a wire connected to a four-pin Molex power plug.
Luckily, the power supply had a few spares. But it was still annoying, and that’s why I recommend you avoid zip ties for organizing your cables. In any system where you might change components out at will, using something as permanent and hard to remove as zip ties is simply not practical. You can find a host of other, more ergonomic and user-friendly tie-down methods. After all, you’re not handcuffing your PC for transport to jail–you’re working inside the machine.
Next page: Find Your Route, and Tie Down Your Cables
We’ve covered some clever ways to hide ugly wires in your home, but what can you do with cables, cords and wires that you use more frequently? We’ve all experienced the heart sinking feeling when we see that the cord we need is in a tangled web of other cords in your drawers, your purse, or your luggage when you’re traveling. And we’ve all spent countless ours trying to free said cords from the mess all the while vowing that we will never again allow the cords to become this tangled, only to find ourselves in the same predicament a month (or so) later. But what can you do? You can’t very well just throw them all away, these are power cables essential to the life of you electronic devices after after all. But if you have to look at that jumbled mess one more time, you’re going to lose it right? Well, you can relax because we have found 15 ways to help organize cables and wires that will help you keep you “never again” vow, and you sanity.
DIY Cord Organization Ideas
Save your toilet paper rolls! Slip a cord into each one to keep them separate from the others in storage.
Label cords at both ends so you’ll always know what you’re unplugging. And here are more office organization tips you should check out!
via Apartment Therapy
If you don’t keep bread ties around, use the label maker to create labels for both ends of the cords. I’ll use any excuse to break out my label maker!
No label maker? No problem! Washi tape and markers works just fine.
via Dabbles and Babbles
If you’re the crafty type, make your own cable cozy to keep the cords and cables to all your devices.
via Live It Love It Make It
Keep Wires and Cords Organized
This leather cord roll is a simple and stylish option if sewing isn’t your thing.
Use a clothespin to keep everyone’s earbuds separated. Cover the clothespins with washi tape so you’ll know which earbuds belong to which person if they’re all the same color. (See more clothespin hacks and electronics organization tips!)
via Life Love Liz
via Blue I Style
Ribbon twist ties are functional and pretty!
via Agus Yornet
How to Organize Wires
When you’re traveling, keep chargers and earbuds in an old sunglasses case so they don’t get tangled in your purse or luggage. Genius idea from PinterestingStuff!
DIY cord keepers are another excellent option for travel.
via Leafy Treetop
Use old wine corks to make your own cord ties. They’re super simple. (Check out even more wine cork projects!)
via The Kim Six Fix
If your cable stash is large, ziploc baggies and plastic bins are the easiest way to corral those cords.
via Apartment Therapy
This isn’t an organization tip so much as an amazingly fun way to keep your cables in place — use Lego figures!
via A Designer Life
Heavy cords require a heavy duty solution. Create hangers for them out of PVC piping. The garage is a great place to store them.
via Family Handyman
See, a solution for every cord entanglement problem. No matter the room, no matter the container, you can end the tangled cord battle forever (as long as you replace the organizing device when done with the cord.) Have a tip for organizing cables and wires? Share it on our Facebook page!
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While technology has carved out an important place for itself in most people’s lives, its physical space in your apartment or house is likely not as wonderful. Knowing how to organize home electronics in a way that’s not a complete eyesore is a challenge вЂ” especially if you’re strapped for space. After all, messy electronics clutter at home seems to grow twice as fast as your actual gadget count, am I right?
One of the best ways to organize tech stuff and electronics is consolidating your gear. Bundle like wires together, and keep all your smaller gadgets that need constant power boosts at the same charging station. (If you’re in the family room one night and reading in bed another, double up on stations.) It’s worth it to always know where to find your gadgets, and not getting frustrated by wayward tech clutter around your home is just a bonus. Organize your household gadgets better by having a place for all your items вЂ” and most importantly, sticking to it. Straighten up your wires, cords, and electronics just once, and then the rest is just maintenance.
Ahead, nine awesome tips for organizing electronics at home вЂ” and the brilliant gadgets that will make the process incredibly easy.
Utilize An Organized Home Base Charging Station (And Stick To It)
If you don’t want that frantic “Where’s my phone?” feeling every morning before work, have a home base for smaller electronics. Because you’ll want to place it somewhere that’s easily accessible by you and roommates, it’s worth it to level up to a sleeker design that won’t look bulky in your living room, kitchen, or other shared space. This charging station is constructed from durable (but lightweight) bamboo, which is outfitted with five USB ports for charging all your gear at once. One user said they can store their MacBook, iPad, iTouch, iPhone and watch, and another even said, “Now my nightstands look nice again and not like a spaghetti mess.”
Just Have A Few Gadgets? Cut Down Clutter With Streamlined Docking Station
If you’re just concerned about your phone and a few smaller gadgets, this minimalistic dock could be a great fit for you. The docking station has one high power USB charge port and three light powered ones, which makes them a better fit for overnight charging. The stand keeps wires hidden from sight, and because the gadgets face upward and out while stored, you can easily check them as needed for updates. Reviewers say the aluminum accent design looks sleek in any room, and that the weighted design feels sturdy and safe for their electronics.
(Psst! Already Lost Your Charge Cords? Store Extras At Charging Station)
When you already know your cords will grow legs and walk away, it’s absolutely worth it to keep extras on deck. Assign a few cables to your charging station, so you will always have a power boost when you need one.
Keep Headphones & Cords Right Where You Want Them
Whether your desk is spotless or sits squarely in the middle of tech clutter central, sometimes it’s the simplest things that make your day less stressful. When you can’t find your headphones or your USB cord is constantly getting shoved deep behind your monitor, it makes it hard to be efficient at work. This cable organizer is weighted to prevent slipping, and it makes sure your work space stays as neat as you need it to be. (Plus, you can snag a pair in black, green, turquoise, pink, and white, too.)
Prevent Wires From Taking Over Your Leg Space
It’s unbelievably annoying to have a bunch of wires criss-crossing over your legs beneath your desk, especially if they’re in the path of foot traffic or curious teething pets. This simple but genius set of four neoprene sleeves can be used wherever you’re experiencing cable takeover вЂ” the 20-inch long sleeves unzip for easy access to your wires, and about ten wires can be tucked within each sleeve comfortably. Users say these are simple to install and an instant fix for messy tech clutter.
Wrap Cords Around Corners With the Flexible Power Strip
Have tons of room for a bulky plastic rectangle under your desk? Didn’t think so. This genius bendy power cord lets you use the room you already have вЂ” no matter how tight of a corner you’re working with. One reviewer pointed out, “It bends in multiple shapes, which serves the purpose of allowing strangely shaped power packs to be plugged into it without covering other outlets.” (Plus, you can get it in black, green, pink, or white, too.)
Stop Charge Cords From Dropping to The Floor
If you’re regularly stooping over to retrieve dropped cords, you could definitely benefit from these drop clips sitting atop your workspace. Their adhesive sticker backs let you secure them wherever you need more cord organization, and the bright silicon material is available in red, green, or blue to match the rest of your desk accessories.
Keep All Tech Gear Organized On-the-Go
Whether you travel often with your favorite tech items or simply need to be able to move them from room to room, this tech gear organizer is an essential for not losing your smaller wires and gadgets. Because the waterproof nylon case offers padded, semi-flexible coverage, your cords won’t be bending into damaging shapes and directions. Twenty-nine elastic loops ensure everything has its place, from flash disks and hard drives to phones and charging cords.
Color Code Tangle-Prone Wires With Reusable, Durable Rubber Ties
If you want to be able to easily tie up your cords in one place, rethink that generic rubber band that will likely snap after a few weeks. These durable rubber ties are one of the best sellers right now, and their flexible metal wire covered by bendy rubber makes them a smart pick for keeping your electronics organized in a colorful, easy-to-see way that won’t lose its shape as it maintains a firm grip over time. One pleased user said, “I purchased a number of solutions recently for tangled cables. I tried them all, and these are the best.”
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle’s editorial and sales departments.
Never tangle your earbuds, never lose your phone in a bag abyss, never scratch another screen when you know these organizational tricks for managing a bag of gear. Check out these seven bags and some tips for handling what goes into them.
A messy gear bag is like a twisted knife in the heart. I can’t bear to see expensive gadgets shoved haphazardly into an equally expensive bag. If you’ve spent all kinds of money to buy technology products that you love, why on earth would you let them get banged around, scratched, and crusted up with crumbs by tossing them willy nilly into your bag?
It doesn’t take much to keep your bag neat, and it doesn’t matter if you own a multi-compartment business laptop case or a simple two-pouch tote. Let me share some of my tips with you for keeping a highly organized tech bag—and be sure to check out the following pages for seven great bags and even more tips on how to keep your gadgets, wires, and accessories stored safely and neatly in virtually any bag. (You can find many more tips about how to be organized in my ebook “Get Organized: How to Clean Up Your Messy Digital Life” available via Ganxy and other ebook retailers.)
Removable Pouch vs Little Pockets
When I shop for a new bag, I prize simplicity. I prefer bags that don’t have too many compartments because I know I won’t use more than three of them: one that will hold my primary gadget (tablet, laptop, etc.) and a removable pouch (which I’ll explain in a moment), one for my smartphone, and one that changes based on my needs and is the smallest compartment in the bag. That last compartment might hold my keys or a transit card—items I need to access quickly.
Let me explain the pouch. I like to keep a removable pouch to hold all the loose odds and ends that I carry: bobby pins, paper clips, pens, lip balm, etc. These small items otherwise get lost in a bag, and I like being able to remove one single bag-within-a-bag and pull it out into the light of day to hunt through it. Sure, I could buy a bag with a zillion tiny compartments and use one for each of item in my conglomeration, but then I’d forget what went where and lose time searching every last pocket.
Incredulous at the notion that anyone would ever actually use those individual pen slots in some bags, I expressed my disbelief out loud, only to have a co-worker promptly open his bag and hand me two ballpoint pens and a Sharpie from said slots. Touché. To each his own. If you’re cool using all those slots, go for it.
Cord wraps make all the difference in bag organization. If you routinely carry earphones, chargers, and other wires, you need to explore your cord-wrap options—there are four shown in the following pages of this article. My favorite is a very simple and versatile one made by Velcro that costs about $3 for a set of five.
The Trash Pocket
Sometimes you’ll find yourself somewhere in public holding a used tissue or a chewed toothpick, or heaven forbid, a banana peel (it’s happened, I’m not kidding) and there isn’t a trash can in sight. This is the time to finally utilize one of your bag’s heretofore unused outer compartments. Many bags have them, designed to hold no more than a fistful of something, but who knows what. Answer: I know what. Trash. It helps to have some spare napkins or tissues on hand to wrap your garbage before stashing into your new secret trash pocket. The important thing is you’re not stowing your disgusting refuse next to your precious gadgets.
The following pages highlight seven great tech gear bags plus four cord-wrapping solutions, as well as additional tips for keeping your gadgets neatly and securely tucked away.