According to surveys, 30 year ago the average American owned between one and two electronic devices. Today, it’s closer to 24 electronic devices each. And each of these devices comes with a set of cable and cords. Computers have chargers. Phones have USB cables and headphones. Video games systems have controllers and ethernet cables.
If you’re like most people, your life is held together by cables.Now take into account that there are usually several people sharing one office space and you’ve probably got a nice mess and tangle of wires and cables. With all the cables and cords that come along with the technology in our lives, we need to find some ways to neatly deal with them.
The first step in dealing with any type of clutter is to simplify what you already have. Take a good look at the cables you have in place and what each one connect to. Often once you start paying attention to what you have, you can find ways to eliminate some of them. Maybe you have something plugged in or connected that only needs to be ten percent of the time. Having less clutter might be worth having to pull out that one piece of equipment when you need it instead of having it already plugged in.
Maybe you can combine some items to help simplify your cable problems. For example, if you have your mobile phone charger and your computer charger plugged into the same outlet, consider using the USB cable to connect your phone to your computer. Both will be still charging but there will be less clutter around the outlet.
Move Your Plugs
If your issue is just that the cords are getting tangled or don’t look good in your power strip, consider using products that move your outlets into more convenient configurations. For example, you can use a circular power strip instead of the traditional bar shaped one. There are also square shaped power strips that can accomplish the same thing. This works best when your equipment is clustered together because the cords can each reach the power strip without tangling together.
You can try theKensington SmartSockets K62634 6-Outlets Surge Suppressor. It’s one of the more expensive options, running between $40 and $80 from various sources. But it’s also color coded, making it easier to remember what was plugged in where. No more unplugging and waiting to see what turns off.
Manage Your Cords
Another tactic you could try is keeping your cords from moving so much. This is best if you find your cords tangled away from the source of power. It’s also better for equipment that doesn’t move as opposed to items like laptops or phone chargers. Use products like cable ties to secure the cords to items like desk legs to keep them out of the way and in a straight line. You can go simple with plastic zip ties you can find in any hardware or electronics store. Or you can get a little fancier and use the something like Trip Lite’s Hook and Look 10 pack, which are basically cloth straps with velcro to secure them. The velcro makes them reusable over and over again.
Another cord management option are cable holders. These little plastic cable holders sit on your desk or a similar surface, waiting for you to snap the end of a cord into the holder. These products help you keep track of cables when not in use. They’re more suited for items you may not be using right now but you need kept within arm’s reach, such as your computer charging cable. For about $10 you can buy a large package of Blue Lounge Cable Drops, preventing you from having to search for it if cords if they fall to the floor.
Hide Your Cords
Let’s say your cable cords aren’t tangled and they aren’t in the way. They’re just ugly and you’re tired of looking at them. In that case, you should try cable covers. These plastic sleeves slide over a single or bundle of cables to hide them. Cable covers also protect cords from damage, preventing them from being stepped on or rubbing together. You’re less likely to trip over them, too. Try the Wiremold’s Racewaycover series. You can buy them in various widths and colors.
If you have cords longer than you need, you can use a wire caddy or wire winder to hide them. Essentially, you just wrap any extra cable along the prongs or groove and then leave them in place. You can choose a single loom or one that hosts multiple cables. Lovely Round Candy Shape Soft Cord Cable Winders have a few different colors and sizes so you can use them with different types of cables.
Give Your Cords Some Kitsch
Maybe your cable problems aren’t necessarily about managing them or hiding them. Maybe you’re okay with the way it all looks but you’re like a little something unexpected to brighten up your office. This is where a little kitsch comes in.
Office supply companies make cable ties that add a little bit of whimsy and style to your cords while managing them, too. The idea is to play up your cables with something a little different instead of trying to hide them. You could bind groups of cables together with a Cable Monkey Cable Organizer from Think Geek. Leaf Ties, cable ties that have little green leaves on them, make your cords look a little plants.
In a world that runs on battery power and available electrical outlets, you’re not getting away from cables and cords in your life. But now that you know what you can do to deal with the cable clutter in your life, it should be a little easier to get to work in your office space.