Corralling cables and cords

  • Article by: TRICIA ROMANO , McClatchy News Service
  • Updated: December 8, 2012 - 1:23 PM

How to tame the mess of electronic cords.

If you're a minimalist -- or just neat and tidy -- cables undoubtedly drive you crazy. And with today's hodgepodge of must-have electronics, cord clutter is worse than ever. At any given time, you have a printer, USB hub and power cord hanging out on your desk. If you have an external monitor, there's a cable for that, too. Your TV probably has a host of gadgets attached to it, from a cable box or DVR to a Wii or Xbox. And when one of these devices goes haywire and you need to unplug it to troubleshoot the problem, well, say goodbye to the next hour or three. Thankfully there are ways to tame this wild jungle of black and white cords: Label them

Wouldn't it be nice if electronic devices had different-colored cords? You know, the DVR would be blue, the TV would be black and the stereo would be red? Of course, this will never happen, but you can color-code your wires so that you know what's what when you dive in to unplug. The Kangaroom Colored Cable Tags ($1.95 for a 10-pack) from All4Cellular.com will help you keep track. Put the colored tag of your choice on a wire, and stick one of the preprinted labels like "Modem" on the tag. Now you'll have a better idea which black plug goes to which black box.

Corral them

If you want to take control of the cords by putting them in the same place, clip them. You can do this in the most basic and least fancy way possible by using a huge binder clip. Or, if the cables are meant to be seen, you can opt for the adorable, brightly colored CableDrop Cable Clips ($9.99), which keep the smaller cables, such as those for your USB connections, in a findable spot on your desk. Available at www.thinkgeek.com, these clips are stick-on, so you don't have to permanently attach them to anything.

If you're organizing your kid's room, use something cute to control the wires. The Animal Utility Clips Kit ($14.50 for 29 pieces) from CableOrganizer.com includes a range of designs, from Wishbone the Chicken and Fuzzy the Bear to Squiggle the Pig and Bamboo the Panda.

Hide them

Chances are, your wall socket is a bazillion miles away from your desk, which means you have a lot of cables traveling a long distance. The stick-on Wiremold CordMate Computer and Home Entertainment Cord Cover ($20.19) hides them under a fake baseboard molding that travels along the bottom of your wall. Available on Amazon, the cover fits just above the real baseboard and can hide a small collection of wires under the white surface, which can be painted to match your wall.

If you don't have a never-ending jumble of cables -- just a short desk-to-wall tangle -- you can opt for a NeatLinks cord collector ($20-$24) from Humanscale (www.humanscale.com). It comes in a range of lengths and colors, from the small 17-inch link to the large 24-inch link in black and gray. NeatLinks will corral those cords into a simple tubular structure that gets hooked to the back or underside of your desk.

Show them off

Sometimes, you just have to join 'em to beat 'em. If those cords must be seen, present them in a cool way. Bluelounge (www.bluelounge.com) has the CableBox and the CableBox Mini ($29.95 for both sizes) designed for this very purpose. They are small, brightly colored plastic boxes (choose from black, white, blue, green, orange, pink and yellow) to contain your extension and power cords. Now the cable mess is sort of gone and completely cute-looking.

Tricia Romano writes for for theinsider.retailmenot.com.

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