Top 5 tips for cable management

Organizing cables and cords can be tricky business. Tom Merritt suggests five tips for managing those pesky cables.

Cables, ugh! They bunch up like ramen noodles under your desk or behind your desk on the floor. I know many of you have your own special ways of dealing--or not dealing--with cables. Please indulge me, and check out these five tips for cable management.

  1. Tie them up: Simple zip ties can keep cords together so they don't splay out into spaghetti. Velcro zip ties are handy if you move cords a lot and need to move the ties. A lot of people swear by millipede ties, which are also reusable and stronger than velcro.
  2. Labeling: When you look at your power strip, you may be able to remember which wall port goes with which device, but a lot of black plugs look the same--label them so you don't have to trace it back. Same thing goes for HDMI cables going into a TV.
  3. Hide those cables: You can wrap them in foam insulation or a paper towel tube. You can use old shoe boxes or photo boxes with some cutouts to bundle all the cables together out of sight. Or you can even use a wire basket. 
  4. Binder clips: This is a good one for those cables you have to unplug and leave on your desk. Instead of hoping they don't fall behind your desk, attach a binder clip to the edge of your desk and run the cable through one of the wire parts you use to squeeze the clip.
  5. Wireless: As Wi-Fi and Bluetooth get better and better, you may be able to replace some of those wires altogether. This one won't work for everything, but it's becoming a viable replacement for cabled equipment all the time, so it might be worth reevaluating.

Spaghetti is for eating, not what you want your wires to look like. I hope you found these tips out of sight--like your cables!

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Frustrated man trying to figure out computer cables

Image: iStockphoto/XiXinXing