Cable Management: Awesome Advice For The Mess Behind Your Desk

JUNE 2012: Do your computer cables look like a plate of spaghetti? Do you cringe when you have to figure out which connector goes into which port? Do you wonder why some cables are so long anyway?

Welcome to the club!

Here’s good news: there are super-easy ways to solve your back-of-the-desk mess. In fact, an entire industry segment is devoted to helping you out. Check out these awesome tips to keep your cables under control:

Tip 1. Label them: Fold a file label over the end that plugs into your computer. Write in ink. Or skip the label and write directly on the plug or cable with a silver Sharpie.

Tip 2. Group them: If you have a bunch of cables heading the same direction, get some split or spiral wrapping tubing to group them together. You don’t even have to unplug them. sells it by the foot.

Tip 3. Thin them out: Get rid of any cables you’re not using. Then label ’em, coil ’em and store ‘em? in one place for easy retrieval.

Tip 4. Shorten them: Coil a cable’s extra length and use a cable tie to secure it. and have vast selections. Your hardware store will have them, too.

Tip 5. Hide them: Cable boxes have slits on either side for cables to go in and out, and a lid on top to hide the mess inside. BlueLounge has several to choose from.

Tip 6. Secure them: Make sure cables stay where you want them (and get that ultra-organized look) with cord anchors. Check out options from WireMate and Quirky.

Tip 7. Categorize them: Use your computer’s rear USB ports for devices that stay plugged in and keep the front ones available for cameras, thumb drives and other devices you use temporarily.

Tip 8. Go wireless! Keyboards, mice, printers — wireless versions abound.

Want even more ideas and advice? Subscribe to cable management blogs (yes, they exist) like the one from lifehacker and Smarthome. And you can always try do-it-yourself solutions like using leftover wire shelving, clipping tabs into an old credit card or tossing everything into a piece of rain gutter!