Musicians, system administrators, and many others have to deal with “cable hell” sometimes, and you probably do in your own home. Isn’t it annoying, ugly, and unprofessional looking when all of your cables are strewn across your living room, office, or studio?
There’s a sort of “Zen” to keeping a place tidy and organized, and cables make this difficult to achieve and maintain. You need them for your computers, TVs, etc., but it’s so difficult to keep them organized sometimes. Keeping your cables and they space they are in neat and tidy makes your space look cleaner, limits the risk of tripping and damage to the cables themselves, and will make your workflow or leisure time much better overall.
Here are some quick tips and tricks you can use to tidying up your own personal “cable hell.”
1. Use tape to fasten them.
If your cables are mostly located near a wall – say, behind your computer desk – it may help to fasten the cables to the wall. Electrical tape works best for this, as it is gentle enough on the paint of your wall to not rip it off, but it is also tough enough to keep the cables fastened.
Electrical tape also works to tie the cables themselves together, so the direction they are doing in is more neatly streamlined to the sources they need to reach.
Using electric tape will especially reduce the risk of you tripping on the cables strewn across the floor, because they will be tucked neatly out of the way on the wall. The only drawback is that it doesn’t look too visually appealing, but it will nonetheless keep them away from your floor. Perhaps you could throw a painting or poster over where the cables are, provided you have the space and means to do so.
2. Run them under an area rug.
It also helps to run the cables under an area rug if the problem is cables across your floor. This is especially popular among musicians and music producers, who often need to run very long cables from microphones to amplifiers and mixing boards.
However, you may want to make sure that they are tucked away where they won’t be stepped on as much – this could lead to a tripping hazard or a foot cramp, and will ultimately wear out the cables.
3. Tuck them behind things.
If you have a particularly long Internet cable in your living room, try and find a way to run it behind or under the couch, under your rug, or behind your television. This will, again, reduce the risk of tripping (especially if you live with small children), preventing injury and broken equipment in the process.
4. Coil them properly when not in use.
If you find yourself with a mess of cables that aren’t in use, you should always coil them up properly before storing them. Coiling them properly will keep them neat and tidy, reduce the risk of them breaking prematurely, and will be generally easier to maintain when you actually need them because they won’t be tangled.
Cables somehow seem to tangle themselves it seems, so ensuring they are coiled up right will prevent this from happening.
There’s one go-to way of going this – first, you take the end of the cable in your left hand and hold it straight, your right hand farther away from the jack. Then, take your right hand and push it inward, making a circle out of the cable. From there, you gently twist the cable with your fingers until you can feel it naturally coiling. It’s an easy habit to pick up, and a good one at that!
If you are having trouble visualizing this process, there are many YouTube videos you can watch that will illustrate this process for you.
5. Use an old credit card, two-sided tape, and a hole puncher.
If you’ve got an old credit card and a hole puncher kicking around, you’ve got a good space-saving and de-cluttering method already. This is especially good for smaller cables at your computer desk – phone chargers, USB cables, speaker audio inputs, HDMI, and other cables you’d use for your computer and other devices.
Now that you’ve made some holes in an old card, run the cables through them. If you have double-sided tape, it would help to fasten the card to a nearby shelf or the desk itself. You can get rid of old credit cards at the same time that you get rid of your messy computer cables! Problem solved.
6. Buy the right length of cables.
More often than not, the length of the cable is the root of the clutter problem. When you are setting up a new stereo/TV/home theatre, or if you simply want to tidy up your current one, you should have a good idea of how long of a cable you will need for each piece of equipment. If you are trying this out, you’ll find that you’ll have less tangle and clutter.
7. Go wireless!
For video game consoles, computers, and Internet routers, it’s sometimes best to just go wireless with your equipment. Wireless Internet is convenient and neat.
You will need to set up your router by connecting it to your modem, connecting your computer to the router, and using the factory instructions to input the necessary information about your ISP (internet service provider). This can be a frustrating process at times, so make sure you have the router’s instruction manual handy or a phone to call their customer service.
Wireless Internet has many benefits – you can go outside and roam freely with devices such as tablets and phones, and it keeps your living and working spaces de-cluttered.
Cables don’t need to clutter your space with these few tips and tricks. Depending on the size and shape of the room you are using, some may be easier than others, but the bottom line is this: there are many options to clean up your mess of cables. Keeping neatly organizes cables looks better, they will tangle up less, and you reduce the risk of tripping over them and injuring yourself or breaking your equipment. So why not get rid of your messy computer cables today?