Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Taming the Cord Monster

If you work from home full time like I do (and even if you don't), you probably feel my pain. I have a full-fledged home office, with two computers (plus my husband's Mac), a monitor, a printer/fax—the whole setup. I dream of having a beautifully efficient workspace with nary a cord in sight. But the reality is that cords are a huge problem. They look terrible, get tangled and are always in the way when I need to move things around.

Of course I run my laptop wirelessly, at least some of the time. While I'd love to go totally wireless, some issues are holding me back, including price and security. And Erik just prefers to plug his computer in.

I hope to get a new router soon, because my gadgets seem to be overloading the one we have. Then maybe I'll be able to cut some of cords entirely. But in the meantime, I thought I'd try (again) to tame the beast living under my desk.

Here's what I was dealing with:

Scary, isn't it? And it my desk is visible from the entryway and living room, so I want to keep it tidy.

I started out with my trusty label maker and a few tools from 3M:

The first thing I did was see if there were any unnecessary cables. Unfortunately there weren't. So I replaced any too-long cords with shorter ones that we keep stashed in the closet. Then I untangled what I could and wrapped the ones going behind the desk in twist ties, and I taped the bundles to the back of the desk leg with painters tape. I covered the wires that run along the floor below my desk in this cord snake I got from Ikea awhile back:

The cables that connect to my laptop are always falling on the floor when I disconnect them, so I used the Command cord clips to keep them in place:

And I made new labels for the power strip, so I'll always know what goes where:

I thought about hanging it on the underside of the desk or the wall, but I need to be able to access it easily.

It's still a bit of a mess, but better than where I started:

I ended up not using the Command hooks. Lots of innovative, useful products are available to help in situations like mine, but it's hard to know what you'll need until you dig right in, and by then I wasn't about to run out to buy new things. But I have a better idea of what I'm dealing with, and I think this will work just fine for now—until once again I can't take it anymore and decide to do another overhaul!

How do you deal with the cord situation in your office or living room?

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