Wires and cables are the ugly afterthought of many home offices. By the time you've wired up your network, plugged in your lamps, phones and computer equipment, and hooked up all your drives, phones and devices, the floor of your office looks like a rat's nest. Cables and wires crisscross the floor, clutter your desk and form an unsightly trap for dust bunnies.
It doesn't have to be that way. Here are five tips for reining in cable madness and putting your home office on the path toward a cleaner look.
The Wire Wrap
There' no getting around it. Loose wires just look bad. The good news is you can spiff up your office quick just by bundling cords and cables together. A simple twist tie, found in abundance in any electronics packaging, will make quick work of the mess. You can bind wires together or tighten up unsightly slack by tying off loops of cable. For larger jobs, products like Velcro cable ties or Q Knot adjustable rubber cable ties can pull together bundles of even the thickest power cords. Plastic zip-ties are also cheap and effective, but can't be adjusted if you want to change up your cable layouts.
Labels for CablesIf your home office is like mine, you've accumulated a sea of power cords, USB cables and Ethernet wires. Keeping those connections straight can be a heady task, which is why I make a point to label each end of the cables and wires in my home office. Products like the Mini Write-on Flag Tie Markers fix to the cable and present a writable surface. Or go cheap and wrap a bit of masking tape around the cord, leaving a folded over tab of tape to write the name of the cord on using a ballpoint pen or Sharpie. Now, when you need to connect an external USB hard drive to a second PC or find the power cord for a scanner, it's a simple matter of reading information on the cable end, rather than having to trace the cable back to its source.
Cords Off the FloorI have a confession to make. The floor under my desk is a rat's nest of power cords and data cables. My idea of organization has been to push the wad of cords against the baseboards with my feet. But I know it doesn't have to be that way. I'm seriously considering a product like the Cable Corral, which screws to the underside of a desk and provides an out-of-sight, off-the-floor landing spot for all the cords that otherwise waterfall off the back of my desk. Not only will the solution banish an under-the-desk eyesore, it will make it much easier to vacuum the space.
Binder Clip Magic
A Real Basket Cord Case
I remember the day I finally got fed up with the haphazard scatter of my portable devices and their unsightly cords crisscrossing my desk. My cheapskate solution? Plug an AC-to-USB adapter into the wall and run a few mini-USB cables into a stylish red basket with inline handles. I then fixed several small binder clips (surprise!) in the handle space to anchor the USB cords when not in use. Now, when I need to charge my smartphone, MP3 player or Kindle, I just plug and place it into the basket, where it refuels safely out of my sight.