Five Easy Ways to Eliminate Cable Clutter

On my desk I have five cables matched up with the miscellaneous smartphones and tablets that we own in our household; each of these cables is essential in order to charge each of these various devices. That means that, when one of these devices is being used, there is no weight to hold the charging end in place. Unfortunately, that often results in one of these cables falling behind the desk, which makes it necessary for me to get these old bones up and down as I try to locate the cable that has fallen out of sight — which can be a real chore.

Here are five possible solutions that can organize and streamline access to the various cords you need and thus make your life just a little less cluttered.

The first option is binder clips. These clips, which are available in the stationary department of your favorite superstore (office supply store), can be used to hold cables in place. They are also available online through Amazon and come in a variety of different sizes and colors so they can match any decor.

To use them, simply slip the cable through one end of the clip and attach the clip to your desktop. You need to measure the thickness of your desktop to determine the size of the binder clip you are going to need. (I found that the 1″ clips work best on my desktop.) Below is a picture of how using the binders will hold your cables in place.

Five Easy Ways to Eliminate Cable Clutter

Binder Clips

Along the same avenue is an inexpensive option called Everything Clips. My wife found them at Bed Bath & Beyond for under $2.00, but any specialty kitchen store should handle them (Amazon also has Everything Clips for about three bucks). Another advantage of Everything Clips is that they can be used everywhere. We have even used them to reseal potato chip bags.

Everything Clips

Five Easy Ways to Eliminate Cable Clutter

Everything Clip: Laptop Power Cable

A second option is to use thumbtacks and a rubber band. Once again, this is a relatively easy fix that will prevent your cables from slipping to the floor. Simply attach the rubber band between two thumbtacks and slip the cables through the rubber band. It’s that simple; no rocket scientist is required.

Five Easy Ways to Eliminate Cable Clutter

Thumbtack: Rubber Band Holder

A third option is to use foam pipe insulation. To use it, you need to measure the length of foam insulation to the length of the cable you wish to insert. Next, slip all of the cables inside the foam pipe insulation, threading the cables through until they exit at the other end or at a pre-measured split in the insulation. This type of insulation is normally sold in 6 ft. lengths or longer, and will hold as many cables as you like. Due to its length, you may wish to share the cost with a couple of friends (it will be long enough for each of you to use).

Five Easy Ways to Eliminate Cable Clutter

Foam Pipe Insulation

The fourth solution will please those of you who are green minded, since it gives you a way to recycle emptied toilet paper or paper towel tubes. I believe that the advantage of using them is obvious, as well as how the size will dictate which tube will work best to hide your cables or keep them from tangling. For short cables, you could get away with using a toilet paper tube. However, if you require a longer extension cord to keep your cords untangled or concealed, you would need to use a paper towel tube. For even longer or for multiple cable runs (charging cables, USB cables, network cables, and more), you may choose to use Christmas wrapping paper tubes to hide the clutter and keep cables together.

Five Easy Ways to Eliminate Cable Clutter

Toilet Paper Roll

The last option, one which can keep earbud cables untangled, is as simple as placing the earbuds on a hanger in your closet with the buds hanging down. Attach a few clothespins to add weight to the buds and hang them in your closet overnight. In the a.m., the earbuds should be untangled. :-)

Five Easy Ways to Eliminate Cable Clutter

Earbuds: Coat Hanger, Clothespins

After untangling my earbuds, it made me wonder if this would work on Christmas tree lights…

Do you have any tricks like these that you can share with us?

Comments welcome.

Article Written by

I have been writing for Lockergnome for eight years.

  • Robert Glen Fogarty

    Great article as always, Ron! I may have to use some of these ideas to clean up some of my more than ample share of clutter!

  • Robert Glen Fogarty

    Great article as always, Ron! I may have to use some of these ideas to clean up some of my more than ample share of clutter!

  • Robert Glen Fogarty

    Great article as always, Ron! I may have to use some of these ideas to clean up some of my more than ample share of clutter!

  • Robert Glen Fogarty

    Great article as always, Ron! I may have to use some of these ideas to clean up some of my more than ample share of clutter!

  • Pingback: New Video! – How to Cut the Cord and Cable Clutter « Geeky Bits()

  • Jon King

    Why didnt I think of these ideas awesome ways really like the Foam Pipe one.

  • Bob Snyder

    Great ideas! As for an easy way to untangle Christmas lights? We should be so lucky! :)

    • Robert

      Christmas Lights? Easy! 
      Take a piece of stiff cardboar (cards stock will do, or old cardnrad box). For a 100 ligh mini-bulbs.  About 10 inch by 4 inch. Along each long side, cut a pattern of jagged edge about 3/4 inch deep on both sides. You can cut the “Starter notch a little deeper.Then wrap the light cord set round and round. If ou get to oe end and have more cord than cardboard, then wrap backwards, overlapping at an angle the previous wrap.

      Wrap the plug under one of the wraps. Place in storage box until next season.

      Speaking of organizing cables? Use postal address stickers to mark BOTH ends of all cords, especially power cords. Then when troubleshooting power problems at the AC power module, it is clear which power brick is for which device.

      / Bob

      • Adam H.

        Christmas light?  Easy!  Remind yourself that your entire collection cost about $15 and throw them away every year (I buy the cheap ones, YMMV).  It’s not the “greenest” solution, but it’s served me well for over a decade.

  • M_casselman

    I like duct tape (doesn’t everyone) where you take a long strip (like 8″) then take a second, shorter strip (like 6″). Center the shorter strip sticky side to the sticky side of the longer strip. Afix to your bench like the Thumbtack/Rubberband holder above using the sticky 1″ tabs at each end and voila. The short tape stuck to the sticky underside of the longer tape leaves a conduit for holding your cables. Make them as long/short as you like. Need more stick at the ends use a longer tape.

  • Zachary L

    There is actually a way to roll up your earbuds so that they don’t get tangled, it works for more than just earbuds too.
    1. Make your right or left hand, whichever isn’t your dominant hand into the peace sign and hold your middle fingers tight.
    2. Lay your earbuds over your pointer and pinky, and let the earpieces dangle slightly over your pointer finger to keep them out of the way.
    3. Wrap the wire in a figure eight style between your two fingers.
    4. Once you reach the point where you only have enough wire for one more half-eight, wrap that piece around the middle of your new figure eight bundle.
    5. tuck the end of your wire into your new bundle of wire.
    6. Thats it, just undo the knot to find out that the wire isn’t tangled.
    I can make a video if this doesn’t make since, but If this makes since then there is no point.