Conquering Cord Chaos

the drawer or box of cords for cameras, phones, computers, speakers, iPods, printers, and more.

Almost every home and business I enter to organize has a common culprit: the drawer or box of cords for cameras, phones, computers, speakers, iPads, printers, and more. If a tangled mess like this sounds familiar, here are a the steps for restoring order.

1. Untangle the cords.

You have no chance of sorting the cords while they are all knotted up. One evening while you are watching TV or a movie, just dump the pile in front of you and disentangle them. You can line them like snakes on the floor or on a table.

2. Determine each one’s purpose, and put similar cords next to each other.

This may seem tricky, but often there is some writing to help you figure this out, especially if there is an adapter on the end. A brand name can be the clue you need to separate camera cords from gaming cords from phone cords.

3. Remove any cords for devices you no longer use. 

Newer devices often have a different “end” that plugs into your device, so this can be a way to identify what is current and what is out of date. If you’ve piled up 5 phone cards, you can select the most recent one to keep, and put the rest in the trash.

4. Label the cords you are keeping. 

You can either use a label maker (a good label maker has a setting especially designed for cords), or even a piece of masking tape. Record both the user and the name of the device.

Label your cords

5. Designate a storage location. 

This will be easier now that you have fewer cords.

  • “Active” cords can often be left plugged in, ready to use in a “charging station.” This can be anything from a niche near an outlet to a specially designed container. To minimize cord sprawl, curl them up and clip them them together with a small binder clip or cable tie.
  • Cords you are keeping, but don’t use every day, can be moved to a storage location, such as…

A drawer or container. Wrap them or next them in toilet paper rolls.

Wrap them in a product designed for cords.

An “over the door” shoe sorter.

A box or container with divided sections.

*     *     *     *     *

Cords are a necessary evil, but don’t let them take over your precious space. Where do you keep your cords? Have any tips to share?

34 thoughts on “Conquering Cord Chaos”

    1. Somebody asked me to write a post about cords, and so I did! I think a lot of people have a mess of them. It’s so freeing to pitch the old ones and be able to get the exact one you need! Good for you, Janine!

    1. We have too many as well, Autumn. But this one is pretty much on my husband’s shoulders… he is reluctant to let them go. This is one of those “agree to disagree” aspects of marriage:)

    1. That is such a rewarding project, Gingi! Love opening the doors on an entertainment center and feeling that “ahhh….” of an organized space. You go- love to see a pic when you are finished:)

    1. They are like rabbits, Janet! Almost EVERYONE has this issue. And with the rapid upgrades of electronics, I think we will for sometime to come.

  1. These are some great tips. I do keep a basket downstairs in my computer hutch for all my old cords. At least I got them all wrapped up with bread ties and rubber bands. It’s kind of like old keys, you can’t just throw them out. And I have at least 5 obsolete cell phones that I keep lying around for some reason. One of these days, I need to get busy and donate them. Thanks for the ideas.
    Adrian recently posted…Hubby’s Bday at BoondocksMy Profile

    1. That’s so true, Adrian… very much like old keys. We have an “unsettled” feeling about getting rid of them. I have some old cell phones as well. There are ways to recycle those, but I’ve gotta convince my husband:)

  2. Great ideas for cords.. One other trick I’ve found that is especially good for travel is the Cocoon Grid It system. I love it – it easily fits in my brief case or backpack and I don’t go anywhere without it! Thanks for your smart, simple solutions!

    1. That is a great tip, Cena. Yes, when you are traveling you need to do something better than shoving cords in the bottom of a bag. This product looks terrific!

    1. Frankly, I’m considering doing a whole post on organizing progress you can make while watching TV. Especially if winter is going to last indefinitely! Any child who will untangle a cord is worth her weight in gold — well, I guess they are anyway, but still.

  3. I love how you conquered the cord cluster! Great tips! Under the label them category, I’ve also seen folks use those plastic tags that come on bread loaf packages. They’re the perfect size for cords and you can write on them.

    1. I’ve seen that myself, and they are another great option! Not sure how well they would travel on a cord you grab and take along, but perfect for a charging station where the cords stay put and the devices come and go!

    1. I certainly look forward to shedding the cords. Not sure how it will happen, but I think you are right that it will! Then what will we do with all these old cords? I’m thinking we will see a long list of “up-cycling” ideas:)

  4. Arggh. Hate tangled cords! They’re so hard to manage. I throw away those that we won’t use but my husband wants to keep them. LOL. Maybe I should do the labeling for cords too.

    1. My husband wants to keep ours too, Rea!! Maybe guys have a stronger connection to cords than we do:) When you try to do the labeling, that’s when you see which cords you can pitch. I think everyone has at least one they can throw away!

    1. This is such a universal situation… and they are stringy and messy and make everyone cringe. Getting them under control is a terrific feeling!!

    1. My p-touch has a “label” setting. It prints the words twice with a little dotted line in the middle showing where to fold it around the cord – it’s the bomb!

    1. It’s a common struggle for pretty much everyone now, Helena. I know how organized you are, so I’m sure you can find a great solution. This is the kind of thing I like scrolling through Pinterest for… just to see what great ideas people have come up with. Stay strong!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.