Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A post-holiday orgainzation special: Those new electronics=more cords. How to manage them

Here's a DIY for you. When I saw the cord explosion behind my parent's entertainment center - all I could think was - "project!" Especially since I had it on good authority that the holidays would bring a couple of more cords into the mix, it was time to find a system to manage them. I'm sure everyone here can relate to this in some way, and this DIY costs $0 - not a penny.

Before - Here is the mess

Pretty bad huh?

Get yourself a dusting cloth, or electronic wipes, and your vacuum cleaner. Take this opportunity to wipe of the cords, consoles, and equipment while you're back there anyway. When you unplug cords or cables LABEL THEM so you know where they came from and what they go to. I used blank adhesive address labels and folded them around the cord at each end. Each end would be labeled with the name of the hole or device it goes into. You'll see this in the example below.

The end of each cable is labeled with the corresponding hole, i.e. " AV 1" or "Front Speaker - Left" You may find a labeling solution that works better for you based on your equipment.

In the middle of the project - don't worry - things might look worse before they look better.

Analyze if anything is hindering you from keeping the space organized and easy to maintain. For example, on the back of my dad's entertainment console, there were only two small holes for cords to be fed through. This made it really hard to ad a new device or change the settings on something.

So...being that the backing of the console was only fiber board, I traced a rectangle with a pencil and cut a much larger opening with a hacksaw. This allows easy access to the back of equipment, and provides better ventilation.

After cleaning and wiping everything, and labeling the cords, I put all the equipment back in the cabinet, rewired everything, and utilized regular household twisty ties to bundle the cords.

Labeled cords coming out of their respective equipment...

Cords bundled with twisty ties, with excess slack coiled up, and plugged back in. Using a power strip makes it easy to turn off everything in one easy action.

Labeled cables going into the back of the TV

The finished view from the front.

So what do you think? Do you have a mess of cords you've been wanting to organize in your house? Any good tips for managing cords?

For more cord management and electronic tips, check out last week's interview with Apartment Therapy's Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan on Techorating.


Kaitlyn said...

Awesome post! This is such a great idea for organizing cords. When I get my new TV next year I'll have to put this idea to good use! ;)

lizzie [love your way] said...

looks MUCH cleaner! we've got one of those tv-stands...and the chords totally look messy behind it...great post!

Jessica Turnbow said...

Looks very clean! Messy cords are my biggest pet peeve when it comes to my house, I have been zip tying them in bundles and that helps too!

Upscale Downhome said...

Do you make house calls? Your labeling tip was excellent as my 16 year old son is the only one who knows where all the cords go! We got a flat screen for above our fireplace and now we have to figure out how to snake the cords out the side wall so they are not seen. Should be interesting. Thanks for sharing!


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