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Courtesy Photo

Tangled Up in Wires

Keeping Your Electronic’s Cords Under Control


Dear Juli,

I have just two digital cameras, yet there is all the associated cabling. What a mess. I end up stuffing it all in a plastic bag, which is even messier. Organize that, Juli!

Signed,

Tangled Up Mess

Dear Tangled,

I love a challenge and this one I am all over. Thank you for the idea and I not only will address your camera cords, chargers, and assorted mess, but cords in general. We all have so much technology these days that it can become a real challenge to keep everything easy to find, use, and store.

Juli Shulem

So, to address the first concern, your camera cords, this is my favorite first step: As soon as I purchase an item that has a charger or cord I label it. I do this by using my label maker and in one word, two at most, type what the item is for. I make the label “tail” about twice as long so that I can wrap the label tag around the cord and it sticks to itself (see photo) so it won’t fall off. I make a label that goes the charger units. I used to keep all my cords and chargers in baggies, and I too, found that to be a bigger mess than without; so no more baggies. I keep all electronic cords and the like in a basket on a shelf in my office cupboard so I know that any time I need a particular cord, charge, or cable, it will be there. The ones I use pretty regularly tend to remain on the top of the basket. No more hunting for the cords I need and wondering which one is for what piece of equipment. I like using these small, very colorful and useful cord wraps made of strong-coated wire that hold smaller cords together nicely (see photo) which are at most hardware stores.

I will sometimes put random unusual items into a small fabric bag to keep it clean and that is labeled as well. Tangled—I hope that solved your dilemma.

If you like to keep a particular item near a particular plug, great, but label that too and if you can stash it on a nearby shelf, that is better. For example, I have my phone charger plugged in by my night table, but when not in use, I have it nicely wrapped up in a basket by my bed. I can easily charge my phone and my iPad using the same one and the duplicates are kept with the other cords and chargers in my office.

Machine Cords:

If you have a lot of cords coming from behind your desk for example, set a time to go through them and first, determine how many of them are still necessary. I have encountered more people than I can count who have cords and items plugged in to a surge protector or strip that don’t lead anywhere. Once you have simplified what you have and need, label them at the plug end so you can identify what it’s being used for when your head is down under the desk next time. Yeah, I know, no one else has ever sat under their desk trying to figure out what cord leads to which piece of equipment up above them. Uh huh.

Want to hide the cords you need to keep plugged in? Try a cord organizing tube (Google that) and you can nest your cords in it and cut it to fit. It can expand a bit, so you can get a fair amount of cords within it.

Good luck!

Ask a question for the column and I will address it at the appropriate time. Email questions to Coach Juli, PCC Productivity Coach, at jshulem@gmail.com and put “question for column” in the subject line and they will be answered right here—your name is not used.

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