In the age of technology, one simply cannot escape the chaos of cords. Cell phone chargers, television hookups, gaming necessities, headphones—the curse of the cable hangs over us all. They wrap around each other, around table legs and cell phones and whatever objects they can find, and create absolute chaos. However, in the age of technology, you can't just get rid of them. One must make the most of the hand one is dealt, and in this case, find ways to organize and order those awful messes. To that end, here are some handy lifehacks that will cut cord clutter down to a minimum and help you keep track of what cord goes to what, which plug plugs in where, and all the other mistakes that endless matching cords may cause.
Make a DIY charging station.
The most fun, aesthetically pleasing way to hide your mess of cords and cables is by making your own charging station. Rather than having an unsightly tangle of cords wrapping around each other and making a nest on your floor, you can design a simple box to hide those cords away, keep your chargers untangled and accessible, and even add a little decor to the room. First, just take any box: pre-designed if you're lazy, or a basic box to decorate. Then, if you like, decorate it with wallpaper or wrapping paper or stickers or paint or whatever you like, until it's something you won't mind having around the house. Then all you have to do is cut a few holes along the side, and thread the ends of your important cables out. That way you have easy access to all your charging cords in one place, with none of the tangled mess. This idea could definitely qualify as a DIY home upgrade that costs well under $100.
Use binder clips to hold your plugs.
Besides the unsightly, tangled messes, one of the biggest hassles of cords is getting them to stay put. Constantly diving behind and under the desk or table to retrieve a fallen plug is just exhausting; but on the other hand, you have to have the cable coming up from the back, where the outlet is, or otherwise go across the room, causing a tripping hazard. Luckily, there's an easy solution: binder clips. Just take a sturdy binder clip, and remove one of the metal fastenings. Then slide the cable through it, near the large end of the plug/charging end, and reattach it. Then, you can just clip it to the back of the table or desk, and your cord will stay right there, waiting for you to need it.
Organize your cords on a pegboard.
A simple way to keep your cords right where you want them (as in, accessible but not tangled around each other), is by mounting them on a pegboard to create your own charging station board. All you have to do to make this work is place a few pegs in, such that each cord has two moderately spaced pegs. Then, you can wrap the cord around those pegs to keep them in place, and to take up any extra slack left in the cable. You can also install rests on the board on which to place your devices, and use the board to hide your power strips from sight, keeping everything looking neat and organized.
Keep your long cords under control.
Long cords create the most unsightly and irksome messes. Extension cords and other lengthy cables can be very useful, but they can also create impenetrable tangles of themselves and other cords, leaving a nest of loops, ties, and general chaos. For particularly long cords, you want to keep them under control. One of the easiest lifehacks that will cut down cord clutter in this way is to use a spool, especially one designed for cables and wires like you might use for construction jobs. You can also make your life easier with something as simple as a rubber band, and just fold up any extra length and tie it off. Both of these methods keep your extra cord length from getting tangled and making a mess, but are easy to undo if you need that extra reach.
Repurpose a shower caddy to get your cords off the floor.
The ability to organize your electronics while they're charging, and to keep all your cords together in one place, easily accessible, is crucial to maintaining some sanity and organization in your home. One super simple lifehack that will cut cord clutter down immensely is to repurpose a shower caddy as an electronics basket. You want to find one with open spaces or holes to thread your cords through, so you can secure them. Then, just thread all of your cords from the outlet up into the caddy, mounted on a wall or hung somewhere out of the way, and give each plug its own space. Then when you need to charge something, you can just set it in the basket, rather than fumbling with cords and leaving your valuables on the floor, proving that, although not listed on the best gifts for anyone who loves organizing, it's definitely a contender.
Hide your cords with pipe.
Another very cheap lifehack that will cut down cord clutter in your home is to hide your cords with pipes. This not only keeps them from wrapping around each other and creating a tangled mess, but also hides the bulk of the charger cables, so it looks better. You can make one out of PVC pipe if you don't mind a little drilling, or you can just get a small section of foam pipe insulation. That way, all you have to do is cut small holes for the charger ends to come through. If you're really lazy, you don't even have to cut spaces for each plug: Just snake the cables through the pipe, and use the ends. However, it's much easier to find what you need if you separate them out by cutting openings along the length of the pipe for each cord.
Create a cord-hiding DIY tube out of just about anything.
Similar to the pipe trick, using old paper towel or toilet paper rolls is the cheapest, easiest way to hide unsightly cords and to organize long lengths of cord that get wrapped around things easily. It's a totally free and painless lifehack that will cut cord clutter down to a minimum. To make it more aesthetically pleasing, you can decorate the cardboard first, but that's totally up to you. Then just fold up your extension cords and slide the bulky section into the tube, hiding it from sight. This DIY piping keeps cords from getting wrapped around things, and hides the extra cable from view. You can also use this method to hide large gatherings of multiple cords.
Label your plugs.
The crawling around in the dust and grime, diving under furniture, accidentally shutting your computer off or turning out the lights when you're looking for one particular plug in a mess of outlets and extension cords, is an indicator things are pretty nasty by your outlets. A simple solution to this problem is to color code your plugs. You can buy a cheap set of colored stickers and make yourself a reminder chart, or you can get a specialty set of pre-labeled plug stickers. Or, for the cheapest and easiest option, just take a sharpie and label each plug using masking tape. Just make sure it's big enough to read in the inevitable chaos that occurs where various cables meet.
Use a simple cable organizer to contain concentrated spaces.
For organizing cables on a surface, like at your desk, there are some very simple products you must have. Cable clips and holders come in many different sizes, holding as little as one cord and as many as... well, as many as you could need. These devices are cheap ways to organize your apartment for multiple purposes: First of all, they keep your cords from falling back behind your desk or other piece of furniture, and keep the charging end of the cord handy for whenever you need it. Beyond this, they keep the cords themselves from getting tangled, and tying knots with each other or themselves when you try to pull them up for use. By threading each cord through its own slot, you ensure that you always have them handy, and that they stay where you want them to.
Extend every outlet with power strips.
When it comes to lifehacks that will cut cord clutter down by organizing your mess of cords, the first and most important investment you need to make is in power strips. Having a sufficiently large power strip for the number of outlets you need in a given area is crucial to keeping your cords from getting out of control. By consolidating your cables into one strip or block (depending on the kind of power strip), you avoid the need for extension cords crisscrossing within rooms, or unused cords lying about unplugged because you didn't have space. Giving each cord its proper place to plug in—and stay plugged in—will save you a lot of confusion and visual chaos in the long run.