You’ve got it all—the flat screen TV, home theater system, e-reader, smartphone and laptop, not to mention lamps, kitchen appliances and alarm clocks. While all of these electronics make life more convenient, they can also make life more cluttered, especially with those unruly cords and cables lying around and tangling up. Organizing and properly storing your electronics is not only important for a simplified life and home, but it also prolongs the life of your gadgets by protecting them from common mishaps. For some simple tips on wrangling your electrical devices and all of their components, read on.
Tip #1: Round up cords and cables.
Nothing else can make a home look cluttered quite as quickly as piles of cords and cables. Over time, more and more of our household electronics will be available in wireless models, but until then, we all have the challenge of managing miles of messy wires running every which way.
One thing that helps is making use of the variety of cord management tools available on the market. “For cords and cables that are used infrequently or need to be easily portable, consider cable spools or corrals to keep them organized and accessible for the next time you need them,” say the design experts at Houzz. For help with cords you use often, check out Apartment Therapy’s list of Best Peripheral Cable Management Solutions.
Tip #2: Set up a charging station for portable electronics.
We’ve all been late to work due to frantically searching the house for our cell phone, only to find it behind a couch cushion and completely drained of battery. Avoid this problem with a centralized charging station in your home where you plug in your phone, e-reader, tablet and other transportable devices every night.
You can create your own with a converted ribbon storage box and a power strip, or you can invest in something with a few special perks: Belkin’s Conserve Valet automatically turns off power after your electronics are fully charged while Kikkerland’s Grass Charging Station conceals cords in a serene bed of greenery.
Tip #3: Arrange electrical items according to use.
Establish designated areas in your home for television, studying, working, gaming and music, and then organize your electronics accordingly. Start with a desk or cabinet intended for your home office equipment. The Houzz team says, “Technology and practicality are designed to a perfect union” with furniture that has already integrated electronic requirements—from USB hubs and AC adaptors to slots and slats for cords.
Prevent damage to expensive video games with labeled bins or a shelving unit to keep them off the floor and in one spot. Specify a single drawer for remote controls and related components so you always know where to find them.
Tip #4: Get rid of old products you no longer use.
As with any other aspect of home organization, it is always important to periodically sort through your gadgets and their related pieces to determine what to keep and what to toss out. Erin Doland of Unclutterer writes, “When we replace an item, we dump the old device and all of its accompanying stuff into an electronics recycling bin that we keep in our laundry room…until the bin is full and we have to decide if we want to sell, donate or simply recycle the items.”
She also recommends labeling the components that go with any newer electronics so it’s easier to sort through what stays and what goes the next time you tidy up. And try to eliminate redundancies where possible—you don’t need five different sets of earbuds.
No matter how much time and effort you put into organizing your electronics, you may simply not have the space at home to keep all the gadgets you want to hang on to. If you have collector’s items, such as a vintage record player, or electrical equipment you only use a few times a year, you might want to consider renting a self-storage unit to protect your devices and create more free space in your house.
“Cable Management,” Houzz Inc., http://www.houzz.com/photos/cable-management
Gregory Han, “Untangling Wires: Best Peripheral Cable Management Solutions,” Apartment Therapy, http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/untangling-wires-best-peripher-45438
Erin Doland, “Ask Unclutterer: Organizing Electronic Accessories and Conquering Mount Techmore,” Unclutterer, http://unclutterer.com/2012/02/17/ask-unclutterer-organizing-electronic-accessories-and-conquering-mount-techmore/