Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cable Control for the Geek

There have been an abundance of posts about cable storage but I haven't seen anything that deals with a cable problem the size of ours. Both my husband and I tend to geekiness and we have nothing short of a colossal collection of cables. Lining drawers with cups for cables wouldn't begin to address this issue. So I designed a system!

But, like any good blogger,  before I got there I took some photos....

This was my wiring closet before I began.  It was showcased in my True Confessions post reveling several of my problem closets. But in addition to this closet we had wires stuffed in odd drawers throughout the house.  We collected them all and piled them on my desk, and took another photo....

You begin to see the magnitude of our challenge.

I needed a solution more robust than the toilet paper tube solution! I went to work. First we separated all outdated, orphaned and useless cords. That filled one box to recycle.

Then I tackled the storage issue for the remaining mountain. Time has taught me that ziplock baggies are a wonderful resource for cable control. What I did was develop a system for labeling the baggies and holding them in perfectly sized containers to make them easy to search. When you need a cable, it is generally in a moment of technology failure and you need it now. A hunt through the collection does not ease the stress. I used quart sized baggies as my universal size and then I called in the old standby - duct tape, colored duct tape.  

  • The cables were divided into main categories that reflect current needs.....
      • Fire Wire
      • USB
      • Power Supply
      • Ethernet
      • Video
      • Audio
      • Telephone
  • I would have liked to assign each category an individual color but I only had five colors in my current collection.  Each main cable type was assigned a color. 
  • Each cable was put into a baggie, and a large piece of duct tape was applied to the side, creating an extended tab.  I folded it back on itself so no sticky sides were left exposed.
  • Using a Sharpie marker I wrote the main category on the tab.

  • If this type of cable had a sub category I used a different color for the sub category and applied that next to the main tab.  This label does not extend beyond the edge of the bag. Here is the Fire Wire collection as an example.  It is divided into 400-400, 400-800, 800-800 and 400-mini.  All were stacked in a container with the tabs facing up.  It is easy to quickly find the cable that is needed.

Inspired, I moved on to the other categories.  I decided to use an IKEA Kasset boxes because they fit the baggies well and fit into the assigned cabinet with very little wasted space.  They are very affordable and I happened to have six on hand.

I created labels for the front of each box. They came with a label holder. I then moved them all back into the cabinet. TahDah! 

I fit many more cables into the same sized space

And they are easy to access!

Making progress on that organization list! 

Check out the other posts in my Organizing Series

©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy  

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  2. The geek inside me LOVES this!

  3. Thanks for taking the time to comment on my post on hiding cords...I passed this link on storing cables along to my son-in-law (my favorite geek ;)).
    All the best!

  4. We also have a cable 'issue' the size of which Martha Stewart could never imagine with her toilet rolls.....I'm off to get some baggies, back later!

    thanks xx
    p.s. pinned it :)