Read these 13 Eliminating Cable Clutter Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Wire Management tips and hundreds of other topics.
According to techworld.com, a little forward thinking goes a long way when it comes to cable management. For example, if you spend a few extra dollars to buy snagless connectors, when it comes time to pull any wires out of the neat bundle under your desk, you will be able to pull the cable out of the pile without ripping off the little plastic tab that holds it in the port when it's plugged in.
Also, document your system and keep it in an easy to access place. In other words, write down your cable layout, what each color means and how you routed your cables. This way, if you are away from the home or office and a problem arises, it will be much easier to direct someone to fix the problem. It's easier to tell someone to move the green cable from port 24 to port 95 rather than saying "grab one of the black wires on the left sort of near the bottom and put it in that thingy all the way to the right..."
Imagine putting both the data and power needs of your equipment in a single unit. The Communications Sphere is an interesting product that provides two ports for voice/data in one half of a sphere and will form a complete sphere when combined with the Power Sphere, used for computer power distribution, or another Communications sphere. It is used on the work surface for easy accessibility.
So you have your cable raceway installed on your office baseboard and you even have your wiremold cord cover running from the desk to the wall, but you still have the ungainly length of cables from your computer. I mean, you can only shove the cables in so far before they become kinked and backed up and ruin the intention of protecting your wiring.
This is when you need a nifty gadget to keep your cables nicely looped an out of the way. You can either go with cable ties, which will keep them bundled - these are ideal if your desk is facing a wall, because this solution is not pretty, or you can go with something like a cable caddy.
Cable caddy's are cool because they mount to any flat surface, be it beneath your VCR or DVD player, on the inside of your desk or on the side of your PC. You loop your cables around them and poof, the length issue is gone and it doesn't look messy.
An electronic troubleshooting tip: carrying out repairs or troubleshooting is much easier if you know what cables lead where. Heat shrink tubing in different colors can help you color code your cables, making it easier to manage your hardware. Color code your entire systems and protect your cables from harm.
Are you trying to find an easier way to bring high-bandwidth communications between two separate points? Free Space Optics offers serious communication power with a minimum of fuss. This laser technology system requires no spectrum licensing. It is easy to upgrade and open interfaces support a variety of vendor's equipment. It requires no security software, and is unaffected by radio frequency interference or saturation. Free Space Optic systems can even be deployed behind windows so there is no need to obtain rooftop rights.
If you have a home office, or a small business office, you may have tried to organize your cables, and damaged them inadvertantly?
How many cables have you had to try to get solid access to your LAN or internet connection?
How many miles of cable are you running to keep up with your growth in a new office environment?
Make sure when you start to get organized that you use the right tool for the job. Cable ties are all well and good for bundling your cables neatly, but have you made sure they won't damage your cables?
Ensure that your cable ties have a "low threading force" and you will be ensuring organization without damage. Basically this means that the cable tie will be secure, but will not squeeze or cut your cables - very important in your more delicate wiring!
Looking for advice on eliminating cable clutter?
When you are shopping for home or office cable organization gear, you should look for bundled offers that will offer a price break on installation items and accessories.
Remember that most of these solutions require some sort of installation gear, meaning they just won't come out of the box and stay where they are supposed to. Most cord covers need adhesive or double stick tape and if you are looking at cable raceways, you will need accessories for capping the ends or for the corners of your room. If you get confused by all of this, you are not alone.
Take detailed measurements of your room and make sure you know what your configuration needs to be. Additionally, remember that data and sound can be degraded the longer your cables get, so choose the location of your system wisely and plan your cable runs accordingly.
Ask their advice on top quality cables as well - if you are going to the trouble of doing all of this right, you might as well use the best and make your investment really worth it. If you get completely lost, call your provider or find a real expert in the store.
Are you in an area where you get a lot of heavy weather?
It could be blizzards, tropical storms, hurricanes, or even all three!
Maybe you have a temporary generator to help get you through the worst?
If so, you may have temporary cords running here and there during the storm, and you really need to consider protecting those cords, especially if you have pets or small children. This is when simple cord covers can really come in handy. Wiremold cord covers, for example, come in convenient lengths and are easy to use and install. They are kept in place by double stick tape (which is easy to install and remove) and they are easy to store with your other survivial gear in the garage or even in a small closet.
Plan ahead for your next storm and keep your cords in good repair. A generator is a big investment and you should protect its cords just as you would for an expensive computer.
Here's more advice on eliminating cable clutter:
Retractable Cord and Retractable Phone Cord: A perfect way to log in at trade shows. This handy and inexpensive wire organizer is a must for anyone who has ever wrestled with short, tangled or broken phone cords trying to get connected. The auto-retractable spool provides 8 feet of phone cable in a compact, durable case. It fits right in your pocket!
As you start gathering up the many wires on the floor of your office to be bundled and tucked away in a cable management device, think twice before including the wires that attach to your computer's mouse or desktop speakers. Including them will limit their movement and these are the type of wires you use often and move around a lot. A better choice for managing these types of wires is a cable clip, which will attach to the underside of your desk. A clip will do the job of keeping your cords tucked away, while also leaving you some slack for movement.
Before you even pick up your tools, make a label, unwrap your surge protector or do any other type of cable management, don't forget to do some basic, but important first steps.
You hear the term "spaghetti" used a lot to describe the wiry mess under your desk that is in desperate need of cable organizers. While you may not mind the spaghetti mess at first, experts say you will surely start to mind when it comes time to make a change or troubleshoot under there.
So if you've made the decision to finally tackle that mess of wires in your home, here is a cable management guide that highlights the steps to take, courtesy of cable-safe.com:
Let's face it, the only raceway you know has cars on it and you think squid tentacles belong on a dinner plate, not a power strip, so if the thought of buying a ton of unfamiliar cable management products for your home overwhelms you, consider purchasing a cable management kit. It's a one-stop-shopping cable management solution that will get your cables off the floor and labeled and make you feel at peace with your office again.
A kit that has received favorable reviews is the Complete Cable Manager offered by cable-safe.com. For about $35, this kit gives you wire color-coding, straps, bungees, mounting hardware, labels and more. It will help you suspend power strips and cables above the floor and out of sight.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|