My Favorite Tools for Managing Cords and Cables

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Cable management is an important part of living in a technological world. They should be grouped, labeled, and organized so they don’t get all tangled up—but that doesn’t mean your organizers have to look industrial or boring. Here are some options for any room or situation.

The best cord managers for bigger tech

Until recently, the area behind my television was kind of a no-man’s-land. Cords from the television, gaming console, streaming plug-in, and the nearby lamps, Peloton, and fan all joined together in a chaotic mess. I stuck them all into one long power strip and hoped for the best, but eventually, I realized I had to do something a little more organized. First, I got a nicer-looking power strip, one that matched my decor, had USB and lightning ports, and was round, so the cords did less overlapping. I removed the wall adapter from anything that could be plugged straight into the ports and it made a huge difference right away.

I really, really love this thing. I love it so much, in fact, I got two more. One went in my kitchen and the other went to another outlet in my living room, powering my light-up storage mirror and the hair tools I keep on my organizational wall. It has holes in the back so you can even hang it on some screws, stopping it from moving around.

Still, a lot of cords feed into it, so to keep those organized and prevent them from getting tangled, I wanted to get a few cord organizers. I used to only think there was one kind of cable manager, that long strip that you hooked different cords through, but I was thrilled to learn there are way better options. Since all the cords in that area come from different spots around that side of the room, it didn’t make sense to try to stick them all through one long organizer; getting individual organizers to attach to the wall or shelving nearest each corded object was the best choice, as it meant I didn’t have to rearrange anything.

Of course, those longer strips are useful in some cases, like when you’re organizing a computer desk. In that case, most of the cords are coming from about the same spot, since everything you’re dealing with is up on the desk. You can use a strip-shaped cable organizer to keep them all apart and untangled behind the desk.

I don’t mind my cables visible as long as they’re organized, but if you want yours to disappear a little more, try a power strip storage box. These are plain-looking containers that house secret power strips, with entry holes around the edges. You can feed your cables and wires through, plug them in, and stuff any excess into the box as well. One of these on a desk or entertainment center would spruce up the place in a hurry and you can get a plain white one for $19.78 or a classy wood-topped one for $12.90.

The best cable managers for smaller tech

Big cords are one thing, but smaller ones, like chargers, are another. When I go to sleep at night, I plug in all my devices to charge and, again, that used to create a real nightmare scenario. The addition of an outlet extender that turned one outlet into three, plus gave me two USB ports and one lightning port, made a major difference.

This keeps them separated and eliminates the need for having a bunch of clunky wall adapters, since there is an option to plug the USBs and lightning cables straight into the device.

On top of that, I got craftier, replacing my side table lamp with one that has a wireless phone charger and another USB port. Minimizing the amount of single wall adapters I need for every device charger went a long way with cable management and space-saving.

(Yes, you can use Velcro straps to clump your cables and cords together, but that’s ugly. It cost a little more to get the lamp and mini power strip, but it made my cables more manageable while maintaining some semblance of cuteness amid the technological overload.)

I would be remiss not to mention my other favorite charging cord organizer—the Smartish cord holder. It’s basically a magnetic mound that sits on your desk, side table, or wherever and catches your charging cables so you always know where they are. I find this so useful in my workspaces, where I’m usually charging at least one or two devices next to me.

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