Have you ever bought a new gadget to plug in to your computer, only to feel like you’re trying to hack your way through a rainforest when you confront the mess of cables behind your desk and running into your machine? You might have experienced the same problem trying to reconfigure your television entertainment center. If you’re tired of coping with having to unplug everything just to plug something new in, and then finding that your cables have gotten all fouled up again next time you reach back there, it’s time to learn the basics of good cable management. Managing your cables well will not only lead to a cleaner, more attractive looking space for you to work around, but it will also eliminate all those headaches next time you need to add a device to your machine.
Make a Survey of Your Space
The first thing you should do is unplug everything and move the cables out of the way so you can get a better idea of the space you have to work with. Then, try to envision where you want each cable to go when you set about putting them all back into their respective sockets. You should be able to come up with a more efficient way of laying out your cables. For example, if setting up a computer, don’t let the cable for your mouse get tangled up with the one for the keyboard, or else you’ll find yourself constantly tugging on the mouse for some slack to move it. Formulate a plan of attack that will allow you to replace all of your cables quickly and easily.
Keep Like Cables Bundled Together
When it comes to good cable management, you should always try to make sure you keep similar cables separated from cables of a different nature. For example, don’t allow wires that are running up (towards your computer monitor or TV) to get criss-crossed with wires that are running down, such as towards a wall outlet, a power strip, or out of the room to a modem or router. This will keep them from getting tangled up more easily, and it will also make it simpler to figure out what cable is going where, and what it plugs into.
Use Zip Ties or Tape Cables Together
Once you’ve gotten your cables plugged back in and organized so that they aren’t overlapping or making knots with other cables, it’s time to bust out the zip ties. Tie your cables together into bundles and use several zip ties along the length of the cable, and again, keep your similar cables bundled together. Leave a little give in them so that they can move just enough to make it possible to disconnect them from their devices when it’s time for you to move them from one place to another. Substitute electrical tape if you do not have any zip ties. If you do this carefully, not only will you never have to worry about tangled cables again, but you’ll also have a clean, professional looking workspace.