Reader question: Help curb my cable clutter!

Reader Sara contacted us with an office organization dilemma:

I need some ideas for organizing my “office.” My office is built into my kitchen, a counter top matching the rest of my counters was dropped lower, with a open place for a chair to be rolled under etc. Initially the idea felt awesome because that’s where all the trafic is and I can be available to the kids. There is no other place to move my computer that would be convienant in my house, so it needs to stay here. The biggest problem is all the wires. My internet connection is ontop of the desk as the people who installed it drilled a whole threw the wall, because otherwise it would have required running wires over the end of the counter, or drilling a hole threw the counter. The plug in is also on top of the desk. Which means, everything all the wires have ended up tangling on top of the desk. No matter what I do, I’ve taped them up, I’ve used ties on them, it still looks disorganized and messy. I’ve thought seriously about drilling a hole in the counter top, but it still doesn’t correct the issue with the plug in being on top of the counter.

I thought that since she included pictures, I might put her question out to all of you to see what creative suggestions you can devise for her:

What would you do to curb the cable clutter? Let’s help Sara solve her office organization problem!

61 Comments for “Reader question: Help curb my cable clutter!”

  1. posted by Melinda on

    I disagree with the person who said that the “no nagging” sign is clutter.
    It is very important that people don’t nag. This sign sets the boundaries. There will be no nagging.

    Nagging = clutter. :)

  2. posted by Mary on

    The Container Store sells something called a cable turtle that also does a good job of concealing wires and cables.

  3. posted by Susan W on

    Melinda, well said. Sara: NEVER get rid of your “no nagging” sign. :-)

    Enjoy the day, everyone. Susan Wiggs

  4. posted by tod hilton on

    Honestly, I’d replace the PC, monitor & keyboard with a laptop. You can find good ones now for around $500 (sufficient for email, web surfing, word processing, photo editing, etc.) and they have such a smaller footprint.

  5. posted by Melissa on

    My super-cheap suggestion: next time the clementines that come in those cute wooden boxes are on sale at the grocery store, buy one. Take special note to pick a box in good condition. Eat the clementines, then take the box and turn it upside down. Stick all your excess wires underneath and sit your lamp on top of it. Get one of those plastic corrals for the length that goes between the box and your monitor.

    I had to do something similar for my telephone that the previous owners have running through the kitchen. Quick, cheap, crafty & frugal!

    I would also measure the space between your desktop and the floor and then find a stool that will fit – that chair takes up way too much space.

  6. posted by Chamberlyn on

    My mom has basically the same set up in her kitchen, though she has a much smaller space. She is horrible with clutter, but she’s doing a few things right that could help Sara.

    1) As others have said, under-the-counter lighting is great. One less wire and less thing on the desk.

    2) Laptop. My mom just learned to use a computer, so she has her laptop front and center on her desk. She keeps it closed most of the time so that she can work over it and puts it up when needed. She just uses the touchpad so she has no need for a mouse (or mousepad).

    3) Wireless internet. If there are any other computers in the house, you wouldn’t even have to worry about finding a place for the router and such on the desk (or in cabinets).

    The only remaining cord would be the laptop power cord, and it would also free up a lot of desk space to be used for other activities. When company comes over, the laptop could be unplugged and put away, leading to a completely clutter-free space.

  7. posted by J on

    defrag the office…

    http://lifehacker.com/394387/d.....efficiency

  8. posted by Milo on

    Just received this on my inbox, something called CableBox..
    http://www.bluelounge.com/cablebox

    If you think $30 is worth it to clean up the mess.

  9. posted by Tania on

    I’m late to the party, but I have 3 of these and I LOVE them

    http://www.belkin.com/surgeprotection/clamp-on/

    ended the cable nightmare I had going on, no construction required…

  10. posted by zyzzyva57 on

    When reworking your cables make sure you can easily and quickly get to your wires and “boxes” so when you have that inevitable problem and have to do this and that for the internet/cable provider’s tech support, you can–CONSTANTLY PRACTICE AS YOU “DE-COBWELL,” CAN I GET TO XYZ FOR TECH SUPPORT

    Step back and note your “hot” spots, e.g., where there are cobwells of wires and boxes mixed in with others

    Separate out the cobwell that can be put on your right, then middle, then left, e.g., move those power plugs to a plug in to the left, middle, and right?

    Nex, de-cobwell from left to right, ALWAYS REMEMBERING CAN I FIND XYZ AS DESCRIBED ABOVE FOR THOSE INEVITABLE PROBLEM

    Next study the remaining sub cobwells and figure there might be/must be a solution–you are not alone in dealing with this type of mess, e.g., electricians–so visit Home Depot/Lowes and describe your situation and ask for suggestions

    If you are ready to notch it up and spend real money, check with Best Buy for advice and products, e.g., cordless speakers or flat monitors or laptops

    Too, RSS various shopping sites for great buys on cordless mouses, etc

    “Dollar stores,” pawn shops, and Goodwill stores are worth checking

    Use “industrial strength” Velcro to hold boxes to the back,sides,and under desks, REMEMBERING CAN I GET TO THEM TO GIVE TECH SUPPORT THE SERIAL NUMBER OF THE BOX OR ANSWER DO I HAVE THIS OR THAT WIRE PLUGGED IN

    RSS various such sites as this one and when you see a suggestion, pause and think: can I modify this or do this on the cheap?

  11. posted by L L Macpherson on

    Looks like this might be able to be solved by hanging a separate “curtain” from the underside of the cabinet above aobut 8 inches from the wall. Obviously all the electrical solutions have been addressed, however sometimes the aggravation of reconfiguring even the smallest thing can seem too much. This is especially true if you have kids and time is at a premium.

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