Gamer clutter

I must admit, I’m not much of a gamer. The last console I owned was the Nintendo 64, but a few of my friends live for gaming. They own multiple systems and they usually have controllers scattered around the floor that I always almost crush while heading to get a beer.

If you are a gamer, try and keep your entertainment system under control and the gaming clutter to a minimum. Here are some tips I’ve come up with:

  • Go wireless. All the most current gaming systems have the option of wireless controls. Some XBox 360 controllers have wires, but they also offer wireless. The Nintendo Wii and the Playstation 3 don’t even offer wired controllers, but if you are living in the stone-age and you have a PS2, you go can also go wireless. This way your friends won’t trip and kill themselves when they are trying to get a beer.
  • Put it away. I know I sound like a parent yelling down into your dark and dingy gaming basement, but when you’re not playing the game simply put it away.

  • Try and subsist on only one system. I know there are gamers out there that pull out their Atari 2600, Intellivision, or TurboGrafx-16 for nostalgia purposes, but try and figure out which current system is right for you and stick to that one. I know the hard core gamers are going to scoff at this one, but try and humor me. Besides, if you are handy with electronics you can try and shrink your Atari into a portable console. Also, newer systems are backwards compatible with prior version. For example, the PS3 can play PS2 games and some PS1 games and the Nintendo Wii offers titles for download from their older systems through their Virtual Console. (Even TurboGrafx-16 titles).
  • Make sure your entertainment center can handle all of your systems. If you can’t get by on one measly system, make sure your entertainment center isn’t too small. Have something suitable for your gaming needs. Luckily, all the new systems are constructed in a vertical space saving style that can help ease the clutter. Or you can construct your very own gaming cart like the one pictured above.
  • Consider Gamefly (the gamers equivalent of Netflix) as an alternative to purchasing games. I know there are games you must purchase, but some become boring after you manage to beat them.
  • Store your video games somewhere. Don’t leave the discs laying out on the floor or on top of your entertainment center. Either purchase something to store the games in or use a drawer or shelf. Leaving them strewn about may get them damaged and unplayable.

32 Comments for “Gamer clutter”

  1. posted by Arjun Muralidharan on

    I recently got rid of my beloved Xbox and a bunch of games because of clutter. We have a Wii, and the classic games that you can download are a great option. The Wii also brings Internet to my living room, thus banning laptops and their power cables from entering the den.

  2. posted by Chris Rasco on

    As someone who runs a gaming website, trimming down to a single console is not an option, but I’ve taken extra care to keep the clutter to a minimum. I have all the game consoles on a single shelf, all the games in CD wallets (separated into one for the kids and one for the adults), and all the controllers in a basket that sits on the shelf below the TV. It keeps things nice and tidy, until the kids get into it all.

    A few other tips:

    -For Wii owners looking to play Gamecube games, you need to hit eBay and pick up a Wavebird controller.
    -The PS2 is fully backwards compatible with the PS1, but the PS3 is not 100% so make sure you check before upgrading and tossing out that old PS2.
    -The Xbox 360 receives regular updates to the backwards compatibility list. In fact, the most recent one came out last night.

  3. posted by Ryan on

    I just have friends that buy all that crap. Clutter at their house means none at mine! Yay!

  4. posted by Cyrano on

    Second Chris on the wavebird controllers. They are rock solid, have great battery life, and perform excellently.

    I’ve had four of them for years now, and every one of them still works like it just came out of the box.

  5. posted by Temoshi on

    I was wondering when we’d see a gaming-related post on Unclutterer. One other option to consider in order to cut down on the number of games and systems is emulation. Some people may have a moral opposition to this, but when it comes to games that are 15+ years old, I really don’t see a loss of profits. One modded Xbox can replace a whole slew of older systems. There are also legal options, such as those games on Virtual Console and Xbox Live Arcade.

  6. posted by Jules on

    It might also be a good idea to shred (or otherwise dispose of) all the games targeting children for military recruitment. One might need a much smaller cart as a result.

  7. posted by Courtney on

    Jules – you might want to watch it a little. Not everyone thinks that the military is such an awful career path for kids to choose. (Also, if every kid who thought war games were cool went on to join the military, we wouldn’t be in the kind of enlistment crisis we’ve got now.)

  8. posted by Courtney on

    …re-reading, I think I sound like I’m implying something I didn’t mean. What I’m trying to say is that clearly, “yay, military simulation game!” doesn’t automatically translate to “yay, let’s go join the armed forces!” Sort of like how video game violence doesn’t actually correlate to real-life violence.

  9. posted by Erin at Unclutterer on

    “subsist on only one system” … ha! … oh, Matt, you sure are funny!!

  10. posted by Tom on

    Ah finally a post for gamers. I am still looking for the BEST possibility to stack up, rack up, put up all of my consoles (possibly on a low-board). I have a Wii, PS2, XBOX1 (modded, replaces the media center), XBOX360. Quite a lot…

    Anyone any “very minimalistic modern looking” ideas?


  11. posted by Temoshi on

    I’m not sure I really like the cart idea. Personally, I’d much rather go with a nice (but minimalistic) entertainment center from IKEA and a small bookshelf for games. For controllers, I put everything in a plastic drawer (the sort of thing you’d find at Target) with all of the cords wrapped up in rubber bands.

    I’m kind of debating what to do with system boxes. I’ve kept pretty much all of them, since having the complete package increases a system’s value if I were to sell it. At the same time, it’s not totally necessary and it’s taking up space…

  12. posted by Stan on

    Hmmm. I think sometimes things just HAVE to take up space, so unless your name is Yoshi DeHerrera you’ll just have to deal with NOT putting all of your consoles together into one splendid box.

    I do like the idea I read above about CD wallets, BUT… the best way to keep scratches off of disc media is to never scratch them in the first place — which CD wallets do — if you shuffle the discs around a bit. And trust me: one well placed scratch can cost you the ability to complete your game… ever. I suggest getting slimline double cd jewel cases (they’re on amazon). Those babies cut down space by 75%! And if you’re soooo stuck on keeping your manuals and the cover artwork: 1) 90% of games train you to play them in game nowadays and 2) you can always scan the cover art.

    And a rack? Nah, I think I’d go with a minimalistic entertainment center, like Temoshi mentioned.

  13. posted by roothorick on


    Standing a console vertically is NOT a good idea. Consoles are made to look like that for display purposes, and rarely hold up when run that way. Your system will last a LOT longer if you just let it sit flat.

  14. posted by oneighturbo on

    ha, awesome. i just finished my setup and have been meaning to come over here and search for some gaming post.

    I can highly recommend the elfa system at the container store. So easy to design, order and install. Literally, drill 4 holes, mount bar, and everything else is “plug and play”! Place everything on shelves, plug in and GO!

    Pictures on my flickr

    *hope the links work here.

  15. posted by Andamom on

    Other thoughts:

    1) How about getting rid of a DVD player if you have a PSP?

    2) Discarding (recycling of course) the game cases — and putting the games into a folder with sleeves? (Chris Rasco suggested something similar)

    3) Trading your console and games with your friends — so that you only have one console on hand at a time?

    4) Giving away an item from your household for every challenge or high score you obtain?

  16. posted by Andamom on

    Doh — on #1, I meant PS2 or PS3 (not a PSP).

  17. posted by Becky on

    Is the cart show above premade or custom (home) made?

  18. posted by Korijn on

    I use an A/V Source Selector so I can keep all my devices connected and merely have to press a button in order to switch between consoles.

    The wires are all neatly wrapped behind the cabinet they are in so that’s no trouble and I wrap the cords around the controllers after use.

    I store my games in a large DVD stand.

    Works good enough for me.

  19. posted by wufflebunny on

    Temoshi – I also keep all my system boxes, but I store stuff in them so the space is not wasted.

  20. posted by Jarick on

    Also going to back up the don’t use a console vertically comment. My slim PS2 (replaced an old PS2) died after about 6 months on its side. Motor burned out. I really don’t think they’re meant to spin sideways.

    I barely play games, but when I need a hockey fix in the offseason, PS2 with wireless controller does it. Going to be replacing it with an XBOX which will also play classic console games via emulation when modded.

  21. posted by Nic on

    I’m interested in getting one of those carts that’s shown in the article – I love that it has those great little catcher hooks to keep controllers in place. Where is it from ?

  22. posted by Erin at Unclutterer on

    Nic —

    The cart is assembled with the metro shelving we linked to in the post. It’s a “build your own,” in the sense that you buy it in pieces. Someone out there may be making them and reselling them, but we haven’t been able to find such a person. The Container Store near my house sells all of the pieces pictured. I think that the game controllers are actually made for wine bottles. Also, Ikea sells a similar metro shelving type product, which might have all of the pieces necessary. Good luck!

  23. posted by squid on

    That’s strange, because they show the consoles stacked vertically in all the advertising materials and promotional photos, that would be a huge liability if they were not showing intended use. I mean, I didn’t see a warning in the manual for my Wii or PS2 stating explicitly NOT to do that; I know it’s a really bad idea to shift the console from vertical to horizontal (or vice versa) while turned on with a disc in it, but my Wii has been upright since launch and my PS2 has been upright since I got it in 2004 or thereabouts and it’s fine. Your mileage may vary.

  24. posted by Julio Gutiérrez on

    If you are one of those nostalgia guys that can’t get rid of your old gaming systems, you can consider PC and Mac console emulators. Games run as good as in the real thing, and you will have everyting (gaming system and cartridges) in just one device: your computer. You can begin by taking a look at

  25. posted by Whitt on

    Both my PS2 and Xbox 360 have been running since their release days vertically – I’ve never had an issue.

  26. posted by Fenimore on

    I think one of those entertainment centers from ikea would work for most people, it works for me. It has 4 sections, for consoles and audio receivers . And under there is a drawer for controllers and extra wires.
    I agree that putting games back in the case is important. Some of my friends just leave them laying around and its enough to make me cringe. Maybe because im such a freak about keeping my video games clean and crisp.

  27. posted by Anonymous on

    Honestly, the best way to do games is to use the PC.

    TV Card + Game System + Wireless Controller.

    Of course, this can get complex (as all computer things can), but I find it is far more manageable to use a bookshelf and put my PS2s (both American and Japanese) with my computers (laptop and desktop).

  28. posted by calvinx on

    Great rid of the games, get off your ass, and actually live an adventure instead of dicking around with a virtual one.

  29. posted by Max on

    clavinx thinks he’s cool, but he certainly comes across as an insufferable douchebag.

  30. posted by Jasi on

    I second those fabulous ideas:
    -wireless remotes
    -consolodate cases (toss the plastic- wish they sold without)
    -donate ps1 and your dvd player
    -ikea markor tv armoire keeps everything stowed away nicely. we cut more air holes for better performance and mounted a black powerstrip on the side (out of site) to conserve energy when we’re not playing. we’re still looking for suitable butterfly hinges, if anyone knows – hook an uncluttering sista up.

    we also share games with neighborhood kids. rule is, one of theirs for one of ours, one week. name is on the top. it’s mega fun. and who has better games than neighborhood kids?

  31. posted by Erik on

    For those fans of the NES, compact lightweight top-load systems are to be had on eBay for $15 – 40.

    The hardware patent on the Nintendo recently expired and companies are making all kinds of clones. No cleaning kits necessary.

  32. posted by Matt on

    I third everything said here BTW

    – There are also wireless controllers for xbox (Logitech Precision)
    – Consolidate your games
    – If you have old consoles replace them with emulation (usally everything below ps1 tech can be emulated on a modded xbox)
    – Drop the DVD player

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