Organizing and storing cords and cables

Jeri recently wrote about how cords and cables can be a source of clutter. Reader Juli commented and asked how best to label and store useful cords.

There are many different answers to that and it really depends on what types of cords you have, how you use them, and available storage space.

A small carrying case works well for organizing smaller cords (like those for laptops and smart phones), and fits nicely in a desk drawer. It’s also easy to pull out and take with you when you travel, even if the only travelling you do is to the local coffee shop.

Reader Lucie suggested folding or rolling cords and placing them in cardboard tubes from toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls if the cords are longer. This is a great option for extension cords and larger cables that connect audio-visual equipment.

Johncanon commented that he stores cables on a rotating necktie organizer (probably similar to this one) that attaches under a closet shelf. He bent each of the 12 hooks upward to hold more cables so that in one square foot in a closet, he can store and quickly find over 100 cables. An under-shelf mug rack would also hold quite a few cables as would this sturdy necktie holder designed to hang on a closet rod.

For those that want to wrap or roll their cords, Velcro-type hook and loop tape straps are ideal for tying them up. These are also useful for keeping the cords for small appliances and power tools from getting tangled in drawers and toolboxes.

Reader Alex Q places cables in appropriately sized Ziploc bags. He labels each bag near the top so when the bags are placed in a box, it is almost like a filing cabinet — easy to flick through the sealed bags and to find the one needed.

For frequently used, long extension cords, a storage reel is ideal. It is easy to wind and unwind the cord whenever you need to use it. H-frame reels are great for strings of holiday lights.

There are several different options for labelling cords and cables. Reader Lucie suggested using the plastic tabs from bread bags or an address label folded over the cord and stuck to itself.

The Cord ID Pro system allows you to label and colour code your cables to match with your audio/visual equipment making it easy to set up your system. The Cord ID Pro parts can be reused if you wish. Another option is to use self-locking cable ties with built in label. They attach securely to the cables and are one-use only — ideal if you’re worried about losing a label.

Thanks for your comment Juli. We hope that this post gives you the information you’re looking for.

5 Comments for “Organizing and storing cords and cables”

  1. posted by Dorothy on

    1) Get rid of cords for devices you no longer own.

    2) Evaluate your need for multiples of the same cord. We’re finally seeing some standardization in cords, but it can be helpful to have an extra phone cord in your car and at work.

    Always downsize before organizing.

  2. posted by G. on

    For color coding, I’ve seen it suggested to use perler (sp?) beads for thinner cables. Also, paint markers work well and last a long time. And are multi-use.

    Any suggestions for SD cards? Especially to allow labeling? They used to come with a little plastic case that made handling them easier and you could stuff a little slip of paper in or write on the case. The last couple I’ve bought had just the card in the blister pack.

  3. posted by Juli on

    Thanks for this comprehensive answer to my question!

  4. posted by SkiptheBS on

    Best suggestion I’ve seen for SD cards is to label them numerically or by date. Storage is aluminum SD wallets, available for SDs and micros, eBay or Amazon. They take a cut-down index card.
    I cut tiny pieces of mailing labels and stick those to the cards.

    Monoprice sells rolls of black cord organizer tape for under ten bucks. Once again, a piece of mailing label on the surface can be used to note its home.

  5. posted by Greg Chabala on

    About cable storage: any time your cable stored so tightly that there are kinks, you’re doing it wrong, and damaging your cable.

    Here’s an example of what not to do:

    And here’s the proper way:

    In short, coil cables into natural loops, secure them with some kind of strap. Do not bend them into tight loops or wrap them around themselves like a piece of rope.

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