How To Do Cable Management Effectively for Your Desk
How seriously do you take desk cable management? If the answer is “not very,” you may be in for a shock the next time you look under your desk!
The good news: no cable situation is so messy that it can’t be undone. As long as you stick to simple, time-saving techniques, you can fix things in no time. That said, if you don’t feel like doing it again next year, you should invest in futureproofing as well.
If you’re not sure how to do cable management, your best bet is to start with a clean slate. First, disconnect all cables and peripherals from your PC and power strips. Then, read on for what to do next!
Position the Power
The power strip is an essential part of any cable management puzzle. If you place it tactically, the whole operation will go much smoother.
One popular spot for a power strip (or surge protector) is the underside of your desk. By mounting it there, you can get all your power cables far enough from your desktop. All you need to make this happen is some double-sided tape.
If your desk provides good cover, you don’t have to worry about mounting at all. Instead, place your power strip between the desk cabinet and the nearest wall. If it’s still visible, try moving it behind other objects or furniture on the side.
Now, it’s possible that your desk doesn’t provide any cover and mounting isn’t an option. For instance, you may have a glass desk. In this situation, consider hiding your power strip in a cable management box.
Move Your Cables
Once you know where your power strip will go, it’s time to look at the cables themselves.
Ideally, you’ll move them to places under your desk that are hard to see but easy to access. Some options include the underside (again) and rear panel of the desk. Try to keep as many cables off the floor as you can to protect them from accidental kicking.
One way to keep your cables suspended is to use laminated mug hooks. Hang an office file sorter or small kitchen dish rack on them and place the cables inside. You can also use threaded cable ends for mounting an improvised basket.
The nice thing about this method is that you can also run cables through the gaps in the basket. This makes it easy to plug or unplug them when needed. By adding a few more hooks, you can use them as an anchor for your bundled cables as well.
If your desk doesn’t support mounting hooks, consider using a pegboard instead. Alternatively, try attaching a wooden panel with an adhesive strip. This can be a great way to move your cable schemes between work areas without having to start from scratch.
Use the Right Cable Ties
When it comes to how to cable manage, bundling is essential. The issue is that nobody can agree on how exactly you should go about it.
Once upon a time, most IT professionals used zip ties. This method has since fallen out of favor, as zip ties require tools to remove. Twist ties are a bit more popular, but they often seem unsightly and can be hard to use.
These days, your best bet option will be to rely on elastic cords fastened with coat buttons. This method checks all the boxes: cheap, stylish, and flexible. All you need to do is push the cord through the button, loop the tie around the cables, and fasten the other end.
For particularly unruly cable bundles, consider using spiral cable wraps. You can find them in home improvement stores, but you can also make them yourself. For example, old spiral telephone cords are perfect for the job.
Control the Connectors
Your connectors are the next key element of computer cable management. They should be close, compact, and easy to identify.
You can use something as simple as a binder clip for this purpose. Attach it around the nearest edge of your desk and run your connector through the handles. If the table is too thick for that, attach the clips to a desk caddy or cellphone tray.
After a fashion, a hollow book can also serve as a desktop cord manager. Clip a few notches in the back of the book for the cord bundle and each connector type. You can then place the box under your monitor or another location that’s easy to reach.
If you’re not opposed to spending money, there are many stylish cord control options out there. These can be anything from LEGO figurines to brushed metal cable weights.
Tie Up Loose Ends
For every cable you use, you likely have two that don’t leave storage. If you ever need them, though, you’ll want to know where they are.
To do that, collect all your unused cables and bag each one in a clear plastic bag with a zipper top. They’re great for preventing cable tangles, and you may already have a few in your kitchen. Then, put the cables in a box and keep them away from the desk.
While you’re prepping your cables for storage, don’t wrap them in too tight. The more pressure you apply, the more likely you are to cause crimps or similar damage. This is particularly true for old cables, as they tend to get brittle with age.
If you can’t straighten some cables, hang them someplace warm for a while. If they seem crimped, it’s best to replace them before they cause trouble.
More on How to Do Cable Management
Once you know how to do cable management, your desk will look quite a bit nicer. Follow the tips outlined above and you should be good to go!
Keep in mind that the impact of cable management goes beyond cosmetics. By keeping your cords in the right place, you won’t have to worry about your kids or pets sending your laptop flying. Plus, you’ll always be able to find an open power outlet for your new toys.
Want to know more about the concepts of under desk cable management? Trying to get the most value out of a new laptop? Keep reading our Computers & Technology section!