When I decided to abandon my cushy office job and join the world of the self-employed, the first thing I needed to do was set up my home office. What many people forget about a home office is that it’s in your home, so it needs to look attractive. Where piles of dusty cables behind your desk in an office building don’t concern you much, they’re far more of a bother in your home environment.
With no IT department hanging around in the basement to help me when my network cable came unplugged, I needed quick and easy access to all my cables, plugs and paraphernalia.
‘Wireless, wireless, wireless’ was my mantra. Less wires equals less clutter.
3. Aesthetically Pleasing
As you can see from the picture, my desk is in a very central location in my house, between the living room and the kitchen, so it needed to look as attractive as possible.
After a lot of trial and error I came up with this system for controlling cable clutter using these 5 simple gadgets.
1. Surge Protector
This vital piece of equipment performs double duty, protecting your gadgets from electrical surges and keeping all your cables neatly organized. I opted for a Belkin 8-Outlet Surge Protector. The 6 foot cord and detachable cord-management clip, combined with the option to wall mount it, means I can keep the cables neatly tucked away and up off the floor.
I mounted it centrally under the desk and labeled each cable with a handwritten bread tie (an idea I stole from ThePhotographersLife via Pinterest). If you want to get a bit fancier, or don’t eat bread, you can find a vast array of ready-made cable labels at office supply stores for around $6.
2 & 3. Wireless Gadgets
I have a wireless keyboard and touch pad and a wireless printer. It is amazing how much cable clutter this reduces — easily a third of my cables are no longer an issue. And when wireless charging for phones and tablets is finally ready for primetime I’ll be first in line, cutting out another third of my cable clutter. I dream of the day where the only cable on my desk is that elegant Apple iMac power cord.
4. Keep the Cables on the Table
Until that wireless charging revolution becomes a reality however, I will rely on this ingenious little gadget by Quirky. Cordies quite literally does what it says on the packet, keeping my charging cables on the table and within in easy reach, i.e. not constantly dropping behind the desk.
5. iPhone Dock
This was a bit of a splurge, but totally worth it as it does double duty as a stand and a charger for my iPhone, which is easily my most used accessory. I purchased a short lighting cable to connect the dock to the back of my computer so that I don’t have to deal with hiding an unwieldy charging cable. A good tip if you have lots of devices you charge on your desk regularly is to charge directly from your computer, rather than taking up precious space on your surge protector.
As you can see, the combination of the Cordies and the iPhone Dock, combined with Apple’s ingenious cord holding design, keeps the cable clutter at the back of my computer pretty streamlined:
I truly believe a cluttered desk equals a cluttered mind, and even if you have a pile of paper and cables off to the side of your desk, you’ll be surprised at how much having a clean, clutter-free surface to work on will boost your productivity.
Jennifer Tuohy is a writer who works from her home office. She writes for The Home Depot about the challenges of being self-employed and provides technology solutions to make things run more smoothly. To find a selection of cable management products, visit homedepot.com.