With phones, cameras, MP3 players, portable game consoles and so on, the number of electronic gadgets in a household today can get overwhelming. The struggle to keep track of the right chargers and find enough outlets to plug them into has led to the use of dedicated "charging stations." These can be a simple shelf or drawer and a power strip, or a commercially produced unit with numerous bells and whistles. If your needs lie somewhere in between, it is quick and easy to build your own station.
Things You'll Need
- Wooden letter tray
- Power strip
- Cable ties
- Gadget chargers
Letter Tray Charging Station
Choose your letter tray. This is where your gadgets will sit while charging. Wood is ideal because it will withstand the later sawing without its structure being too badly weakened, while cardboard ones tend to be rather less durable. Metal wire trays are available, and have the advantage that wires can easily be threaded through the gaps, but your gadgets are more likely to sustain scratches if you use one of these.
Gather your chargers together. Plug them all into the power strip, and use the cable ties to fasten them together. Put the last tie at least 9 inches from the ends with the gadget connectors on them, so that there is enough free cord to place each in its own slot later. If the cords are not all the same length, make loops in the longer ones to even them.
Use the hacksaw to cut narrow slots into the back of the letter tray. These should be the same width as the power cords, and narrow to a “V” at the bottom so that the cords are gripped securely. Make sure that the slots are not too close together, or the wood between them may break.
Feed the power cords into their slots with the connector ends inside the tray, pressing them down into the bottom of the slots so that they are held firmly. When your gadgets need charging, simply plug them in and place them in the tray.
Tips & Warnings
- It’s not necessary to have a container like the letter tray, but without one, things will tend to spread out. It’s neater to confine everything to one small space. Likewise, cable ties are not essential, but will help keep things tidy.
- If all of your gadgets can be charged over USB, you can use a powered USB hub (i.e. one with its own power supply) in place of the power strip. This will be less bulky, and if the station is placed near your computer, you can connect the hub to it so that your devices will sync as they charge.
- Other ideas for charging stations can be found in the Resources section.
- Power supplies and tangles of wiring can present a fire hazard. Therefore, it’s best to ensure that they’re not packed together in an enclosed space in a way that may increase the risk of overheating.
- Amazon: Letter Trays & Stacking Supports
- Photo Credit Green Cables image by Charlie Rosenberg from Fotolia.com