Have any clutter clusters that you’ve grown so accustomed to that they’ve morphed into decor? You dust around them, you scoot them about, overlooking the mound until you’re searching for something buried within or tidying up for a party. That’s when they come screaming into view, shocking those dormant domestic neurons to attention. Yikes! Where the heck did that come from?
For me it’s power cords, along with their irritating (yet necessary) cousins: video and data cords, computer cables, printer cords, mystery cords. We all have them, bunched and coiled together anonymously, waiting to strike confusion into the organizationally challenged mind. We’re forced to confront them at the worst times, too—like when we’re rushing to a meeting and desperate to resuscitate a phone, or connecting new TV equipment in time for the big game.
I was asked to put my organizational skills to the test by attempting one of Ziploc®’s Fresh 180 challenges, daring me to organize my household electronics (cords and all) by personality. Fortunately, the challenge description was chock-full of clever tips, which gave me the confidence and tools I needed for confronting this all-too-common problem.
Label Your Cords
The first tip is an easy task—simply sort and label your cords. For those already plugged in, just trace them back to their origin and label accordingly. Ditto with the loose cords, though tracking those back to their origin consisted mainly of my shouting, “Hey! Does anyone know whose cord this is and what it’s for?” This reduced the pile somewhat into organized and labeled bags, but did produce one Ziploc® Brand Bag labeled “Mystery Cords.” It’s likely filled with cords for phones, gaming devices and 80s-era cassette players long-gone, but just in case… I have it.
For labeling cords themselves, I followed the challenge tip and used colorful duct tape, which I have in abundance thanks to a 15-year-old daughter. Paired with a fine-tip permanent marker, it’s a great low-budget labeling tool. You can even color-code wires: power, data, video… if you’re feeling truly inspired.
Create a Charging Center
The second tip in the challenge, and frankly my favorite, is to create a centralized charging center for everyday devices. I strayed a bit from what—I think—was their intent of one charging center for the household. Instead, I set up a centralized charging station per person where everyone seemed to want it most—on their bedside table. Since we’re a mobile phone-only family and keep phones bedside at night, this made perfect sense.
I first placed six-outlet power strips near each bedside table, taking care not to tuck them out of reach because these cords often go mobile with their devices. I then set everything up to leave the chargers plugged in below and keep the device plug ends accessible from the tabletop. To do this I ran the cords through adhesive hook-and-loop tape attached to small trays from the dollar store. I finished off the sticky part of the top strip with a bit of ribbon (my crafty moment of the day).
Voila! No more reaching for those maddening inaccessible outlets or for cords that have snaked behind bedside tables. Plus the tray keeps everything tidy and together – and it’s cute, if I do say so myself!
Bag Cord Clutter
The third tip is actually one I’ve used before (clever me!), using Ziploc® Brand Bags to sort and store extra cords at home or when packing for trips. I’ve already mentioned the “Mystery Cord” bag, so I’ll not rehash how simple it is to label and store seldom-used cords, especially if you actually know what they’re for.
Pint-Sized Ziploc® Brand Bags and labeled each with a family member’s name along with, “Cords-For Travel.” I then placed them where they will be found when needed; in each of our travel toiletries bags. Talk about a brilliant reminder to pack our power cords when we next venture out!I’m not packing to go anywhere at the moment, but I don’t want to lose this opportunity to pre-organize for upcoming travels, so I followed their advice and grabbed three
In fact, now that I’m done busting clutter I may carve out time for a weekend away. Complete with the necessary cords.
Disclaimer: I was paid to develop this post for Ziploc®. As always, all opinions and project photos are my own.