It’s time to declutter cables and chargers

Sometimes a theme emerges from Uncluttered’s professional organising and decluttering work. Recently, it’s been cables and chargers. There have been bags, boxes and drawers of tangled cables in every home and office I’ve visited. And that’s not to mention all the loose ones lolling in corners and trailing from any surface you care to mention. And the earbuds and headphones, of course.

Cables and chargers and more laid out on a table
Photo credit: Juhan Sonin (CC BY 2.0)

Different cables and their connectors

Technology continues to race ahead, leaving some devices high and dry and others deeply unfashionable. We’re talking about phones, tablets, laptops, other computers, printers, radios, televisions, videos,  cameras, fitness trackers, e-readers, games consoles, bike lights …

They’ve all got cables, connectors and possibly chargers. There are the networking cables like coaxial, ethernet, HDMI, and the USB cables and all their different connectors. Somewhere you’ve probably got cables and chargers you don’t use but that you’re keeping, just in case. It’s time to sort them out.

How to declutter and recycle cables

First of all, make sure that all the working devices in the house have the necessary cables. Check with everyone else. Remember that not all new devices come with cables or a plug so some cables have to do double duty or even more.

Next, discard cables and chargers that don’t work. And discard broken headphones while you’re about it.

Then, discard cables that don’t connect to any working device. And discard non-working devices while you’re about it.

Finally, reduce the number of similar cables if you can, but make sure that there are still enough for all the personal devices in the household. This should help to avoid tension and squabbles about recharging.

Have a look at these suggestions of what to keep and what to get rid of. It might encourage you.

Now recycle the discarded cables and devices at your local recycling centre. This video shows how waste electronics are recycled.

Organise the remaining cables and chargers

Labelled cables and chargers
Photo credit: Judit Klein (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Label each cable with a sticky label or masking tape.

Then wind or fold the cables loosely. You could secure them with elastic bands, wire, ribbon, string or velcro cable ties.

A further step, if you want to be very neat, is to put each one (or each type) into freezer bags, old toilet or kitchen roll tubes, or old sunglasses cases. You could also consider a cable organiser or electronics accessories case.

A cable organiser with cables and chargers
Photo credit: Tim Walker (CC BY 2.0)

Where to store the cables and chargers

Where do you store your labelled and neatly rolled cables and connectors? It boils down to:

  • with the device
  • near the place you charge the device
  • in a central location.

It could be a basket, a drawer, slung over a kitchen roll holder or in a box with a lid. At the end of the day, somewhere that makes sense to you is the best place.

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