Cords for small appliances, chargers for batteries or electronics, media and computer cords can become tangled and easily misplaced. This is a guide about organizing electrical cords.
Editor's Note: After Lilac expressed concern about this tip, we did some research and asked an electrician for their opinion. Basically, this process should be only attempted with cords that carry a low voltage, like USB charging cables. Even then, there is some risk of heat build up, damage to the cord or the device being charged. It should definitely not be done to larger, thicker cords that carry more current. Even loops of extension cord have been known to cause fires. We advise against using this tip for anything but a decorative or craft purpose. It is safer and better for the life of your expensive electronics to leave charging cords in their original condition.
I hated my drawer of various phone, camera, and other power cords and remembered a trick I heard of. Wrap your cord around a straw or pencil and tape it on both ends, then use a hair dryer to heat the cord up for about 4 minutes. I kept putting my hand under the air to make sure it wasn't getting hot enough to melt anything. Let the cord cool completely and remove the tape from both ends. Wa-la! A coiled, much neater power cord!
Do you have cords to plug into an outlet and are always trying to plug it in upside down, because of one prong being wider than the other? In the correct position, put a dab of white out (liquid or tape) on a dark-colored plug or draw a black spot with a permanent marker on a light-colored or white plug. I always do a tiny heart. Sure has made my life easier - sometimes it's the little things!
By Vicky from Central KY
Have you got a box full of tangled leads or electronics cords? Some, or most of them will fit inside a toilet paper roll middle so you can keep them neat and tidy. If you want to be extra organised, don't forget to label them. It is surprising how quickly and easily you can forget which is for what.
I have a lot of cords laying around ,so I decided to roll them up and put them into some old cassette cases we had around. It makes them easier to store and find. Great for earphones, phone cords etc. It also keeps them from tangling.
I have a lot of things that use the adapters with the little black box on the cord that plugs in to the electrical outlet in order to use. Each one seems a different size.
A friend recently gave my son a hand held game, but we needed to buy a charger for it. The charger recommended at local store is one that has five different adapter options. Once I found the right one for his game, I painted the plastic part of the plug with a small amount of pink nail polish so we can easily find and plug it in.
By Stacey B from Topeka, KS
I bought a 50 cent tin to match the decor of the room and cut a square hole in the back. We pushed all the phone cord and extra computer line through, hooked it all up, put the lid on the tin and now all the mess is "contained".
I found a great tip to keep computer cords or any cords organized. Hook a bread tag to each cord and label what cord it is. This will keep you out of a tangled mess of all those computer cords we have!
I have various electrical appliances with detachable electrical cords. I didn't really like storing the cords inside the appliances because of scratching and didn't like them lying around in my cupboards or drawers.
Take empty toilet tissue or paper towel cardboards and use them to store extension cords, Christmas string lights, or any cords in them. They work great.
Does anyone have a nice way to hide all the electric cords behind the TV?
By Daniel from Ontario
The best method is looping then into a loose 'figure 8' which you can them zip tie into a bundle. DON'T make them into coils as that has the chance of generating a magnetic field. I had a problem with my vcr that would get wavy lines in anything I recorded but worked perfectly at the repair shop. The guy asked how I had the excess wire arranged and when I told him I had 'looped' them in a circle, he told me to 'figure 8' them . I did and the problem disappeared!
I have 5 chargers for my electronics. I keep from getting them mixed up and tangled up by sticking them in their very own ziplock. The quart size is perfect. I put on the front in marker what device the charger is for and they get stored nice and neat in my desk.
Wrap up excess electrical cord and use a hair band (thread covered rubber band) to keep in place. It keeps it neat and out of the way.
If you have several small appliances sharing an outlet in the kitchen like I do, just use a permanent marker to label which cord prong goes to what for example: can opener, blender, toaster etc. then no more guessing which one to plug in.
Tired of your electrical cords getting tangled, like your curling iron hairdryer or other bathroom apparatus with a cord? Save the cardboard holders from the toilet paper tube and insert cord into empty cardboard tube place on shelf or wherever. No more tangles of cords!
My pet peeve is the cords hanging behind my TV or an open table. Recently we had some problems with a bad cord and had problems making them all neat and out of the way.
Have any electrical cords hanging around your house and you don't know how to keep them neat? Fold them up and insert them into an empty toilet paper tube, then store them in the utility drawer
Another use for a paper towel cardboard holder is to put your appliance cords in them. Even if the cord doesn't disconnect from the appliance, it will protect the cord and keep it from getting tangled in the drawer.
When moving electronics, I find it helpful to mark my cords so that when I am ready to set them back up, the cords are not a tangled puzzle. I mark each cord with a different colored dot of nail polish.
Tired of your electrical cords getting tangled, like your curling iron hairdryer or other bathroom apparatus with a cord? Save the cardboard holders from the toilet paper tube and insert cord into empty cardboard tube place on shelf or wherever.
Organizing electrical extension cords when not in use. Save empty TP rolls. Fold your cords in lengths of 8 inches and insert each one in an empty TP roll. Write on the outside of the roll with a permanent marker the length of the extension cord inside of the roll. These will stack neatly in a small plastic basket and you know what size of cord you are getting each time.
By Marbilite from Indianapolis, Indiana
My mom does this with hers. We don't really need/use extension cords in the house, we use them outside, and those are too big for the toilet paper/paper towel rolls! But it's still a good idea for the indoor extension cords. :-) (07/23/2010)
If you're tired of all those electrical cords hanging from your iron, beaters, hair driers, etc., one good way to keep them from being in the way is to get the cardboard roll, after you've used the paper, and store the cord in the roll. It will stay put and be handy when you need to use it.
Using the plastic inserts in the center of Scotch-type tape are handy for storing small electrical cords. (08/23/2004)
If by chance you are worried about the roll getting wet or just want to pretty it up, cover it with self adhesive plastic (contact paper). If pretty is not an issue, cover them with the plastic bags a lot of newspapers come in. (08/24/2004)
I did this and it worked great. Except that when my father-in-law, who is a certified Master Electrician came over - he threw a major hissy fit. This is a huge fire hazard and is like providing kindling if an electrical fire should start. He works for the Quality control and Safety department of his company and they have received numerous calls from the fire department naming this as the cause of devastating house fires. Some of which resulted in the loss of lives. So please find another solution. I now use the twist ties from my bread bags. Because as cheap as it is, it could never be worth risking your life or the lives of those you love over. Be safe and take care. (03/01/2005)
By Suzanne S.
Good point. I don't believe the tip is for appliances that are in use. I agree it could be a fire hazard. But for appliances that are stored in the cupboard, that are not plugged in, it can keep the cord from being smashed under other appliances. Make sure to take the paper roll off when you plug it in.
I'm sorry. You're right. I should have been more specific. I was only referring to using cardboard rolls on items you keep plugged in to a power outlet. Anything you store away from a "spark" or heat source would do very well to have the cord stored safely and conveniently away with a roll. Take care and be safe. (03/01/2005)
By Suzanne S.
Does anyone have any suggestions for how to keep cords organized so you can use them, then roll them up and store them for quick reuse?
Ward from Ontario, Canada
Use empty toilet paper roll to store appliance cords. It keeps them neat and you can write on the roll what appliance it belongs to. Hope this helps
I use empty toilet paper tubes. They're small enough to put in a shoe box for storage. What I do is label the roll (i.e. extension 2ft, phone cord, etc.) then I stuff it in then store in the shoebox.
I put computer cords that I connected to a stip plug into a basket on the floor under the computer desk. It is neater than the cords just lying loose. (02/13/2005)
By Joan Cooper
A good ole elastic band works too. However I do use the toilet paper/paper towel rolls too, that way I can write on it, what it is and which appliance it is used for.
I coil up my cords and hang them on nails inside my linen closet. (02/14/2005)
Twisty ties! (you get a bunch when you buy trash bags) If the cord is too long (ie. from computer to wall outlet) then bunch it up accordian style then wrap a twisty tie around it. You wont have excess amount of cords cluttered around your PCU! This works for phone cords, TV's, fans, etc! (02/15/2005)
I wrap them like a figure 8 and put a rubber band around them, then I put them in separate bags, like what you get from Wal-mart, grocery where ever. I then put them in an old duffle bag.
By KAY N
Contact "Cable Clamp" on the Internet. They have the best answer to cable storage. (03/15/2005)
Hair clamps. They're available at dollar stores in various styles and sizes. I've been buying them to keep cords organized. Or you may already have some from your kids stuff that they don't use anymore. It's so easy to use and cheap too. (11/25/2006)
Use Cable Ties! For cables that are rarely used, get ones in a nice color. For frequently used ones, get the releasable kind! They are re-usable and always stay in good shape. They come in various lengths and have been very useful for me. (07/07/2007)
The way that cords come is a clue, I suppose.
Christmas lights come on a cardboard card with notches. One circled around, one notch.
Some thin plastic cords just won't be kept untangled by looping them and tying them off with shoelaces. The band equipment idea seems the same except for the 90-degree angle of the arm. 90-degrees. Remind me if that is the elbow is out straight?
I'm tempted to get something entirely different that resembles the Christmas cord idea. I don't suppose these big stores like Home Depot have such ideas? If not, I'm tempted to make some sort of small, non-sharp fork-end shape.
The way thin cords come in their packages is about as easy to duplicate as re-folding a very large map quickly while sitting at the steering wheel on a very hot day. Sometimes it's easy (if the chord is only 10 feet long... nearly impossible if longer than that.
The "twistem-shoelace-pony-tailholder" ideas only work for me with thick or short wires. The "figure 8" has not worked terribly well for me with long hoses or any other long cords. (09/12/2007)
Why can't all long, thin cords come in a device like a retractable measuring tape? Like the newer dog leashes in holders? Perhaps wound round and down a long plastic or light metal tube like tin-foil unwraps from a tube, but in tight circles... oy. There is likely a business that does nothing but make rewrapping devices.
Some 12-y-old inventor probably has the answer.
It says, "make it behave!" Train your cord! (09/12/2007)
I've tried keeping cords organized for years. I usually unplug everything and untangle. But i found a solution that reduces this problem. I found it at www.organizedcablecord.com Easy to use, inexpensive. I am using them to solve just about every cord problem in my house and office. Also www.cablecordorganizer.com Same site. You wrap the cord around the gadget and can have any length cord you want (except longer than the cord itself, of course!) You can even store the cords wrapped around this gadget. There's a thingy for both big and small cords. (10/04/2007)
Tips for preventing extra cords and wires from becoming a tangled mess. Post your ideas.
When storing those extra extension cords, just fold them several times and insert each one into an empty toilet paper roll.
I take empty toilet paper rolls and cover them with wall paper samples to make "covers" for the cords on our small appliances.