Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
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!
Never, Never do this. A cord coiled allows electricity to flow faster making more heat. Phones do not carry much power so there is no danger there. Anything else is dangerous. I sincerely hope no one does this. Ever.
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
Why didn't I think of that? Thank you for sharing. I'm always turning the plug this way and that way.
By coville123 from Brockville, Ontario
This is about the best idea I've heard in a long time! I recently bought some of those zip things that go in a 3 ring binder that I was using. I think I'm going to return them and get my money back.
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.
I have a lot of electronic adapter cords with the black boxes that plug into an outlet. I don't use them all the time. To keep it straight as to which item each one belongs to, I use white out, or a white out pen to mark them with.
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!
This is a guide about toilet paper tubes for organizing electrical cords. Electrical cords are akin to hangers when it comes to the disaster that can arise when they are not well organized.
This is a guide about labeling electronic cords. We all have numerous cords for our many electronic devices. Labeling them helps keep things organized.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
Does anyone have a nice way to hide all the electric cords behind the TV?
By Daniel from Ontario
Well, one thought is to use foam insulation tubes that are used to cover water pipes in the home. They are black, have different inside diameters such as 1/2 inch, 3/4 inch and 1 inch. are about 5 or 6 feet long and can be cut with scissors. They also are split the entire length so all one has to do is spread the seam and place the wires inside. They sell they insulation tubes at Home Depot and Lowes in the plumbing dept. if you want to check them out.
Zipties. Fold them each seperately back and forth to form about a 3 inch bundle and ziptie around the bundle. Do this for each one. You can use different colors to identify the item or add a tag.
Share on ThriftyFunCheck out these photos. Click at right to share your own photo in this guide.
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
Great idea - but I betcha your son wishes you'd had any other color besides pink! lol!
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
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.
I use an empty toilet paper tube to enclose a coiled extension cord or a long appliance cord. It shortens it while plugged in and keeps it tidy. (12/09/2004)
By Katie A.
I'm an old guitar picker, and as such we always had a lot of cords which HAD to be kept untangled. Mic cords, extension cords, speaker cable, etc. What we did is take one end of the cord in one hand, crook the elbow to about a 90 degrees, then wind the cord between hand and elbow until it was a nice, tight roll. Tie it off with the last end of the cable itself, and toss it into the case with all the rest of your cables. Next gig we didn't have to untangle all that mess. (12/10/2004)
Use a toilet paper center cardboard tube to store your extension cords - you can write on the tube so you know what's inside. Keeps your wires neat.
By tandek589 (03/01/2005)
I saw this on another post and here's the short version of what I said there. I did this as well, used the cardboard roll. Until my father-in-law, a certified master Electrician, told me that it was a major fire hazard of which he knew personally had cost human lives. He said it's the equivalent of putting kindling on a flame if the cord should spark. I now use a twist tie from the bread bag. Please be safe and consider what I've said. Nothing can replace a life once taken, but a little thought can prevent it all together. (03/01/2005)
By Suzanne S.
All you need is to get a pack of zip ties. They should be in the hardware section of a place like Wal-mart. They look kinda like clear plastic twist ties. Work great and are cheap! My husband is a computer tech and always uses them. (03/01/2005)
Rubber Bands work very well too. They are cheap, flexible, handy ,easy to store and easy to replace. (03/15/2005)
Use velcro strips, the stick on kind. Stick a strip of the hook side to a strip of a loop side, sticky sides together, cut the strips the same length that will be long enough to go around your cords. Then roll up the cords and wrap the velcro around them and stick the velcro end on to the other side hooking it together. This also works well for hooking a cord to a microphone stand, etc.(04/30/2005)
One of the best ways I found to fix the cord mess is at Home Depot. For $1.99, you can get this cute little plastic gripper thing that adjusts to all different sizes and holds things perfectly. If you don't want to spend the money, then just turn to the good old fashioned shoe lace from a pair of old shoes. Fold your cord up however long you want it, and then wrap the shoelace around it a few times and then tie it off (08/08/2005)
I have found the easiest way to store these are to buy those pony tail holders from the dollar store and use them like you would a rubber band. Rubber bands tend to break easily and they rot from heat and use. The pony tail holders last forever. (08/19/2005)
By Sandy P.
Based on a previous tip via a google search I coiled my 100 foot cord into a 5 gallon bucket, with the male end in first sticking out about 3 feet so I can plug it into the wall. Then I just pull out as much female end as I need. This particular cord was getting severely tangled every time I wanted to use it so I'm pretty stoked on this idea.
I have seen some people wrap long cords up with these braided loop type constructs that can be de-looped as needed, but I can't figure out how to do it. (06/09/2007)
There's a gadget I found at a site cablecordorganizer or organizedcablecord. I think they're better than clamps or other things that you wrap cords around. You wrap the excess cord around the gadget - the cord stays in place with a clever flap that folds down around the wrapped up cord. Works great! There's one for small cords too which I use on my mouse cord at home. I never tried using it on an extension cord - but I'm sure it would work on a thin, light duty extension cord. Maybe not on a heavy duty thick one. (10/04/2007)
I use twisty-ties and when storing I also use baggies. For cords that I need for computer related items, I bought an over the door hanger (plastic) with clear pockets. This holds my USB cords for camcorder, camera, son's toys, mp3/ mp4 players, etc. I put these in baggies and then the holder and also label with a sticker attached to the cord - this makes it much easier to identify what equipment the cord is supposed to go to. (01/05/2008)
By Gina T.