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By trace from Wartburg, TN
We have a few extension cords laying around that we only use at Christmas time. And that is only if we really go crazy with decorations, which doesn't seem to happen every year. I found that the best way to keep them neat and tidy was to wrap them into a coil and then secure it in two places with zip ties. It makes it easy to hang them on a hook, or even just stack them on the shelf with our Christmas decorations.
Note: This also worked well for our huge extension cord that goes to our generator! This is used even more rarely and is so bulky that it is hard to coil and hang.
I couldn't find a rubber band or any kind of tie to bind up my cord so I used a tube sock. First I cut off the toe end of it and stretched it over the cord that I had rolled up.
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I have several very long extension cords for my hedge clipper and other outdoor tools. Any ThriftyFun ideas for keeping them unsnarled when stored, but easy to unwind for use?
Claudia-MD from MD
You can use toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls or those velcro wraps to keep the cords folded and manageable.
wind them like they came wound up when purchased and put a twisty tie on them .
I also have those very, very long outdoor extension cords. We have a wooden spool that someone gave us who worked in construction.
My husband always loops his long outdoor cords. Start at the opposite end from the male plug. Make a loop about the size of a dinner plate. reach through the loop and grasp the cord. Pull through and make a second loop. Repeat to the end and plug the male end into the female end. Or with the trimmer, just pull the end through the last loop a second time to secure. When you are ready to use it, just release the last loop and pull. When they are looped like this, you can just drop them in a heap in a box for storing.
Try a monkey chain knot. It looks nice and is easy to extend. The only drawback is the time it takes to chain the cord but I find the effort worthwhile.
I also use a 'looping' technique to gather and store long power cords. (Other long cabling as well -- extension cords usually top out at 50', ethernet and XLR audio cables can be several TIMES as long.) Then, some sort of tie around all the turns of the loop -- reusable velcro cable ties can be handy to keep permanently on long cables, if they're not going to be subjected to outdoor use or construction debris.
If you need to store your cable with more structure, and not just as a big "ring of wire" (lamest.circus.act.ever!), one business I work with stores 50' outdoor cords on frames specifically designed for the purpose -- they're cheap plastic in garish safety orange and were a couple of dollars each at K-Mart. They're neither perfect nor indestructible, but they do at least help hang the cables. (Nice big orange handle/hook.)
I find, really, that the biggest issue in coiling cable is making sure to gather it so it settles into "natural" loops that won't be fighting to tangle, twist, or separate. A frame or spool can help with that as well, but since the probability of a specific tool for any application being in reach when needed is very nearly 0%, I prefer to rely on the tools I carry with me. Ideally, the built-in ones.
You can form a temporary winding frame for long cables by winding them around your forearm. Just bend the arm 90 degrees and hold it upright -- the cable passes around the outside of your upper arm just past the elbow at one end of each loop, and between your thumb and forefinger on the opposite end. Just hold one end of the cable in the "frame" hand and start winding. Untwist the cable and shake it out unitl it WANTS to follow around each turn, that way you get a nice, uniform ring that won't wriggle itself in 17 directions at once as soon as you let go.
The only tricky thing with this method is getting the cable OFF of your arm after it's wound -- took me a little practice, and wriggling around a little trying to get my arm free from the cable, but I eventually got the hang of it. (The trick: start by extending your thumb to "break" the U that forms the top of the frame.) It also turns out that my forearm is surprisingly similar in dimensions to those plastic frames... and both tend to approximate how such cables were bundled when manufactured and sold, so new cable's folding "creases" more readily follow the winding instead of fighting it.
You can buy an inexpensive garden hose rack at any department store (such as walmart). Just bolt it to the wall and you're ready to go.
I coil them up and use a cable tie. Cable ties are very cheap, and when I need to use a cord I just snip the tie off.
This is a nice way to reuse a milk jug to help keep your extension cords tangle free. This page shows you how to make a milk jug electric cord reel.