Does the back of your desk look like a spider web of cords? Our desk, which my son uses for gaming, was an eyesore. There are more than 20 cords once you factor in the router, microphone, headphones, amplifier, keyboard, ethernet, mouse and that’s before you add in the two monitors and the computer. I struggled with letting people go in the room at all because it looked so terrible.
I decided when he was away to take a bold step and disconnect everything and try to improve the way it looks. It doesn’t have to be perfect, better is good enough for me. Most importantly, it has to be inexpensive. It’s not super exciting to spend a lot of money to hide your computer cords.
First step for me is always to lose myself in the internet rabbit hole by researching cord organization. I watched videos and read blog posts before deciding to buy a few things.
Once I was armed with these examples (which in hindsight were unachievable) I headed out to the container store and purchased three items. My total cost was $30.28. I’ll tell you about each of these items later in the installation notes.
Cord Protector & Concealer by UT Wire –This is a system designed to attach to your floor to hide cords that have to go some distance across the floor. The only outlet that could be used for this room is in the closet. Two chords needed to go across the floor from the closet, power and ethernet. This cord protector is good in theory but it doesn’t lay flat for quite some time. It comes with double stick tape, but I didn’t really want to tape it to my wood floors. The double stick tape also appeared to be from the 1920s. It was terrible.
Scotch indoor mounting tape – I purchased this to attach my power strip to the bottom of the desk so that most of the chords could be tacked up to the top.
A headphone stand – This item didn’t improve the look of the desk, so it went back.
I also used items I had already including adhesive velcro and a small piece of furniture from Ikea.
1.) Hide Floor Cords – Ready to do battle with the cords, which I was dreading, I tackled the floor first. It took a surprising amount of time to stuff the cables into the floor storage protector. I struggled to make it flat but it served its purpose. It stayed flat after I put some books on it, but it doesn’t lay as flat as the manufacturer photos. I finally opted for a small piece double stick velcro at one end instead of the double stick tape included because it can easily be pulled up and cords can be swapped out. As a side note, the double stick tape included in the package looked like it has been around since the 1950s. The power cord goes in the bottom, so it’s better not to permanently secure it to the floor.
2.) Attach the surge protector to the desk. What a great idea… I put the mounting tape in two long six inch strips on the back of the surge protector. It seemed easy enough. The next morning I awoke to find these items didn’t stay mounted. They came unstuck over night. I added more strips to the bottom of the surge protector but switched tactics for the rest of the job to velcro.
3.) Velcro cords to the top of the desk and the leg of the desk. I tried to group cords together where possible. No post had recommended using velcro but it worked much better than double sided tape. I stuck one part of the velcro to the bottom of the desk after removing the sticky tape. I left the sticky tape on the other side and side of the velcro and grouped the cords up sealing them together with velcro. The beauty of this solution is that it’s very easy to take the cords up and down without removing any sticky surface.
4.) Add a small piece of Furniture for Storage – I had this small piece of Ikea in my bathroom for toilet paper in our hold house. Our new bathrooms are much smaller and there was no place for this. It works to hide some of the cord mess.
Takeaway Lessons Learned
The videos I saw on the internet don’t reflect the reality of what most desk organization projects look like. The reality is less perfect.
For example, if you use a mouse, microphone and a keyboard with a cord, there is no way to hide that completely. Let’s face it, cords have to be visible to use the computer. Why not go cordless you ask? What a great idea, but no dice for my son. He believes there is performance tradeoff.
I still think it looks drastically better. See the before and after photos below.
In hind sight, the most important lesson is not to let perfect be the enemy of good. This quote I owe to Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project”, my favorite book. My solution is far from perfect but it looks 95% better. A small plant and some nice looking books can also improve the way it looks significantly.
I think it would be good to add a few other organization tools like this cord organization tube. I tried something similar before, but this one looks like it can be much larger and allows for cords to exit the loop as needed. The problem with the tubes is that not all of the cords have the same beginning and end points.
I saw a lot of desks that were done with peg board. This might be a better option for next time. Have you tried to organize your desk cords? What methods did you try?
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