Storing electronic cords and gadgets

Revanche from A Gai Shan Life posted a comment about having an issue with packratting and keeping Apple boxes (mmm..pretty..) and trying to figure out how to keep everything organized with taking up less space.

I could have sworn I wrote a random post about this about trying to organize electronic cords but I may have deleted it in my craze to organize my blog. Sowwie!

My arsenal consists of a crazy amount of cords for my external hard drives, cords for my camera, my scanner, my laptop, my PDA, and my cellphone. (I’m nuts I know).

I researched into a ton of ways on how to organize cord clutter, and the basic gist I got from everyone that ‘works’ is to put them into huge freezer bags, label them and keep them all together.

I am not a fan of freezer bags, and call me girly, but I like it in something a bit more eye appealing. I don’t know why. It’s not logical, but I want to be able to search for my cords a totally logical, yet eye appealing way!

Is that too much to ask for?


But I came up with a good interim system.

I searched out this wonderful velcro strips, got a pack of large white label stickers and found a pretty little bag to store them all in.

You can also use a box for this if you want (I like Revanche’s. It’s cute.)

Figuring which cord is for which

All I did was label every single one of my cords near the end. I took out a white label sticker, put the middle of the sticker right on the cord and folded the ends to meet up together perfectly.

Then I wrote on every single one in clear handwriting to tell me what each cord is used for.

Cords like the Apple ones weren’t labeled because at first glance I know exactly what they’re used for (as a sync cord for example) and I don’t need to label them.

For some, I labelled the actual plug itself rather than the cord of the plug because the cord was too thin, or there was enough space on the plug.

Organizing all the cords

I wrapped every single cord with a little velcro strip. You have to wrap large-ish loops, and then put the velcro strip right around the middle. This is so that you do NOT bend the cord which will cause performance issues later.

You have to wrap it loose enough, but tight enough so that it doesn’t slip out of the velcro noose in the bag.

Find a pretty box/bag to throw them in

I used to use that bag to carry toiletries. Now that I’ve cut down on makeup and beauty stuff, I just use it for tech stuff.

Now if I ever want to find a cord, or I am confused as to what it’s for, I just dig my hand deep into the bag, and either pour them all out so I can see them all at once, or I just pick out one at a time until I find the one I want.

It works great because these are smaller kinds of cords, and they all fit into one big bag.

For my laptop cords for example, I just fold them up normally and I know what they’re for, so I don’t even bother labelling or velcro-ing them (my Dell comes with its own little rubber wrap).

Works out pretty well. I never use the wrong cord for my electronics now (sometimes they look really similar but don’t have the same data transfer rate).

What about documentation?

As for manuals, I tend not to keep them because you can download almost every single manual in PDF format on the internet, which is what I did.

I only kept the receipt and stapled it to the warranty.

Then I started just scanning them in as PDFs and labelling them:


No more paper.

What about hard drives?

As for my external hard drives, which was my biggest problem, I found these (not so cute) cases from Case Logic that are a hard shell, with a little mesh section for the cord, and a bungee cord section to hold your external hard drive.

Meant only for portables of course.

Got them for $12 on sale each at Staples. Totally worth it. I have 6 of them, 3 in black, 3 in blue (they also came in an ugly muddy red), and they’re easy to unzip, check out to see which one it is… and it organizes the cord to be kept with the actual hard drive which was my biggest headache since I normally travel with 2 hard drives.

I also saw a case for a large 1 TB (Terabyte) hard drive, but it was $50 and not very cushion-y inside. Plus I saw it as unnecessary. I am not planning on constantly travelling with 1 TB on the plane. It’s why I have the portables.

What NOT to use to wrap your cords

Those plastic cable ties (not the flimsy ones you use to tie up little garbage bags or bread bags), I am talking about those huge, thick, white plastic ties that can hold an insane amount of weight together because they are RIDICULOUS.

They will hurt your cords (by bending the cord itself and ruining the inside), and is not as flexible or as forgiving as a velcro strip and are used like so:

They are also a PAIN IN THE ASS to remove.

Once, we had some idiots at work basically twist tie everything together with those suckers.

I struggled all day to get my scissors right under the plastic part without damaging the cords, to cut the damn tie off.

In the end, the cord was so twisted out of shape from being bent so long, it was unusable.

I also don’t recommend using big clips to hold wires together unless you are planning on holding the wires together in a long straight single file, without loosely wrapping or bending them.

Bad. Very bad for wires.


Naturally, you can do the plastic bag thing which is a lot easier if you aren’t picky, stick to having a tangled mess, or do it Revanche’s way, throwing the little boxes into a bigger box. But I find it takes up a lot of space and I am kind of the person who doesn’t want space to be taken up especially when I have to travel a lot and pack my cords with me in an organized manner.

I once went on a business trip without my little velcro strips and at the end of the trip I almost pulled my hair out trying to untangle the little wires.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.