Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday focus: organizing cords, cables, and headphones

Small electronics may be the fastest-growing category of stuff that Americans acquire. Those gadgets come with a lot of cords, cables, cases, and headsets you may not use anymore.This Friday's decluttering focus is on the stuff that comes along with your electronic devices: cords, cables, and headphones.

How much do you find? They're sneaky little buggers, hiding in drawers you didn't expect...some of the the plugs might even still live in outlets! Here's the mess that I found:

First, we purge:

Then we organize.

Here are some of my favorite tips for organizing cables and cords:

  • Used, cleaned ziploc baggies are great for storing cords and cables. Small jewelry gift boxes can also work.
  • Winding the cords up is an important to keep them from tangling themselves.
  • Use rubber bands, binder clips, hair ties, or old bread bag ties to tie them up.
  • Keep them all in one place!

Careful with the binder clips. If they're too small they'll damage the cords.

And voila! Instantly organized peripherals drawer. Now I just have to make myself put them back in the baggies when I'm done.

Seven more items gone and my cords 'n cables drawer is much neater!

The Reckoning

Items 52, 53, and 54: a computer charger, three cellphone chargers, one USB cable, and two cell phone headsets.

Cost: I probably spent about $20 on the headsets and about $30 on the chargers. The USB cable likely came with an old camera so I won't count it. The laptop cable came with the laptop so we'll call it free too.

Why did I get rid of them? They were duplicates, or they only worked on phones I don't have anymore.

Fate: The local thrift shop. If you can't donate them to a thrift shop, Verizon will recycle them. You can also try selling them on I took the laptop cable into work and donated it to our IT department.

Total money wasted on junk: $258. I could've bought a scalped Taylor Swift concert ticket with that money. Sigh.


  1. In my house, there's a name for that pile of cords and other stuff: Tech Dreck. Congrats on purging those items. You're inspiring me to go home and do the same. I have a "shoe" organizer on the back of my office door with 24(!!) pockets, each holding a treasure from rechargeable batteries, speaker wire, headphones, USB cables of 7 varieties, RJ-45 cables, phone cords and so, so much more. I've kept it around because it's "organized" but the truth is, I haven't actually needed to USE most of it, so it really should go...

  2. Hi Kate, thanks for commenting! Sounds like you're at least halfway there -- using a shoe organizer for cables sounds much better than a drawer! I may suggest that at my office. Great idea! Good luck purging your collection and thanks for reading!

  3. I decluttered a few of these items from my life last week.

    I placed them in little plastic snap lock bags with all items relating to 1 product together eg: lost phone - headphones, charger, booklet in one bag. Lost camera - CD info, connectors and plastic bits in another. And so on.

    I then took these well organised bits to a second hand dealer selling electrical and technology bits and bobs at a market where I went to purchase fruit and veg. As I walked past him I offered them and he was very happy to take them off my hands. And I was happy to prevent them from entering landfill.

  4. Hi Frugal Down Under! That's fantastic that you could find a second hand dealer for electrical items. I need to find some of those in the states. Apparently lots of people want to get their hands on old electrical items to strip the wires for copper. And they'll purchase the items from you!


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