Tips for Cleaning Up Your Messy Cables

Cable management at your desk is akin to cleaning your room. It’s a pain in the beginning, but once you’re done, it’s almost therapeutic. Unfortunately, vacuuming and putting things away isn’t enough. To properly hide all your wires, you’ll need a strategy and at least a few hours set aside.

Everything you need to know about desk cable management has been condensed into a simple 5-step guide. You’ll feel the joy you didn’t know you needed if you follow it through to the end.

Things you need.

  • Zip ties or Cable ties.
  • Double-Sided tape.
  • Cable Management Sleeve.

Step 1. Remove Everything

If you’re starting from scratch, that’s ideal. If you haven’t already, now is your chance to start over with a blank slate. Proceed after disconnecting your PC’s peripherals and everything from your surge protector.

Step 2. Set up near a power source

The location of your power strip is an important part of your desk cable management puzzle. Our natural instinct is to plug it into the nearest available power outlet and start plugging things in. However, if you strategically place your surge protector, you’ll have a much easier time managing your cables.

Assess your situation and decide which of these three positions will work for you:

A) Under the desk

This is typically the best location. All of your power cables can be routed away from view behind one of the best pieces of cover at your disposal, your desktop, by mounting your surge protector underneath your desk.

B) On the Floor

Mounting your surge protector isn’t necessary if your desk setup already provides plenty of protection. The best place for your surge protector is sometimes on the floor, out of sight.

Places to stow your surge protector include:

  • Between the wall and a desk cabinet
  • On the side, behind other furniture and objects

Step 3. Add cable management

You might be fortunate enough to have cable management features built into your desk. My trusty IKEA Bekant, for example, came with its own cable net. Even if your desk is literally a plank of wood, cable management features are simple to install.

Compartment for cable management

A cable management compartment, such as a tray or raceway, attaches to the underside of your desk and aids in cable routing and concealment.

IKEA Signum and Amazon’s J Channel are two popular cable management compartments. Take one and slap it under your desk, and voila, you’ve got cable management.

Holes & Grommets

Does drilling holes into your desk sound crazy to you? Crazy or not, many people do it in the name of cable management. The most common hole I see is for keyboard and mouse cables.

Small holes like this can easily be hidden so there’s no need to dress it up. But if you need a larger hole in a more prominent position, you can fit it with a grommet to make it look nicer.

Adding cable management features to your desk takes time but is well worth it.

Step 4. Route & Reconnect

We finally get to play with cables, which has been a long time coming!

Everything must be reconnected

Begin connecting all of your peripherals to your computer, hiding and guiding your wires as much as possible through your cable management features. Carry out the same procedure with the cables that lead to your surge protector.

Everything should look pretty good once it’s reconnected thanks to your thoughtfully hidden surge protector and cable management features. All that’s left is to clean up.

Tighten any loose ends

There will be cords that, despite your best efforts, will not fit neatly into your cable management compartment. Some cables will dangle loosely, and large cable bundles are unsightly. This is the point at which you tighten everything up.

To manage stray cables that didn’t make it into your cable management compartment, use cable clips. If you don’t have a compartment, you can use a slew of cable clips to keep everything tucked away on your desk.

Use cable ties or zip ties to tighten up any loose bunches of wires together, especially watching out for these spots:

  • Where your cables connect to your PC
  • Where your cables connect to your monitor
  • Wherever there are lots of cables grouped together

If you can’t help but leave a few cables exposed, a cable management sleeve can be used to neatly wrap them up.

And that’s pretty much it—you now know everything there is to know about desk cable management.


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