Cable management might be something that you’ve never really given much thought to. After all, it’s easy to get a new computer, lamp, or other electronic item, plug it in at your desk, and never think about it again…until you’ve done this a few times and need to unplug one of them or move your desk, only to find you’ve got an absolute mess on your hands.
Or perhaps you’ve just purchased a new desk and computer setup and want it to look as swanky as a stock photo, but you have no idea where to start. Where do all of those cables go? Are the electronics in that stock image you’re trying to emulate even plugged in?
The answer, in both cases, is under desk cable management: the art of taking a bunch of cords and effectively and efficiently keeping them from becoming an eyesore. In this article, we’re going to look at what makes cable management key and five steps to set yourself up for success.
Why Is Cable Management Important?
It’s easier now than it was a few years ago to get a lot of wireless devices. But even with a laptop and some wireless accessories, chances are that you’ll still have a few cables laying around your workspace between the laptop charger, a lamp, and a USB device or two. Because of that, “going wireless” isn’t always a perfect solution to your under desk cable woes.
But what if you’ve never considered cable management before? If you don’t unplug things very often, you might be wondering why you should bother with organizing your cables now, especially if a cleaner appearance isn’t your primary concern. Believe it or not, there are a few very practical, non-aesthetic reasons to corral those cables.
Does Cable Management Affect Performance?
Never underestimate the power of a pristine workspace. When you think about having a clean look to your desk, you probably think first about the impact it has on others, whether that’s coworkers, prospects, or simply some house guests. But it affects you directly, too.
It’s safer. Loose cables can be a liability, even if it’s just for yourself in the comfort of your own home. You could trip on them, accidentally tug on the wrong one when you’re unplugging and bring something crashing down onto your head, or damage the cables themselves by stepping on them.
You’ll save time and frustration. Ever go under your desk to quickly unplug something from the power strip, only to realize all of the cables for your computer look the same? With proper cable management, it’ll be much easier to trace the cables back to their origin – or, if you choose to, you can have your cables labeled and never have to guess again.
You’ll also save some money down the road. If you don’t properly manage your cables, chances are that your cords will be susceptible to sagging, which can place unnecessary weight on the ends that will eventually cause the wires inside to fray or for the cord to not sit right in its connection. Or, if someone trips over or gets snagged on a stray cable, you might end up with damage to the port on the device, which could be a costly fix.
Does Cable Management Improve Temps?
For the most part, it isn’t temperature that will be affected by proper cable management. Rather, cable management is fantastic when it comes to allowing appropriate airflow and efficient cleaning so you can prevent dust buildup, which is a much larger concern than temperature in the vast majority of cases. This is true both inside and outside your PC!
So How Can I Hide My Cables?
Now that we’ve taken a look at just how much you can benefit from a little bit of cable management, let’s take a look at how to get the perfect setup. We’ve taken what could potentially be a painstaking process and boiled it down to five easy steps to ensure that you get the most out of your workspace.
Step One: Start With A Clean Slate
You probably already have a thing or two plugged in at your desk, or maybe you’re taking a currently messy workspace and looking to freshen it up. Unplug it all! Take all of the cables out of their connectors that you can and set them aside – but make sure you keep track of which cable goes to which device.
Make sure you unplug everything from both ends if at all possible so you can start with a totally clean slate. You’ll thank yourself later.
Step Two: Power Strip Placement
Where you can most discreetly place your power strip will depend on your setup – but it will also dictate how everything else comes together. Because of that, picking the ideal place to put your power strip is crucial. Two of the most common, discreet, and effective places to mount your power strip are going to be either on the underside of the desk itself or on the wall behind your desk, but you can also conceal your cables well on the floor if need be.
Option A: Mounting Your Power Strip
If your workspace is on a “standing desk” that moves up and down, you’re going to want to go for the under-the-desk spot. This way, you don’t have to worry about extra cable length to account for when you move the desk, which could make it harder to keep your cables hidden. If you go this route, however, make sure you choose screws that won’t go all the way through your desk and poke out of the other side.