Organize Your Cable Mess with Labels | The Thinking Blog ~ Knowledge Grows When Shared
Futurist Educator

29 June 2007

Organize Your Cable Mess with Labels

Did you ever accidentally unplug your computer instead of the printer, because you couldn't tell one plug from the other in your power strip, and lost all the unsaved work? With computers, printers, phones, gaming systems, sound systems, network hubs and all the other electronic devices we use at home, under your desk is a natural place for cable clutter to build up. Here's how to tackle that cord jungle growing under your desk!

Putting labels on cables will make it easy to distinguish them from one another. This might not seem important, but it comes in very useful when you have to troubleshoot devices or test ports for connectivity. If you label your cables during installation, it will make your life much easier later on. It also helps when you label the cables that you are not using, especially with chargers, to figure out what cable belongs to what gadget.

First, you need to keep track of the cables you'll be identifying. Power cords are a good place to begin with. USB cables, including those used by the input devices (e.g. keyboard and mouse) and external peripherals (e.g. hard drives, cameras or media players), are also good to label. When moving cables in and out of a USB hub, you may not be able to keep track of which cable goes where unless they have labels indicating which device they connect to. Marking Ethernet cables is also a great idea especially if you're hosting a LAN party. Labeling those network cables before makes the gaming setup easier. For example, you can label them with the name of the computer or the player, and eliminate the process of tracing the cables back to the computer by hand each time the situation changes during a tournament.

Now that you've seen the cable labeling, the possibilities are endless. You can even label the cable jungle behind your entertainment system. If you're not sure which cable goes into which jack, you can label the cables one at a time. If you're a musician in a band, you can keep track of which cables belong to which person as well as where each cable goes. You can also use this in the kitchen. If you have a power strip that has no available outlets left, labeling the power cords makes unplugging appliances a whole lot easier. Now you'll know what you're unplugging if you temporarily have to use a blender or toast machine.

If you have a lot of cables to label, then consider getting one of those label printers to save yourself some time and effort. Label printers can put crisp clear texts on your cables, making it both legible and durable at the same time. You don't want labels to come off and get all mixed up again. With printed labels on cables, you won’t need to panic about wrong ones getting disconnected anymore!

Advertisement: The Dymo® Label Buddy is a compact, handheld, and affordable labeling system at just $7.99! The device uses no batteries and works with "turn and click" mechanism to create distinctive embossed adhesive labels for all your cables and gadgets. This initial investment will save you time and effort in the long-term.

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