What the Tech? Organize the Wiring at Your Desk
One of the messiest, most cluttered areas in any home these days is underneath and behind the computer desk.
With so many people working from home at some point in the last year it might be even more cluttered as we’ve added devices, gadgets, and portable hard drives necessary to work and go to school remotely.
Take a look behind your desk if you can take it. Maybe I should say, ‘if you can even see it’. It’s a mess, right?
I probably have more wires than most people. In addition to what’s typically connected, I have lights, microphone, multiple cameras, multiple portable hard drives, and two monitors. I didn’t count them but my best guess is more than 20 cables connecting to my computer in one way or another.
I set out to find a way to organize them all and rid my work area of the mess underneath the desk. To do it I picked up a few cable organization tools along with an extra power strip, heavy-duty duct tape, a special power strip that hides the main outlet, a set of cable organization clips I found online, and a wire basket found at most any big box store.
There are boxes like these for tucking in power strips and cables but I went with the basket. It’s a personal preference.
My favorite new addition is the Sleek Socket This is an outlet cover that adds a small power strip while hiding the outlet where everything is plugged into electricity. Before, I had two huge AC plugs sticking out from the wall.
One goes to my rising computer desk and the other to a power strip where everything else was plugged into for power.
The clever Sleek Socket plugs directly into the outlet and extends that one outlet to a power strip with 4 extra plugs. The Sleek Socket also comes with clips to attach the power strip cable to the molding on the wall.
Once I gathered all the organizational tools I turned off the computer and unplugged everything including the power cable to the computer. It’s a good idea to label the cables and where they go.
Now to put things back together. I used one of those plugs in the Sleek Socket to plug in my extra-large power strip where everything, including the rising desk, would plug into for power.
That meant the power cables for the monitors, a USB hub, desktop speakers, a light strip that sits behind the monitor, and a hard drive case that houses an old-school hard drive.
I placed the power strip in the wire basket and tucked in all of the cables through the gaps in the basket. Once I had everything in place, I attached the wire basket to the underside of the desk with the duct tape and a few clips.
I have had to re-attach and strengthen the holds with more tape as the basket filled up with a couple of pounds of wires and charging bricks.
Finally, I began connecting everything back into the computer ports. Right after I wiped down the floor and vacuumed up the many dust bunnies and potato chip crumbs (a couple of jelly beans too).
Instead of connecting the USB wires into the computer itself I used a USB hub and plugged the microphone, portable hard drives, web camera, and microphone into the hub for power.
This also limited the number of wires into the computer and further minimized the cable clutter. There
are many hubs to choose from and I suggest choosing one with its own power supply.
This one from Sabrent has 10 USB 3 slots It took a few hours to complete and about $50 for the outlet cover, power strip, basket, duct tape, and cable clips but the space behind my desk is finally organized. Anyone looking at my desk against the wall will only see the one cable coming out of the Sleek Socket and just a bit of the wire basket mounted to the bottom of the desk.
I’m also upgrading the dated wired keyboard and adding a Bluetooth keyboard and matching mouse that’ll plug directly into the computer with just a tiny USB plug. In the near future, I’ll upgrade the monitor situation from two 24″ ViewSonics to one wide-screen monitor that’ll allow me to get rid of one more power brick and cable sitting in the wire basket.
Cable clips under the desk keep some of the smaller cables out of sight as well.
The end result is a much neater work area. It took time, a little money, and lots of planning and effort to organize it all but it was worth all of that to eliminate the tiny bit of anxiety I felt every time I looked behind my workstation.