Labeling Cords: Organizing A Big Tangled Mess


labeling gadget cords

Do you have a big tangled mess like this at home that haunts you? Do you enjoy the thought of spending a whole day organizing cords you’ve got shoved in a big plastic bag or tub? 

how to organize ipads and kindles

The good news is that you can label those cords today in 30 minutes or less, and actually find what you need later on.

I honestly don’t use my label maker for everything, but this is the one project where a label maker consistently shines. If you have one, just print out a label and either stick it on the flat part, or wrap it around the cord (in the same way airlines wrap your destination tags on your luggage). If you don’t own a label maker, then a Sharpie and a piece of masking tape or painter’s tape will work, too.

If you are labeling computer equipment cords, be sure to label both ends (the computer side and the electric/other plug side) so you can easily find both when making a switch.

Label carefully. Tech changes so fast, that it’s easy to be too general, and still not know what you’ve labelled. Instead of “Phone”, try “Darla’s iPhone 4”. Anything that leaves the house or goes to conference with me also gets my phone number. For the small, mobile gadgets, like auxiliary batteries or microphones, I label both the gadget and the cord the exact same way, so I can match them up later. I even labeled my lens cap!

organizing cords (2)

And because the pile tends to be all black cords (or white cords for i-people) and thingamabobs, Washi tape helps me distinguish mine from the pack.

Remember all those gadgets you and your kids got for Christmas? Take a minute now to give them a label. I promise, it’ll take only about 30 minutes, but could save you more than that someday when you look at a pile of cords, wondering which one is the one you need. When they are all labeled, you’ll be able to recycle the old ones at the right time, without fear.

Also, you might remember that I’ve shown you how to create your own DIY iPad organizer to store multiple gadgets and that we used a hanging jewelry organizer to neatly store those cords once they are labeled.

how to label and organize cords

Go ahead. You know you’ve been meaning to organize and label your cords. Start with the ones in your pocket and on your counter.

This post is part of my 31 days of 30-minute Organizing Projects. Be sure to subscribe for daily emails  with projects you can complete in just a few minutes to start your New Year off right.

New Years organizing projects


This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Pat Young

    Really KLOVE these ideas. Thanks, Pat

    1. Darla

      So glad you like this. Cords can really trip up the organizing efforts!

  2. PammyPam

    all the more excuse to buy some washi tape. or a labelmaker. or both. GAH!!

  3. Kathy

    Another idea: A lot of jewelry sellers now package their jewelry in these sheer bags which are too small for just about anything. However, they are perfect for cords and since they come in different colors it’s easy to throw them in a drawer and pull out “the tan one with my camera cord in it”.

    1. Darla

      That is a great way to package cords and small accessories, but it is still a really good idea to label the cords themselves. You have no idea how often people hand me cords with no idea what they go to, and so they are afraid to part with them.

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  6. Leslie

    Thanks for your ongoing great tips and inspiration! Question: When doing labels – how do you recommend securing them to chords, surfaces that bend, or small flat surfaces? Most times I try to use labels on these, they end up falling off.

    1. Darla

      Hey, Leslie, thanks for stopping by. When I’m labeling cords I use the wrap-and-stick method, where the label goes completely around the cord, and then the two ends stick together, much the same way the airlines put your baggage tag on your suitcase. Can you picture that? If the surfaces bend, it’s important to use the right material, which will also bend. Painter’s tape and packing tape are both pretty great for this. If you have a pretty label that you are using, you can go over it with clear packing tape, so you can still see your pretty work. I also recommend getting a label maker with high quality label tape. The less expensive label machines and tape just don’t hold up as well, I’m sad to say. I like Brother machines and TZ tape, which holds up over time, even through the dishwasher. Hope that helps.

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