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Ask Slashdot: Extreme Cable Management? 242

Posted by timothy
from the worthless-without-pics dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I am not a fan of wireless except for Wi-Fi to a notebook, but have gotten frustrated by the vast amounts of tangled cables around my computers: I have two machines, four monitors, multiple external hard drives, cable modem, network switch, router, USB hubs — everything requires power and connection to the other devices. The tangles and tangles make it almost impossible to move anything without spending twenty or thirty minutes under the desk. I'd rather untie balled-up fishing line than try to snake a monitor cable out from some thirty or so other wires. Anyone have good ways to prevent this?"
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Ask Slashdot: Extreme Cable Management?

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  • by swschrad (312009) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @03:25PM (#41897517) Homepage Journal

    I have also been caught using colored CAT-5 cables.

  • Wire ties (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @03:25PM (#41897525)

    Buy wire ties, or flex-tubing, or some other sub $20 cable management and stop leaving your loose wires to get tangled?

    • Re:Wire ties (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @03:36PM (#41897721) Homepage Journal

      Buy wire ties, or flex-tubing, or some other sub $20 cable management and stop leaving your loose wires to get tangled?

      Yes. Reusable cable ties, because you never know when you'll need to add another cable and don't really want to keep replacing cable ties.

      Rubber bands eventually dry out and fall apart. Electrical and duct tapes leave a gummy mess. If it's a single cable and going to be along a wall for a while, get some of those little nail in cable holders from the hardware store, put then in along the baseboard, to keep your CAT5 out of the vacuum cleaner.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Buy a roll of velcro and a pair of scissors or use black innerduct.

    • Re:Wire ties (Score:5, Insightful)

      by flirno (945854) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @03:45PM (#41897897)

      I use velcro ties.

      • by careysb (566113)
        +1 Velcro, the way to go
      • by guttentag (313541)
        I like these: Scotch Cord Organizer Straps [officedepot.com]

        Found them at Target a couple years ago, haven't had an issue with cords since then. They have a soft felt on one side, tiny hooks (smaller than normal velcro) on the other and aren't as bulky as regular velcro. Use them to bundle the cords together at regular intervals so they can't get tangled. Or loop excess cord and use this stuff to hold it in a loop.
        • by Nerdfest (867930)

          They're fantastic. If you're in Canada (well, US too, I suppose), this is a much better price [leevalley.com]. If you're a serious woodworker or gardener, you may know about this place already. Ikea also has some nice cabling solutions.

      • Velcor straps, as used for RC planes & cable management are the way to go. They are awesome in so many ways. For instance, If you want to add a new cable, you can either velcro it to the existing strand for cabeling speed, or simply undo each strap, add the cable and re-close it which isn't much slower. Cabeling is SO easy now! Just don't use too many of them or you may find them obnoxious, I used about 1 strap every 2ft.

        My gaming PC has 7.1 surround sound (an old logitech 5.1 plus a stereo kit for t

      • +1 for Velcro cable ties. They can be picked up at your local big box store for next to nothing and do a great job wrapping bundles of cables.

        I've even seen these used in very large (peta scale) compute installations for the same task.

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      Velcro. Available at the hardware store.
  • I do not advocate (Score:5, Informative)

    by alphatel (1450715) * on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @03:25PM (#41897539)
    I cannot ask you to view cableporn [reddit.com] as it is very addictive.
  • Binder clips (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slaker (53818) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @03:26PM (#41897553)

    I stole a bunch of large-ish binder clips from work. I binder clip stuff together. Binder clips have loops, so I stuck some screws in the underside of my desk and hung the binder clips with excess cable on them.

    It's not super-pretty but it works just fine.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      I stole a bunch of large-ish binder clips from work. I binder clip stuff together. Binder clips have loops, so I stuck some screws in the underside of my desk and hung the binder clips with excess cable on them.

      It's not super-pretty but it works just fine.

      I never use binder clips for wire/cables. So much better for keeping my bags of chips, salad, tortillas, french bread, etc. closed. Darn useful things, ain't they?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Set up your desk so that you can easily go behind. Get several layers of trays running along the back - along with a few larger trays to hold things like power bricks. Get some coloured tape, and match opposite ends with colour, or some other useful scheme.

    I've screwed big old rectangular plastic food containers to my desk at home, underneath the main surface, and it works great and keeps my cat from strangling herself. At work, I have three layers of long metal trays as well as power-strips. I also hav

    • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

      Also, don't try to concentrate everything in the same place. Put plugstrips on both sides of the desk, use the "pop up ports" for things that aren't fixed location like laptops. Get those multi-port USB chargers (there are 4-port ones that can be recessed in the wall like a normal receptacle).

      If you want to go all out, use a common 12V power supply for 12V equipment, and modify plugs for any low-amp 5V equipment to use the multi-port USB chargers.

      Shortest cords possible...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Unplug it and use a new one wherever you're moving to.
    If the location you're moving to has an unused spare cable, use it.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Unplug it and use a new one wherever you're moving to.
      If the location you're moving to has an unused spare cable, use it.

      I cleaned behind/under my desk a few months back. I found I had 2 wall warts plugged in, but powering nothing. Wonder how much those contributed to my power bill each month. Each was just a little warm. Checking your wiring from time to time isn't a bad idea, to make sure you remove unneeded cables or powersupplies.

    • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

      Not married, eh?

  • Print out "DO NOT TOUCH ANY OF THESE WIRES" on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper, tape to something in highly visible area.
    Done.

    google image search with above phrase for implementation examples.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Print out "DO NOT TOUCH ANY OF THESE WIRES" on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper, tape to something in highly visible area.
      Done.

      google image search with above phrase for implementation examples.

      Doesn't help when your own feet are getting tangled up in cords and cables under your desk. I shudder to think what a cat would do under there (besides get electrocuted.)

      Perhaps this is something to aspire to [travellerspoint.com]

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      Print out "DO NOT TOUCH ANY OF THESE WIRES" on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper, tape to something in highly visible area.
      Done.

      google image search with above phrase for implementation examples.

      I see no examples of the sign in use. [google.com]

      • by LodCrappo (705968)

        your google must be different than mine, clicking your link I get 5 of the first 6 results = sign in use /shrug

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @03:29PM (#41897613)

    >> vast amounts of tangled cables

    Really? How many?

    >> I have two machines, four monitors, multiple external hard drives, cable modem, network switch, router, USB hubs — everything requires power and connection

    Hmmm...something tells me you don't work in IT.

    • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @04:29PM (#41898679)

      for a *home* installation, that is rather a lot of stuff to have plugged in at a single desk.

      That being said, there's wisdom to what you're saying about him not working in IT anyway... somebody in IT would probably opt for a monitor with a built-in USB hub, if they needed a USB hub at all. Worth their weight in gold, for how much space they save, and there are powered USB hubs built into some monitors (they draw power from the monitor's power connection). If you need a USB hub at all, that is... the 2.4GHz wireless dongle for my keyboard/mouse is plugged in to the back of my desktop, and the front connectors (2 USB2.0, 2 USB3.0) are plenty for the rare occasions I need to plug a thumb drive or external hard drive in. Haven't ever needed a USB hub.

      Similarly, for persistent storage, most people who work in IT wouldn't opt for "multiple external hard drives", they'd opt for a NAS setup of some sort. There's some very inexpensive options available on the market, and having a decent NAS or two connected by GigE or faster should be significantly more useful than swapping USB drives. And don't argue about storage capacity... the off-the-rack diskless Buffalo NAS I'm using has space for two 3.5" SATA drives, and is running Linux, so the advertised "3TB" limit for drive size is most likely because you can't get drives bigger than that yet, not because it's actually a limit. A 6TB NAS should be plenty of space for most home use right now, and it's trivially easy to add more as needed.

      For network switch/router/cable modem, you could at the very least drop the switch by replacing the router with one that has the appropriate ethernet speed built in to it. GigE routers have been available for quite some time, now. And if you need more than 4 ports of GigE, then there's no reason the switch can't be in a completely different part of the house. Come to it, there's no reason the cable modem can't be elsewhere as well. You could also check with your cable provider about replacing the modem... lots of providers now have cable modems with built-in wireless routers and GigE switches, so you might be able to replace 3 devices with 1. From the description in TFS, it certainly doesn't sound like you need that many Ethernet ports... there's no mention of NAS, printer, TV/STB, or stereo, only the two computers which would require an Ethernet connection.

      As for 2 machines, 4 monitors, cable ties is probably the best suggestion I can make, though depending on the monitor you're using it may be possible to daisychain the displays and use a single cable to drive both of them. One of the many advantages of displayport... you can have a single cable running to a splitter, and drive two monitors from a single output on the computer.

      So I guess, responding to the original question (of course, far enough down that nobody will read it), I'd say the first suggestion for how to deal with extreme cable management is to minimize the number of extra cables that don't really serve a function. The second would be to use tie wraps (preferably reusable) to bundle similar cables so you don't have to go fishing if one fails.

  • Have you considered a rack cabinet? Something like that should be able to address some of these problems.
  • Become semi nomadic, simply abandon the mess of kit when it gets too unwieldy and start another one. With careful planning you may be able to make a single small room last for four or five systems, which is more than enough IMHO. When you run out of rooms simple move.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @03:33PM (#41897679) Journal

    Why are you moving things around so often? I have an eight port KVM that's filled up, and cabling is a disaster behind the computers. But that's where they live, and once they're there, I have no reason to move them until I move to a new home.

    • by ion++ (134665)

      If you space out the cables like a harp and try to keep 5 cm between the cables, then it is a lot easier to follow them and unplug if needed.

    • by gman003 (1693318)

      A laptop, perhaps?

      Every morning, I have to drop a power brick down the back of my desk, plug in two video cables, a mouse, and sometimes an Ethernet cable. Fortunately, all my stuff plugs in on one side, so it takes less than a minute - and I can do some of it while starting up all my programs.

      • Buy a second power brick.

        • by gman003 (1693318)

          I probably should. Especially since the 150W power brick weighs as much as some of the lighter laptops I've seen.

          For now, I just have two of the wall->brick cords, one for home, one for work. They're standard PC power cables, just like a desktop, so I already had several.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        Why not buy a dock and leave it plugged in?

        • Which would require replacing the laptop with one that has a proper dock port. Right now, I have a self-powered USB hub and power brick set up at each location where I use my laptop for more than an hour at a time, but it's still four connections to set up power, video, audio, and USB.
          • by Hatta (162192)

            I guess I wasn't aware that they made laptops without docks. I pretty much only buy thinkpads, and they've always had dock connectors.

        • by gman003 (1693318)

          I haven't had a laptop with a dock since floppies were popular.

          Seriously, they aren't at all common for consumer laptops, and there aren't many "professional" laptops that can max out Crysis (which is totally something I need to do, for some reason).

          Also, I take the mouse with me many times, so I'd need to plug that back in anyways.

        • by mlts (1038732) *

          Now that is something I wish laptop makers made -- a decent dock for their products. it doesn't have to be fancy like the old PowerBook Duo dock (which engulfed the laptop like a VCR did a VCR tape), but something like the old IBM Thinkpad docking station/port replicators. The older ones accepted almost any Thinkpad, and provided not just video and other ports, it actually provided IDE and PCI card buses, floppy disks, and other items.

          We have more technologies in the past to allow for docking connectors t

        • A lot of laptops don't support docks. And depending on the type of laptop you prefer, a dock may be completely impossible... I have never seen an ultraportable laptop which works with a dock.

    • by freeze128 (544774)

      Why are you moving things around so often?

      He's probably married.

  • Walmart has some velcro strap in the sewing section. It's about 1" thick, and is spooled around itself. Whenever I need to tie a cable, I just wrap it around the bunch of cables and cut. It works a lot better than things like plastic ties or twist ties, because it can easily be undone.

    If I have a bunch of cables tied together and you can't identify them(like networking cable), I will wrap a piece of paper masking tape around each end of each cable(like a flag made of tape rather than like a band going aroun

  • I bought a cable tray that mounts under the desk for about $10 at Ikea. That and some cable ties & shorteners was all it took for me.
  • Split cable tubing is what you seek. Seriously, gather all your device related wires into the tube and you'll be much happier. Everything else, use velcro tape (e.g. network and display cables).

    Also, consider getting shorter cables that are the correct length. You don't need a 15m ethernet cable that only goes 1m!! You can get decent cables on eBay usually, or just about anywhere these days. Make sure you use shielded network and display cables - you might have some signal issues running next to AC powe

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Also, consider getting shorter cables that are the correct length. You don't need a 15m ethernet cable that only goes 1m!!

      If you have a 15M ethernet cable and you only need a 1M, and you don't have a crimper you can shorten the cable by doubling it back on itself several times and holding it together with cable ties.

  • by chill (34294) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @03:37PM (#41897741) Journal

    Specifically, the network switch, modem, router, etc. should be moved to the basement if you have one, or a dedicated area. You should almost never touch them, so get them off your desk.

    Ditto for all the removable hard drives. Buy a little server with a crapload of storage (or a NAS) and put it in the basement with the network boxes. Access it remotely.

    Get a wireless keyboard and mouse, hook it to a 2-port KVM. Move the computers under or behind the desk.

    That way the only thing on the desk is the (wireless) keyboard & mouse, a USB hub and the monitors. Those cables should go right down behind the desk to the monitor and power strip.

    If, for some reason, you use optical media frequently, plug a USB-based drive into the hub and leave it on the desk. You should almost never have to touch the computers at that point, so why have them in the way?

    • by PReDiToR (687141)

      the network switch, modem, router, etc. should be moved to the basement if you have one, or a dedicated area

      My cable comes in through the guest room so the modem is in there. There is a Cat5e going under the floorboards to the office, where it connects to my RT-N56U. My downstairs laptop station where I do playing, movies, testing has my old WRT54G (with Raspberry Pi inside) connected over WiFi as a bridge. I can plug people's crap into that without the hassle of putting my 63 character key into their devices.
      Very useful, I've found.

  • by Ichijo (607641) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @03:39PM (#41897773) Homepage Journal

    You could get the cable modem and router (and their cables and AC adapters) off your desk by attaching them to pegboard mounted to a wall [lifehacker.com] or under your desk [decluttered.com]. Be sure to mount a power strip, too.

    If you want something a little more professional looking, you could go all rackmount [monoprice.com].

  • Have you looked into using cable tubes or wraps (this sort of thing [cableorganizer.com])? They can help a lot when you have multiple cables converging on the same point over space. There are also ties, mounts, and any number of cable management accessories [popularmechanics.com] for "under the desk" cables.

    All in all, I've found the most useful practice to be labelling each cable or cord on both ends using masking tape and a marker. The tape provides a 'tab' I can write on, so if I need to unplug device X, I can just look for the cable with the X la

  • Google (Score:5, Informative)

    by Synerg1y (2169962) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @03:40PM (#41897813)

    & Lifehacker have got you more than covered: http://lifehacker.com/364054/top-10-ways-to-get-cables-under-control [lifehacker.com]

    • by Synerg1y (2169962)

      You can also decase your harddrives and mount them internally, or buy a bigger one and consolidate, or decase them and mount them in a storage bay. Or you can do what I did and that's add a shelf & just store them there keeping the one (s) I need plugged in and powered.

      • by mlts (1038732) *

        At the extreme, the hard disks can go into a server that has 10GB ethernet cards, and one can use iSCSI from there. An advantage of this setup is the ability to run RAID, and with some commercial implementations, run backend deduplication.

  • by vlm (69642)

    Closet. Ventilation is important. One shelf per machine / setup. Long USB cables and video/VGA/DVI/whatever floats your boat from the closet to the KVM on the desk. All monitors and trackballs/mice are wired direct not thru the KVM (so I guess its just a K switch). Audio in/out run thru a mixer (long story) The K we're discussing is an IBM model M with a USB converter (adapters don't work w/ something this old). The wiring on the desk doesn't look so icky when its basically just KVMA, a keyboard, som

  • by harl (84412) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @03:50PM (#41897993)
    First off you have a trivial cable set up. You're orders of magnitude from "extreme."

    With the setup you mention there's almost an infinite amount of solutions. Tape, twist ties, tubes, velcro, hooks, labels, etc.

    Almost anything will work. Basically you have a laziness problem. When you ran the cable you didn't label it, or loop and tie, or use a cable hook, or do anything.

    I use hooks for mouse and keyboard. Long net cables are wound and tied. Power cables are velcroed together near the PDU.

    Honestly all you have to do is anything but what you're doing is adding cables with no organization.

    When you're up to thousands of cables come back and we can talk about extreme solutions.
  • The real problem with cable management is not organizing it, it's what happens to the organization when you have to change something. Zip ties and velcro certainly make everything look pretty when you first set it up, but it gets frustrating really quickly when you need to make a change.. bundling all your cables in a big wad is the quick route to a disaster.

    The best way to keep things tolerable is to get cables sized properly for the run so they aren't pulled taut or have too much slack, and lay them flat.

  • http://www.reddit.com/r/CableManagement [reddit.com] is specifically for PC cable management. You can also look at http://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc [reddit.com] and ask for advice there. Many subreddits have FAQs and stuff on the right side. Use those links.
  • Disclaimer - I run installations in a datacentre so I do this for a living.

    Nail velcro to the back of your desk, instant cable guides and tidy. Velcro excess in to loops. Use a lot of velcro. Plan and execute a labelling scheme - either paper that you sellotape over the top of, or a proper brady label for every cable. Use dymo labels for every plug and AC-adapter so you know what each of them hooks up to.

    Yes it's a pain. Plan on taking half a day to do it properly. Document it as you go if you can. Remember

  • Expand the work space, and it's a non factor. Maybe it's just that you are trying to pack everything in to a 3x3 foot area, in which case I'll say move out of what ever shoebox you are trying to work in, or wait till your prison term is done before going dual monitors and 2 PCs.

    Honestly, I have more gear than this sitting on a work table and a few shelves. Just space things out, use re-usable banding (Velcro) to keep things ordered.

  • Build [cableorganizer.com]
    A [harmony-central.com]
    Cable [seymourduncan.com]
    Snake [ehow.com]

    The tangles and tangles make it almost impossible to move anything without spending twenty or thirty minutes under the desk.

    So don't move stuff. Feng Shui and all that jazz.

  • Move router, switch, and modem somewhere else, then you will just have a single network cable from the switch to your computer. That will eliminate several network cables and 3 power cables.

    Put the desktop under the desk or beside it in clear view. Don't try to hide it in some little niche.

    Have all monitor cables going around the back of the desk. Have all headphone, mic, mouse, and keyboard cables coming out the front. Don't try to run these around the back. Maybe once a week, switching between my key

  • Okay, I'm not sure if I can describe this very well but whenever I set up anything that uses cables and I have extra length, I loop up and knot off the extra length. Kind of like when you store an extension cord. Loop, loop, loop, then the last few loops I fold back in on the loop so it stays together, minding the length I need afterward. I hope that's clear enough, I don't have a picture to refer you to unfortunately. I leave just enough length for what's necessary, and I do this for power cables, cat5, ev

  • There must be something better then velcro ties. I use them but it's a pain running something new and having to undo each tie one by one so everything doesn't fall apart.
  • I use the shortest cables I can get away with while leaving a little slack for things that move.
    If the cables have a lot of extra length wrap them up and zip tie them.
    Run your cable along the poles and stuff you have using zip ties, use the cable management your hardware comes with. A lot of monitor stands have places to run the wires through.
    Adjust the position of your equipment to optimize wiring if you can. I put my power strip and tower on my desk and it drastically improved the wire management. Th
  • My desk has an under desk rack for all the wires to run through. I think it was $12 at Ikea. That, combined with some cheap velcro cable ties, will do the trick. (The biggest velcro cable ties I've seen are in a server closet, with a bundle of about 250 CAT5 cables all neatly bundled up like a really fat ponytail. It came out of the ceiling, taking up an entire ceiling tile square. It was a thing of beauty, especially how it gracefully descended to connect each jack in a perfect arc to the switch.)
  • I mark both ends with Brady wire markers, these come with the job when you do wiring.
    http://www.platt.com/platt-electric-supply/Markers-Marking-Tape-Wire-Marker-Books/Brady/PWM-PK3/product.aspx?zpid=4581 [platt.com]

    I also map it out, Each wire/cable with it's number at each end and keep the paper handy
    so if I'm really lost I can go back to it. (sound system)

    Wind up the surplus wire and wire tie it, each bundle (7.1 sound system) a different length
    so you don't have a ball of bundles.

    Wire ties loosely around objects so y

  • Just pretend that your cable mess is life critical and/or supporting something that you'd need to leave the gravity well to fix. Then do it the correct way [nasa.gov].

    The suffering will make you a better person.

  • I use a nylon wireloom and a roll of bulk velcro that I cut off. Keeps all the cables straight and tangle free.
  • Start by labeling both ends of every cable. You can use heat shrink tubing around the cable and then write on the heat shrink with a sharpie. Use different color heat shrink to distinguish cables. Use snagless cables when available. Use cables of the appropriate length when possible. If you have more than one of a particular type of cable, get them in different colors if possible. Always use velcro and never use zip ties to bundle cables.
  • 1) Take excess power cords and shorten them to length. I have a bar power strip [homedepot.com] at the back of my desk and I shorten my power cords to length with plugs [homedepot.com].

    2) Use velcro straps and cable ties to keep cables neat, coiled and short. Bundle cables together that are going the same place. Use expandable braided sleeving [buyheatshrink.com] where possible and be sure to melt the edges where you cut it so it doesn't fray.

    3) Make your own ethernet cables and cut them to length. Color code and/or label them if you have more than a few

  • There are things that make it look nicer, but nothing beats a rats' nest of cables for pure speed. Any time you start running cables in a trough or in hooks or through tubing, it's tougher to find/replace cables than you may have thought. Unless you're removing a tripping hazard or have some appearance requirements, skip it and let the cables lie where they may. Just make sure you don't do any loops or tie cables in a knot (and whatever you do, don't use zip ties, even if you're sure you won't have to re
  • by Alotau (714890) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @06:11PM (#41900245)

    Worst X-games event ever.

  • by RPI Geek (640282) on Tuesday November 06, 2012 @07:22PM (#41901145) Journal
    Take this opportunity to reorganize and clean up your desk, you're going to start fresh!

    1) Disconnect everything and clean up on/around your desk. Dust your monitors, wipe down the surface, move any papers that are piled up. When I dealt with rat nests of wires, I never was able to vacuum/dust. Do it now when it is easiest.
    2) Put your desk on sliders. Even the heaviest hardwood desk on carpet becomes easy to move alone when you do this. If you're on hardwood or some other surface, clean around the desk before moving it, or you'll scratch it up.
    3) Leave the desk away from the wall so you can get behind it. Set up everything exactly how you want it, but leave the loose cables wherever you put them before and leave the other cables (mouse, keyboard) bundled up next to their owners.

    Now you're ready for the fun part!
    Think about how you want to route the cables; that means don't let them touch the floor! I love routing them under the desk surface in the back because they're pretty much invisible and the cats don't chew on them. If you have a cheap fiberboard desk like I do, consider using screw-in hooks [google.com] (use a small nail to make a pilot hole). If you have a metal/glass or an otherwise nice desk, use sticky hooks (3M Command hooks are usually too big - I like cable tie mounts [google.com] with zip/twist ties set into a loose loop).
    Start with the cables for the devices you'll move the least; this probably means your power strip, modem & router, and other network cables (I like to mount these to the side/back of my desk so they're out of the way but close to everything - this is especially important with the power strip). Move on to the monitors & speakers, then the external hard drives & USB hubs. The last things you want to hook up are probably your keyboard & mouse.

    1) Once you've connected the device, stop and take a look at the cables; anything that you can group together, wrap it in spiral cable wrap [google.com], starting at the device and going back. Two network cables from the router to your towers? Wrap them together. Your monitor's DVI & power cables? Wrap them. Be sure to give yourself enough length of wrapped cable so you can move your devices around as far as you think you'll want to.
    2) Now you take up any slack in the cable by bundling it - just be sure to leave a little bit of slack in the cable - just enough so it has a nice bend radius at the computer/router/wall. Hang the bundles together from a hook/anchor in an inconspicuous place. Use N+1 ties so you can get at it later - one for the hook/anchor, and one for each bundle (I especially love using twist ties for this part):
    - For small DC cables, wrap the extra length neatly around 4 fingers, flatten the bundle. Secure with a twist / zip / velcro tie.
    - For bigger cables, hold it in your palm and keep reversing direction across your palm - leave a reasonable bend radius. Secure it as above.
    - For network cables; buy a crimping tool and learn to use it.

    Push your desk back into place and you're done! Use weighted cable managers or adhesive to hold USB hubs from falling off your desk and enjoy!

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