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I recently moved to a new flat, and while storing everything in boxes I made the (not very smart) decision of putting every cable in the same box (because I had them laying around everywhere in the house); with the happy idea of sorting them up somehow when I have finished moving.

Well, future me is now present me!

In all honesty I have a lot of cables laying around: USBs of all types and lengths, power only, power + storage, … HDMI/DP cables of different lengths, power cables, PSU cables, lightning, audio, … (I even found a barcode scanner laying around…). And similar to that, Raspberries, Arduinos, mice, headphones, … and some random hardware or accessories for different devices.

So my question is… how do you store all these things? Do you keep inventory in some way? I’m looking for ideas because I will need to untangle all that mess soon.

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      The idea of doing that much work and then not alphabetizing is amazing to me. Looks back at piles of cables everywhere in smug superiority knowing at least they aren’t in random order… er… wait.

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        This is what I do, only I keep several cables per bag, with broader categories like USB-C or audio. I have so many Ethernet cables though that I have individual bags by length.

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        I use Velcro or twist ties on each one, and sort cables into separate containers based on type. I don’t keep inventory.

        I recently moved myself and afterwards bought a dozen or so of these: https://www.sterilite.com/product-page.html?product=19849806

        They’re large enough to fit a number of cables or devices but small enough to not be overwhelming to go through. The clear sides assist in indentifying and finding items.

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          This is exactly what I only keep one each of every cable type, in addition to the ones I normally have plugged in.

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          I sort my cables into “USB,” “power,” “Ethernet” and “audio/visual,” and then stuff them haphazardly into one of four packing cubes (basically mesh net zipper bags) designated for each category. All four packing cubes are stuffed into an Ikea Dröna box which sits on a shelf. I find this combo hits a sweet spot between the two extremes of rat’s nest and spending three hours each day organizing cables.

          Packing cubes are flexible, unlike plastic boxes, so if you get more of one kind of cable over time you don’t have to rearrange all your containers.

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            1. Similar cables together in transparent zip lock bags, or packing cubes with mesh sides
            2. Zip locks in transparent boxes.

            The categories of “similar” don’t matter, whatever works for you. The critical factor is the transparency, so you can assess the contents at a glance. If you want to, label cables with length.

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              Same here (on the transparent zip lock bags). Power stuff in one box / drawer, signal in another. Now it only takes me a minute to find anything and no tangle issues.

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              Plastic ‘shoe box’ containers split by basic type.

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                a medium sized box stuffed with empty toilet paper rolls is a good way for me to organize short cables (mostly USB). For network and power cables and such, I use velcro cable ties everywhere.

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                  One cable per ziploc. A device with its accessories gets one ziploc. They all get thrown in a single box. If I need to find something I dump out the box and put everything back into the box. No order or structure or decisions to make. This has worked beautifully for my ADHD-addled brain, it is the only strategy I’ve managed to keep up for more than a day, going strong for a few years now.

                  No labels: I’m lazy, makes reuse harder.

                  No grouping into a bag: if I have to find the right bag first I won’t do it.

                  No velcro or specific coiling technique usually: no need, they don’t get tangled together in a bag.

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                    Monaco hanging storage bags. They’re what they use at pharmacies to hold all the prescriptions. The bags are transparent and hang from a rod so they don’t bunch up or get lost under each other.

                    I tried all the methods about tubes and filing cabinets and so forth and hated all of them. This is the only solution I’ve found that is actually good.

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                      Coincidentally, this approach came up on Cool Tools today https://kk.org/cooltools/organizing-cables-and-other-gear-using-hanging-storage-bags/

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                      A related question: what do you do with the cables you don’t need? I too have a few boxes full of cables. I don’t think I’ll need 10 spare mini USB cable, 10 spare micro USB cables, and so on. But it feels wrong to just throw them away.

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                        This. I may have dozens of different USB-A to micro-USB cables laying around. Different materials, different lengths, some only for power delivery… I don’t throw them just in case I need an specific length/color some day, but… I also tend to gift cables to everyone that asks for one while visiting lol

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                          Throw them away.

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                          A couple years ago I did a big reorganization. I got a bunch of Akro-Mils stacking bins and sorted everything into the bins. I’ve noticed that most people who run any sort of physical maker workshop use these same bins, and I can see why; they have a lot of affordances around how you stack them, how you can rearrange them, how you can combine different sizes, and so on, which nothing else on the market really does.

                          It uses slightly more space than putting everything in one huge box would, but it’s a lot easier to find stuff when I want it.

                          Unfortunately, the bins are quite expensive, especially here in Canada since there don’t seem to be any retail importers selling them in small quantities right now. I did find it worth it, but not everyone will.

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                            I have a few clear bins. I store everything in ziplock bags and layer cables by type. For example: I have Component and VGA cables at the bottom of my video bin. Then DIV, DisplayPort, HDMI, with thunderbolt and USB-C cables at the top.

                            Then my various port to port adapters are in a ziplock gallon bag rolled up and stuffed vertically in the bin for easy removal.

                            I have an entire box of network cables coiled and wrapped with twist toes. Shortest ones on the top and the 25’ ones, couplers, and crimping tool on the bottom.

                            Repeat for each type then stack the boxes with the most used cable types on the top.

                            I also have a labeling machine so I can make labels for things like power adapters, so I know what goes with what.

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                              Your average mess: rubber bands, grocery bags, plastic tubs. Some ziplocs. A large pickle jar full of cat 5s.

                              I have a pretty good memory of what cables I have, and the “Full Table Scan” is fast enough to not worry about “indexing”/organizing further.

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                                velcro tape, smaller adapters get stuffed into zip lock bags, one cable=one bag and these go into stackable euroboxes, the topmost has a lid. exception: measurement leads are on a wall hanger.

                                hint: weed out more often than me (I got rid of all the SCSI and ZIP drive stuff only in the 2021/2022 winter)

                                cables with broken connector hooks go into the recycling eurobox without the broken connector and are cut up and used in various projects. I do not bother crimping new connectors to ethernet cables these days. But connecting sensors via STP can never wrong.

                                this velcro tape thing is really good, does not bleach, get brittle, become goey and goopy, does not stick to cables and can also be used to attach cables to the desk cable management. I got rid of wire, ziploc, zipties, wax cord, tiny cable channels and all the other stuff.

                                Also: it is reusable multiple times, I have yet to throw something away.

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                                  I bought 10+ meters of velcro (10 mm wide) and started to wrap them up one at a time, and then just putting them in a drawer. As they are all wrapped up they are easy to store, retrieve and they wont (as easily) get stuck in each other.

                                  It’s far from perfect but It Works For Me(tm).

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                                    For guitar cables and mic cables I like: https://cablewrangler.com/ but I think the bag idea is pretty good for smaller stuff.

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                                      Giant pile of crap on a shelf. And semi-sorted boxes in a closet that things get shuffled off to if I haven’t used them in a while.

                                      Thank you for asking this question, I should use the answers!

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                                        The biggest cable management game-changer for me was learning the “over under” technique for wrapping/coiling up long cables without introducing twists. A 25ft extension cord or ethernet cable wrapped this way can be tossed with the end held and the whole thing should just stretch out in front of you.

                                        There’s a bunch of videos that explain it, but this one seems decent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpuutP6Df84 I recommend watching the video with a long cable on hand so you can practice. Really improved my cable management and it’s better for the cables in the long run since they’re not being twisted as much.

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                                          Based in Europe, I am buying “Euro-Boxes” in different sizes for all my “organizing physical stuff” needs.

                                          They are cheap, stack-able, durable, and available in a large range of sizes.

                                          Much better than flimsy and overpriced IKEA boxes.