Expert Q&A

Q. The cords from my computer and other equipment are very tangled, and I can never tell which goes to which piece of electronics. It’s like a jungle under my desk. Help!

A. Messy, tangled cords are a pain for countless people. But there is hope. You can eliminate the irritation once and for all by following three simple steps:

1.    Unplug, untangle and clean all your cords; dust can build up heat in your computer equipment. 

2.    Next, corral all your cords so they form one larger, easier-to-manage cord. Use ordinary twist ties or Velcro straps sold at office supply stores to hold it together. I also love a product called the Rolodex Cord Organizer (around $12 at office supply stores), which sticks onto the back of your desk or computer equipment and has one slot for each cord.

3.    Label each device’s cord at the end, near the plug, so you can identify it easily. You can use a permanent marker on a small piece of masking or electrical tape. I also like ID Pilot Labels ($5 at the, which sport tiny icons of printers or phones, visually demonstrating which cord belongs to which piece of equipment.

A final tip: Printers, scanners and other equipment often come with unnecessarily long cords. Replace these with shorter ones, and you’ll eliminate extra cord clutter.

Ann Sullivan is a certified professional organizer and author of Organizing for Life: The Kids’ Room. Her Web site is

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