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How To Organize Your Tech And Purge That Random Box Of Cables

While it is an absolute privilege to lay hands on the latest tech, my home as a gadget reviewer often resembles a warehouse. Piled high with cardboard boxes and cables trailing everywhere, just getting to my desk is a battle on some days. Every surface is littered with chargers, security cameras, routers, and phones. To manage the flow of devices and preserve my sanity, I had to get organized.

I won’t lie to you. It’s not fun to purge your random cable collection, sorting stuff into labeled boxes, and letting go of old gadgets you no longer use. But you can benefit from my experience, and I promise it will make your life easier. It’s tough to start, but once you have a system, you will never return to the chaos.

Start With Your Box of Random Cables

Photograph: Simon Hill

We all have a box of random cables—a tangled mess that we lug with us on every house move and rarely, if ever, delve into. This box is the heart of your messy tech problem. It is the ultimate symbol of gadget chaos. Face the facts. You will never again use the charger for your long dead Nokia 8110. You do not need that weird printer cable from the printer you smashed in a justifiable fit of rage a decade ago. You will never need more than 10 Micro USB cables.

Start your new life here. Break the back of this box, and you are well on your way to an organized tech nirvana. Untangle and sort your cables into matching piles. Use cable ties or rubber bands to roll them up neatly. Place your cords into boxes labeled by type. I repurposed old circular plastic takeout containers, as they are the right shape for coiled up cables. We now have a row of easy to access containers bearing legends like HDMI, USB-C to USB-C, USB-A to Micro USB, and so on. Ziploc bags or even toilet roll tubes can work too.

For the weird leftover cables, my wife laid down a simple rule: If you don’t know what it is, you are not allowed to keep it. Purge those random old cables, and you should end up with a modest box of one-offs that you can grab without a frustrating search. To level up your organization, write what each cord is on a white sticky label and wrap them around the cable.

Before we move on from cables, consider organizing and hiding the ones in use with our cable management guide.

Sort Your Boxes, Manuals, and Accessories

Photograph: Simon Hill

Many gadgets come with a box that includes accessories, a manual, and maybe a setup code that you are definitely going to need later but will never be able to find. If you have the space, I highly recommend keeping the original box with all that stuff still inside. Not only does this make it easier for you to find that accessory or QR code, it also makes it easier to pass on, donate, or sell the gadget when you no longer need it. Devices with the original boxes and accessories always command higher fees, and having the original manuals and accessories makes life much easier for the next owner.