Netflix’s super-successful Original centering on homekeeper-extraordinarie Marie Kondo has led to waves of people taking to social media to show off neat piles of clothing, or neatly partitioned drawers with impeccably-arranged utensils.
But what about us, the tech folk, Miss Marie Kondo? Our massive screens, neverending tangles of cables, wires and connectors, piles of adapters, cases and accessories – are all nigh on impossible to arrange neatly.
What’s more: accessories and peripherals tend to be necessary evils in large part, mere necessities – usually not prized possessions that can simply “spark joy”.
Your file management also comes to mind: something no folding method can solve.
Here are some hacks to keep your tech stash neat, tidy and Kondo-esque, witholding the imminent aesthetic disaster, and ensuring you will never vex over the location of that tiny piece of tech, ever again.
Velcro Cable Ties
These are the unsung heroes of tech. Cable management, being one of the perennial headaches of gadgetry, requires constant management as different permutations add up with different devices and when workflows and habits evolve.
Of course, those disposable nylon ones are much, much cheaper and are tempting especially if you have thick bundles of cables to tame. However, velcro cable ties accomplish a much different task as these bad boys. Nylon ties which usually requires users to cut them into order to release their cables, but are otherwise fine for permanent applications like neatening up the cables running down the back of your desk.
On the other hand, velcro ties enable users to easily access their cables. Marie Kondo does emphasise the need to keep only the items that “spark joy”: which we take to mean something more practical, as if the things you keep have to make you feel effective, or productive. Now, these cables won’t help you feel effective or productive if they were permanently sealed by cheap nylon straps.
While cheap ones can be obtained for a trifle, these quality ones we use are far more reliable with extended and repeated use. Think frayed, flaccid velcro – no self-respecting tech enthusiast wants a pile of subpar gadgetry in their collection, would they?
Easier said than done: there is plenty of gadgetry that simply require cables to function. Desktop PCs, laptops and cameras – presently, only mobile phones and a very select group of headphones and wearables feature wireless charging.
Apple’s recent iPhones, and all of its Apple Watches feature wireless charging, which enable you to keep your desk cable free in large part.
Cheap accessories can be found on Aliexpress, like this silicone cable head holder that you can attach to the edge of your desk, holding on to the different ends of your charging heads vertically when not in use.
Most electrical multiplugs (“powerstrip” in the US) with extension leads feature mounting holes on their undersides that allow you to mount them on vertical surfaces. Drive screws the appropriate distance apart into a suitable surface, and carefully slot the screw heads into the slots.
Most included charging cables aren’t long enough to reach from ground to desk height without precariously risking some sort of catastrophic rendezvous of fragile glass on tiling, so mounting the multiplugs near the top edge of the table gives much more cable length for you to comfortably position and even use your gadgets.
That is mostly ideal for tables that have side planks instead of legs. Using a under-desk cradle provides all the aforementioned benefits, at some cost to accessibility.
Organising that mess
You can’t help it that all twenty of your keyboards spark joy, can you? No shame – we’ve each got our own tech vices, but keeping them in a neat way is most times easier said than done. Large laundry drawers work best for me personally, and Ikea ones are a very good option.
Kondo’s recommendation of using smaller boxes to subdivide your storage space is essential for this to work, especially since tech gadgets tend to be on the smaller and more unwieldy side.
I also found that using an old towel or piece of clothing to line the bottom of the wire basket helps suit it better for the purpose of storing more delicate devices like headphones and smartphones without scratching them. Of course – if you’re feeling fancy, a felt sheet would fit the bill much better.
We’d recommend keeping cables coiled and stacked if you don’t want to incur the hassle and cost of cable ties. The wire twist-ties that come with your electronics can easily be reused to manage the unkempt mess. If you’re short of them, they can even be cut up into smaller, still usable pieces.
Yes your desk might frankly be aesthetic, but if completing tasks has been getting difficult, it’s a good time to relook into your file organisation methods.
Keeping your desktop empty is a good way to ensure no clutter builds up, but Apple’s iOS Mojave has a nifty feature, Stacks, that reverts your mess of documents, photos and folders into neat … stacks.
For those who require manual sorting, the Stacks format is a good way to get your organisation started. Stacks arranges your pile of files into folders for documents (for PDFs, text and spreadsheets; presentations for slideshows; movies; and images split into screenshots and photos.
What you can do is add complexity (and organisation) to each of these folders. Dates, organisations, or other more personal categories can be helpful in sorting the individual files out, but leaving each unsorted can still be organised in the file management app by sorting by date, title, or size.