I wouldn’t call myself a tech hoarder, but I definitely have an abundance of gadgets strewn about my office. If it feels like you’re constantly battling a mountain of cables, discs, and screens, you can make much better use of your space with a few cheap organizing tools. Here’s what I use to keep my clutter to a minimum.
Once upon a time, a single cardboard box in my closet was enough to hold all my spare cables, dongles, and splitters. But as new standards came about for PC monitors, smartphone chargers, and other tech, the box grew...to the point where it was literally bursting at the seams.
Some of those cables can probably be donated or recycled, but I tend to keep things around because—as a gadget addict—I always find myself in situations where I need a random cable I don’t normally use. And sure, I probably don’t need to keep 19 VGA cables, but I might want one or two on hand—so after giving away the excess, I put all my extra cords in a set of clear sweater drawers from The Container Store. Each one has a label (for video cables, networking cables, USB chargers, and so on) and it goes in my office cabinet. It’s so much easier than any cable-organizing solution I’ve ever tried before. If your collection is smaller than mine, there are similar drawers in smaller sizes that should suit you.
As a tech writer, I have more gadgets than the average person, but there’s still a good chance you own more than one touch screen. If you have a phone, a tablet, and a Kindle constantly littering your bedroom, grab a letter sorter and use it as a home base for all those slabs. They’ll take up less space on your nightstand, and you’ll spend a bit less time going “where the heck is my iPad?!” when you just want to watch some Netflix. Bonus: If you want, you can add a USB charging hub like this one for an organized little charging station, as described in this guide at How-To Geek.
Okay, stop. I can already feel you scrolling down to the comments to make fun of me. But hear me out.
Streaming is great, and I’m happy to use it for comedies and casual TV shows. But if you want the best quality possible in your movies—especially if we’re talking movies in 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos—discs are still the medium to beat. Streaming sources just don’t measure up (yet). And sure, I rip all those discs to my NAS for convenient on-demand viewing in Kodi, but I still need to do something with the discs—and you’re crazy if you think I’m going to fill up a bunch of shelves with plastic cases.
So I have a massive, 1990s CD case from AmazonBasics filled with DVDs, Blu-rays, and old PC and PlayStation games that I didn’t buy digitally. I recycle the plastic cases, or (in the case of DVD/Blu-ray combo backs) give them away to friends with the spare DVD. While most people have moved on from discs, true home theater enthusiasts know my pain—and this is a huge space saver. There’s a 128-disc version and a 400-disc version, depending on how big your collection is.
I don’t remember how I found this $20 battery organizer on Amazon, but I can’t believe I went so long with loose Duracells rattling around in a drawer. Sure, disposable batteries are all but non-existent when it comes to high-tech gadgets these days, but TV remotes, smoke alarms, and the piles of kids’ toys scattered around my house still run on them—and I was tired of digging around my drawer praying for AAAs. You can put this in a drawer or hang it on the wall in your closet for easy access. It even comes with a little tester, so you can see if a battery is dead or if something else might be wrong with your gadget.
Getting your gadgets off of tables, desks, and nightstands is the name of the game, and I’ve become adept at finding other surfaces to stick them on. I’ve written about this before, but Command Strips are perfect for mounting things to the underside of your desk—headphone amps, SD card readers, external hard drives...really, anything that isn’t built-in to your computer. The same goes for headphones, thanks to stick-on hooks like this. The same idea can apply to pretty much anything—these hooks are great for holding remotes or video game controllers on the side of your entertainment center (though Velcro works too, if that’s more your bag). If it’s sitting on a table, get it up and onto the side or underside of your furniture, and you’ll have a lot more room for activities.