If you’ve put a lot of time and effort into setting up your computer desk or entertainment center, you might be surprised at the number of cables you have to manage … and what a mess they can be in almost no time. Don’t worry – with a few simple cable organizers you can route and hide all those cables to keep your home office setup clean and beautiful.
My favorite cable management solutions are listed below, roughly in order of importance. There are plenty of alternative options for just about any item, so feel free to consider these as general suggestions ̵
Velcro is the ideal aid to keep cables tidy in almost any situation. They’re super cheap, they’re easy to use and reuse, and you can run multiple strips in a row for larger bundles. I prefer these cable ties to cable ties because they are easy to apply and remove without additional tools. Go for a set of black strips if you want something a little more subtle, or buy multi-colored strips for a particularly complex job where color coding can be helpful.
The best inexpensive way to organize cables
Self-adhesive cable clips
These inexpensive “pegs” are a close second in your toolbox and come in a variety of sizes and some with multiple grooves. They are handy little cable holders for when individual cables and wires have to go to very specific places and occasionally have to go out again. Note that with a little care, the 3M glue used on the back is safe for most furniture. I find these especially useful in the car, to keep my phone’s charging cable out of the way when it gets to the dashboard mount.
Best individual cable guides
This plastic alternative to the rubber-like clips is intended for slightly more permanent cable routing as they ‘clip’ into place and can loop more than one cable. They’re less flexible and forgiving than the clips above, so save them for jobs that you’re reasonably confident won’t move more than once a year or so.
The best semi-permanent cable ties
Between a desktop PC and a monitor, or a shelf in the entertainment center and the TV itself, you will almost certainly have a big thick bundle of wires. These zippered sleeves are great for keeping them organized and tidy. They are available in several lengths. If you’re not sure, measure the distance you need and then add another inch of clearance. You can even cut holes in the side to make outlets for some cables. Combine this tube with a pair of well-placed Velcro strips to keep the bundle permanently hidden behind a TV or monitor mount.
Best cable guide tube
I love mounting various items under the flat surface of my standing desk, such as a battery-powered faucet lamp, a spool for the charging cable, and a small power strip. These super sticky velcro pads are great for that, allowing me to remove the components whenever I want but never accidentally let go. Hard plastic hooks allow them to “click” into place better than standard Velcro fasteners. They require about 10 pounds of force – a very firm pull! – to let go. They also work great on TVs as they have small power supplies out of the way. Keep in mind that the powerful adhesive on these is not good for the furniture finish, so don’t use them anywhere that can be seen.
Best heavy duty adhesive pads
A flexible surge protector
Speaking of surge protectors, if you want neat wiring, you need one that’s flexible. I love this eight-socket version from Belkin because six of those outlets can be rotated 180 degrees, making it easy to pick up large ‘wall wart’ power supplies. Whatever surge protector you use, make sure it’s right for your equipment. Charging a TV and multiple game consoles on a single one may require an upgrade.
Best surge protection for cable routing
Mini power strip
No matter how complete your installation is, you ultimately have to connect something temporarily. A small power strip with 2 or 3 outlets is perfect for this. I use a Belkin travel protector on the bottom of my desk, but there are options for it on the top too. For a TV setup, a handy “power cube” is easy to grip and use.
Best mini surge protector
Cable ducts under the desk
Keeping cable bundles high and accessible is one of the most important elements of a tidy desk. Mounted under the back of a desk, these cord management trays contain one or two surge protectors, making it easy to route power cords. As a bonus, this means you’ll need a lot less slack more from your other cables once you’re done.
The best cable tray for under the desk
A “CPU holder” is a leftover term, and kind of a misnomer – it contains a full desktop computer mounted on the bottom of a desk. This is good in many situations, especially if you are short on space, but it is also great for standing desks. That’s because you can install it with the cable ducts under the desk above to move your entire setup with just one or two power cables going to an outlet.
The best CPU holder
Assuming you can’t drill into your wall and run cables behind it, a “concealer” is the next best option for getting cables to a mounted TV or monitor without exposing them. These reusable adhesive tubes come in a variety of colors and sizes. For the really dedicated people you can paint them to match the paint of the wall to make them almost invisible.
Best cable concealer