Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ask Cluttered Mama

Ask Cluttered Mama is a new segment where I answer questions that readers have emailed me.

Hey Cluttered Mama,
Can you help me with this cord situation? Our house has a ledge where my husband and I keep our phones and baby monitor to charge. When we disconnect our phones from the charger, the cords fall to the ground.

It’s an unsightly mess! The primary issue is functionality – we’d like to have a way to keep the cords tidy and not in a pile on the ground – and the secondary issue is aesthetics. Any suggestions you could offer would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you,
Hi Tangled,
Ugh! All the cords of the 21st century are such a pain, but I have some solutions for you ranging from the easily purchased to the easily DIYed.

If you are looking for a product you can easily purchase, I recommend Cable Drops. Diesel and I each have one of these affixed to the sides of our nightstands to hold our phone and baby monitor cords up.

We have the muted tones to sort of (not really) blend in with the wood of the nightstand, but you can buy them in a variety of colors. They aren't that expensive and work very well, but they do affix in a fairly permanent manner, so if you are concerned about your paint or finishes, then these wouldn't be a great choice. There are some other products like Quirky Cordies that look promising, but since I have not used them, I cannot speak to their effectiveness!

So that brings us to the DIY portion of today's lesson! I looked for items that most people have around their homes and I came up with three solutions. They aren't pretty, but they'd work and be inexpensive in the process-- and, if you are more crafty than I am, you could probably spruce them up and make them look fancy!

First up, the binder clip + thumb tacks solution.

Find some small binder clips and thumbtacks. Clip the binder clip around your cord or cords. Flatten the arms down and pin them to the wall. The metal part keeps the cord from falling down when you unplug the cord from your device.

If you need to take your cord with you, you just unpin the binder clip and off you go. Not the prettiest thing ever, but effective-- and you could always paint the binder clips to jazz them up a little.

Second solution, Command Strips and clothes pins.

If you are looking for something that won't damage your walls, but still works well to hold your cords, you can affix a Command Strip to a clothes pin (you can get a pack of 36 clothes pins at the Dollar Tree, or a similar sized package of better quality clothes pins for about $3.50 at Target), and then hang the clothes pin on the wall.

I did have to trim the Command Strip once it was attached to the clothes pin, so that there wasn't a lot of overhang. You do want to make sure that you leave the pull tag a little lower than the bottom of the clothes pin so that you can grasp it  when you want to take down the pins.

Then you just affix the clothes pins to the wall and run your cord through the notch at the top. This solution is more user-friendly than the binder clips if you need to take your cords with you. Just push down on the clip and voila!

Of course, with the clothes pins, the sky is the limit for how you can decorate them. You can paint them-- perhaps with chalkboard paint so that you can identify which cords belong where (because apparently, according to Pinterest, we all have chalkboard paint just hanging around our homes), or you can add scrapbook paper to give them a more decorative flare.

The third and final solution is the shoe box docking station.

Get a shoe box lid (I actually had to get one from my awesome neighbors because I haven't purchased shoes for myself in ages!), an Exacto/craft knife (did I mention I just bought one. So handy!) and, if you want to spruce it up, some wrapping paper or contact paper of your choosing.

Take your shoe box lid and cut several notches in one side. Make them just thin enough for the cord to fit comfortably. I used my phone to map out the best location for the cord notches on my prototype.  If you don't care how it looks (like if it is not going to be out in the open), you can stop right there and call yourself a genius for making a docking station.

HOWEVER, if you do want it to be prettier, now is the time to get some gift wrap and wrap your lid just like you would wrap a gift. I didn't have any wrapping paper on hand, but I did have some contact paper, so that is what I used. If you are using wrapping paper, try to use a heavier grade of paper, as some thinner papers tear too easily and won't hold up. If you are feeling really adventureous, you could even get crazy with some mod podge and fabric, but I'm not that adventurous! (And mod podge hates me).

Once your box lid is all wrapped up, you will want to locate the notches you have already cut in the box and then cut notches to match in your paper. I reinforced my notches with tape just so they would hold up better. Now you have a cute, inexpensive, charging station of your very own!


I'd also consider using a twist tie or pipe cleaner (you know how I love those!) to bundle up the slack you may have in the cords, no matter what method of cord keeping you implement. It just makes everything look neat and tidy.

So, those are my suggestions for keeping your cords off the floor and untangled. In terms of the aesthetics, you're kind of in a rough spot because of the location of your outlet. If it were my house, I would think about sliding the devices over to the side, directly above the power strip, just to minimize the cords' presence; however, I also know that this could easily result in forgotten phones.

I hope this helped and that you will soon be on your way to a tangle-free, non-dropped cord, life!

All my Best,
Cluttered Mama

If you have a question you'd like answered (on any of my topics, not just organizing), feel free to email me: clutteredmama (at) gmail (dot) com.


  1. So much more than I expected - FOUR easy solutions! I think I have the fixins at home for fhe binder clip and tacks so will try that out immediately. When I get more time I'm going to try out one of the fancier suggestions as well. Thanks!


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