My fellow anal gadget owners will nod in understanding when they read this: The right power strip plug arrangement is essential for anyone with a few energy-sucking peripherals at their workspace. The rest of you shaking your heads, let me make my case. My cordless workspace includes a 12-outlet power strip mounted to the back of the desk, which is awesome. What's not so awesome is that the oft-unplugged plugs weren't easy to get to, and devices that I need always on (like the Wi-Fi router) made it impossible to just cut the power on my whole rig on shutdown in the interest of saving energy. Did I mention I had no way to tell what plug was what? Here's how I perfected the setup.
- Separate the always-on devices from the shutoffable ones. I had a dream: that when I shut down my computer, I could flip a single switch to power down all my peripherals—monitor, printer, scanner, speakers and the constant laptop battery charging, too. But when your always-on devices like the router or home server are plugged into that power strip, that's a no-go. Split your always-on devices off and plug them into a separate strip or outlet so you can have the single switch for the shutoffable ones to save energy and cash on your utility bills when you're not using your devices.
- Label the plugs. It's not until you accidentally unplug and fry an external hard drive because you thought it was the desk lamp that you realise how helpful plug labels really are. Don't mock; just do it. A simple label maker and a few minutes of your time are all you need to easily and permanently tell which one of those big box plugs is for your router and which is for your desk lamp.
- Put the stuff you unplug often in easy-to-reach positions. When I grab my laptop to go, I don't want to crawl under my desk to pull the plug out of the middle of a power strip. Arrange your plugs so the stuff you'll never pull out—like your shredder or printer—is in the hard-to-reach places and things like your phone charger and laptop plugs are in the accessible positions (for me, at the ends of the strip).
- Position your gadgets for optimal usage. That Wi-Fi router will offer a stronger signal the higher up it is. Your cell phone won't make your speakers emit that ear-killing sound when you get a text message if it's across the room. Wire your power strips so that your gadgets have the best possible positioning.
I know I'm not the only dork in the room who's put unnatural thought into power strip optimisation. How do you arrange your plugs, and why? Give it up in the comments.