If your entertainment centre looks like a fire hazard, it might be time to get the cord clutter under control and hidden away. It's not as easy as organising your computer cables, but it can still be done without spending a lot of money.It's easy for cables to get bunched up, cluttered and messy. No matter how carefully you put everything together, you almost always end up with a mess. It's actually very easy to minimise the clutter and organise everything. Let's take a look at the steps you need to do that.
Step 1: Disconnect And Clean Everything
Hopefully your entertainment centre doesn't look like it housed an army of cats like mine in the picture above, but chances are it's still a bit dusty back there. Disconnect all your cables and clean everything off.
Step 2: Organise By Endpoint On the Floor
Next, lay out your cables on the floor in front of the entertainment centre so you can get an idea of where everything needs to go. Since even on the simplest setup, half are going to the TV and the other half to a power outlet, organise them by end point so you know where each cable is heading. For instance, set all your HDMI, component cables and coaxial cables together. Set all your power cords aside as well. This also means setting aside the cables that connect to the stereo or other auxiliary devices like a Wii's motion sensor bar or Kinect.
Step 3: Connect the Power Cords To Your Power Strip
There's no exact order you need to go in, but if you consider the power cords the foundation of your setup, it helps get the organisation process started. They're all heading to the power strip, so it makes sense to start there. Plug everything into the power strip and lay it out where your devices are.
Step 4: Connect Everything To Its End Point
It's easiest to start at the end then work your way to the device it's coming from. For instance, you want to start by connecting your HDMI cables to the TV, the Ethernet cables to your router, and everything else you have at its destination. Once connected, lay them out approximately where your gadgets are.
Step 5: Shorten Your Cables
Using twist ties, cable ties or Velcro, shorten your cords so that they are the exact length between the two devices they need to be. You can do this by wrapping the cable around your hand and tying it off with the tie of your choice. Shorter cables are easier to manage and hide away.
Step 6: Wrap Like-Cables Together
Once your cables are shortened, the best way to keep everything from ending messy again is to wrap everything heading the same direction together. For instance, if you have three HDMI cables heading to the television, tie all three together with your cable ties. The same goes for every other cable you have. You're going for an effect like these cord organisers . The idea is that you're tying everything together in bulk to make it look like one large cable instead of three.
Step 7: Connect Your Devices
Once everything is tied and cleaned up, your entertainment should be looking a lot better. Go ahead and plug in all your devices and slide them into the entertainment centre. Depending on the size of your setup, you may have a lot of excess cord or small bundles everywhere. If it looks fine to you, then you're done. But if you want to hide and organise a little more, here's a few suggestions.
Organise Everything Further if You Need It
If you want to step up the organisation there are a few extra steps you can take to hide cables or make it all look a little better.
- Binder Clips: Yes, binder clips work behind your television just as well as your desk. If you have a lot of cables, you can use binder clips to keep all your cables in a neat row or help keep them propped up if they need to cross over everything else. This keeps the cables from dangling or hanging awkwardly across other cables.
- Hide your power strip: If your power strip is full, you probably have power cables going everywhere. You can get a box that hides it away and organises the cables out of a singular small hole, or you convert a shoe box to do the same thing.
- Replace a fibreboard back with peg board: If you have a home entertainment centre that has a fibreboard back, rip it off and replace it with a piece of peg board. This gives you a way to easily hang and organise the same way you would with your computer. This method is especially helpful if you have extra game controllers or remotes lying around and want a basket to stuff them in. A peg board is also handy because you can use a tool holder to organise cables.
- Skip hiding everything and embrace the look: Alternately, you can always just embrace the fact you need cables running everything and mount everything to the wall in a decorative pattern. This takes a lot of work, but the effect can be better than hiding everything away.
Do you keep your entertainment centre organised? Share any tips you have in the comments.