Earbuds are frequently a hassle: they come undone in your bag and tangle themselves up as soon as your back is turned. Wouldn't it be nice if tangled headphones were a thing of the past? Here are our favourite methods to wrap up your headphones without the frustration.
Use a Binder Clip
We obviously love binder clips, and they make for great cable-management tools. You can use them to hold your wrapped headphones in place so they don't get tangled up in your bag, or you can use a binder clip as the actual wrapping device. Slap on the binder clip near the earpiece end and begin wrapping the cord around the two metal arms. You can use it as a cable shortener and even clip it on to your backpack for hassle-free listening. When you're done, you can take the headphone jack and feed it through the wider opening of the arms to keep it all in place. This method is very versatile, but it takes up a lot of space, so you won't be able to just slide your headphones in and out of your pocket.
Braid Your Headphones Using Paracord or Embroidery Floss
Braided headphones not only look great, they prevent any tangles from occurring in the first place. If braiding is your thing, you can braid a friendship bracelet around your headphones to make them tangle-free, using embroidery floss or regular string. If you don't know how to braid, you can also use parachute cord (aka paracord) by running your headphone wires through it. Both approaches can be time-consuming initially, so if you lack spare hours or braiding skill, you can buy headphones ready-braided.
The Over-Under Method
All those bends and kinks that you create by wrapping your headphones in different ways can destroy the cord over time, and some people are paranoid enough to avoid most wrapping techniques at all costs. If you're nodding your head, the over-under method is for you.
You're simply alternating two different kinds of loops to counteract any kind of tangling when you unravel your headphones, so start by making a regular loop and then make another loop that goes in the opposite direction. The easiest way to do this is to grab the cable underhand, then bring it up and twist it a little as you make a loop out of it. This method can be a little tricky at first and may take a bit of practice, but it doesn't tangle your headphones at all and they're easy to unravel when you need them quickly.
Use An Old Credit Card
If you have a few minutes to spare and want a cheap and effective way to wrap your headphones, you can make a cord wrapper out of an old credit card or rewards card. Simply cut it in half and cut two angled slots, one at each end opposite of each other. Make sure you create a larger opening at the end of the slots so that you can fit the headphones through them.
Just like the binder clip, you can use the card as a cable shortener and it takes up less space. However, wrapping a cable around a credit card creates sharps bends in the cable that could ruin your headphones over time. Plus, it's something that you can't use in a pinch, since it takes a little bit of time to make.
Use Your Phone Or Player
Another great way to wrap your headphones is to use your phone or MP3 player as the actual wrapping device. It not only acts as a guide for your headphone wrapping, it ensures that your headphones and the device you use with it are never separated.
You can do this many ways, but arguably the best method is to create a half-loop before you start wrapping the cable around, and then use the loop to secure the end by tightening it down. It's a bit tricky at first and can take some practice (see the video at the top of this post for a demo). An added bonus: you won't be able to slip your device in and out of your pocket.
The Hook-Em-Horns Method
This is the go-to method for most of the Lifehacker team. It involves wrapping your headphones in a figure-8 pattern using your first finger and little finger as guides. Then you wrap the end up in the middle and stick the headphone jack through the loops you just made to secure it. This method doesn't require any special tools other than your hands, and it's an effective way to keep your headphones from unravelling, but it take a few tries to get it right.
Photo by fthes (Shutterstock).