How to Organize Your Cable Clutter on the Cheap

Posted on May 20, 2011

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Building a Home Theater can be a very satisfying project. After all the work of placing your speakers, putting your TV and setting up your source components, there’s nothing like being able to sit down and watch a great movie in high definition with awesome surround sound. However, a home theater project can lead to huge cord clutters, lessening the aesthetic appearance of your setup. If things get out of hand, organizing your cable clutter may seem a daunting task. Not to worry, though. There are many different solutions to solve your cable clutter headache.

Instead of recommending a “best” solution, I think it’s best to go through several possible answers to cord clutter problems, as every home theater is unique, and solutions may vary from one to another. The easiest (and cheapest) solution, of course, is to use existing furniture to hide as many cables as possible. A TV stand with a back or a bookshelf are perfect items for this. In most cases, however, your furniture will not be enough to cover the mess.

Ikea

Ikea is a great place to start when looking for cable organizing items. In fact, I was able to find everything I needed there to organize my cable mess. With just $15, I was able to hide all of my cables, or at least organize them in a way that didn’t look tacky (which definitely pleased my wife!). I bought a pack of plastic tubing that had a slit down the middle to place the cords in, with adhesive on the back to stick onto a surface. I also bought a box of tie-wraps, Velcro straps, nail-in clips, and other cord-organizing gadgetry that assisted me in positioning the cables where I needed them to be. These items aren’t sold online, but there are a couple of other items you can find on their site that are affordable and work for managing cable clutter.

My HTPC Setup

For my setup, I only really needed to hide the cables coming down from the LCD TV and the speaker wires going out to the rear left and rear right speakers. With the tubing I purchased at Ikea, it was pretty painless to hide the speaker wires. Obviously, the cleanest solution would be to run the speakers wire through the walls, but I that just wasn’t a practical solution for our situation. For the wires coming from the TV to the HTPC, I was able to put the excess

Other Solutions

There are so many good and creative solutions to cable clutter, and most of them won’t hurt your wallet. Cable Turtlesare a good way to solve the problem of having cables that are too long. Too often, we just throw all excess cables behind some furniture, but this can lead to not only a huge mess, but also overheating and signal interference (if they are speaker wires).

Cable Turtles

The web is a great place to purchase these types of tools because they are inexpensive. I imagine many are discouraged from organizing theur cord messes because going to an actual store, you’ll probably find that these tools are usually overpriced. One great resource is Cableorganizer.com. For other great deals check out these listed on Amazon. Most items are less than $10. If you don’t want to purchase online, check out RadioShack.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em!

If you don’t feel like these solutions work for you, don’t give up. You can always think of your own solution, customized to your room and setup. Over on XBMC’s blog, there is a post on an interesting way of cleaning up cord clutter. Instead of hiding the cables, the owner decided to place the cords on the wall and align them so as to resemble a circuit board. Check it out:

There’s not always one “best” way to manage your home theater’s cord mess. Always remember to be creative and look for items that aren’t designed for cord management but would work anyway. Don’t spend too much money and have fun with it. You’ll enjoy it, especially when watching a movie with no distractions.

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