Saturday, February 16, 2008

DIY and Save Money - Computer Cables

A great way to save money is to do something yourself.

I have all my computer stuff in one corner, and it's a big mess. My goal was to organize and clean up the clutter from all the wires and power cords. I went to stores like Office Depot and Best Buy to see what my options were, and they were all the same: expensive. CompUSA had a computer cable organizer for $75, and it didn't really remove the clutter. No way I was spending that much money on a piece of plastic to wrap my cables around. So to save myself money, this became a do-it-yourself project.

Here is the before situation:

The goal was to hide and organize the following cables and power cords:
- APC power supply
- Cable modem
- Apple Airport Extreme
- 2 WD MyBook external hard drives
- Cell phone charger
- Camera docking station

I wanted a solution that looked nice and neat, but did not cost me any money. At first, I considered a shoe box, but the power cord transformers can get really hot, so it seemed like a fire hazard. So I went to the store looking for something similar to a shoe box.

I found the following at the Container Store. It cost $1.99.

I drilled holes in the top for air flow, and holes on the sides for cables to pass through.

The next step was to pack everything in the box, with the wires passing through the holes.

I tied the wires up with twisty ties to pack them in there nicely. The twisty ties only cost 1 dollar. Actually, I could not find just twisty ties. I checked the dollar store and Big Lots. So I had to buy some plastic storage bags to get the ties.

After everything is packed in the box and the cables and power cords hooked up, all that was left is to close the box and arrange everything into the corner.

I think it looks pretty good for the amount of time and money spent. It is definitely better than the mess of cables and power cords owning up the floor space before. Everything is neat and packed into the corner.

Total cost: $3
Total time: 20 minutes of work
Money saved: $50+

The lesson is don't spend a lot of money on something if you can do it yourself for cheap.


Ivan said...

haha nice. The expensive cables probably do look nicer though =P

Mark said...

The goal was to get the same result but for cheap! I was really surprised how much neater the room looks by just stuffing the majority of the cables in a box, rather than have them running wild all over the place.

Joerg Napp said...

You really do keep all your devices on the floor?

Sandra said...

I'd imagine this could be easily improved upon by simply finding an opaque container (at least, that would improve it for me).

Kerry said...

honestly, i think that looks awful. hopefully you don't do any vacuuming, keeping your devices on the floor is a recipe for disaster.

nothing personal.

RogierG said...

I'd buy a simple cabinet from Ikea and do the about the same thing. Stuff all the cables and a powerblock in the drawer.

Bonus: the cabinet will also hide the outlets.

Paul said...

Where is your desk?

Mark said...

I agree that an opaque container would look even better, but I could not find a cheap opaque container. I really didn't want to spend much money! Now everything is ready if I ever get a desk or table to hide everything even more.

Rebecca said...

wow, that is better. now, tell us how you get by without furniture! that must save a lot of money, too.