Label Your Cables

Last time, I wrote about how to identify different types of cables so that you can get rid of any cables you don’t need and downsize what you have too much of. (See You Have Too Many Cables.) This time, I want to write about how to prevent the madness so that you don’t have too many cables in the future.

When you get a new device, take a few minutes to label the cables. If the plug is large enough, you can put the label on the plug. If the plug is too small, then put the label around the cable itself just before it runs into the plug. If the cable and plug are detachable, then I recommend labeling both items.

Even if you don’t have a labeler (like the Brother P-Touch that I own), you can use a sharpie with masking tape or colored tape. If doesn’t have to be fancy, it just needs to be legible. If I am labeling the cable itself (not the plug), I wrap the tape around the cable just once so that it looks like a flag, and I label it on both sides.

This method will clearly reduce cable confusion in the future. But it can also help you out right away. I’m guessing that most of the time, you are plugging your cables into a power strip. (We have too many devices to devote an entire outlet to each one.) It can be confusing to look at a power strip full of plugs and know which device is which. Labeling your cables will enable you to better manage your power strips so that you don’t have to unplug every cable if you want to remove something.

And if you stop keeping this device plugged in permanently, having a labeled cable will ensure that this cable doesn’t end up in the Mystery Cables box!

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