Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Reader Question: DIY Hiding Cables & Wires

Over at my Storage Geek blog, I get asked advice questions on organization and storage. (I know! Isn't that just the coolest?!) And since the posts take some time to search and type I thought I would post them here as well. 
Photo Credit: Adam Pash
imakesht asked: Do you know of any ways to store/hide wires both inside a house and out? It's making my place look cluttered and disorganized.

Cables got you down? Wires tripping you up? Go wireless. Just kidding. Unfortunately, wireless doesn't work for power cords. Boo-urns! But I did some searching and found a lot of options. Unfortunately, most are not cheap and/or little effort required.
The other thing was without clarification on where your wires were located I just kind of collected a general assortment of cable corralling solutions. So lets start with the cheapest and easiest first.
This computer cord tamer from Instructables user trainwiththom is fashioned from wire hanger and hangs off the back of your flat screen monitor. Super easy and super cheap. Bonus. But unfortunately not a help to thos of us with lap tops (Or giant pre-flat screen monitors).
Photo Credit: Adam Pash
The first step in hiding your cords and cables is to corral them together. At your computer area (If you have a desk) you can use an under desk basket like this one from Ikea to keep them flowing together tangle free and in the same direction (toward your surge protector and/or cable outlets). Use a few cable ties to keep them neat. You could also cable tie them to your desk legs if you have legs on your desk.
This is my new favourite. Created by Karl Zahn for the 2006 MUJI International Design Competition it is not in production yet but could easily be DIYed for little to no money I think. The effort is there though with the cutting, painting and installing but I think it would be totally worth it. Some 1/4" thick plywood, paint and double sided tape and your sitting on a lovely little fence.
That pretty much takes care of the minimal effort alternatives. After that you can install WireTracks CM which "WireTracks CM WireTracks CM kits turn regular crown molding into removable wiring channels that you can use to hide low voltage or electrical cables (check your local codes). They can be used for simple jobs such as getting wiring from the front of a home theater to the back. Or, they can be installed throughout a building to give building owners the ability to run wiring between any two points that are linked by connected walls. And because crown molding is installed above doorframes, it is easy to get uninterrupted coverage of an entire floor." I am not going to lie, I think this is brilliant. I couldn't find a price but I see it being worth it if you have a serious amount of wires and cables to conceal.
UT Wire cord protector and concealer. This looks to be a great option for renters as it does not require permanent installation and you can also take it with you when you move. From the website "Our unique flexible material makes installation simple to do.Ÿ Easy to lie flat and ready to tape on the floor in seconds.Ÿ Three individual separate compartments for extra storage and easy identification of cords.Ÿ Remove cords from the 2 top loading compartments for any future adjustment needed.Ÿ Adjust the length of this cord cover to desire length using a pair of scissors.
Finally, you could also hide them in your walls using various wall plates at various locations in your house. If you feel up to this sort of project (Because you own or have really nice landlords) here is a great link about Doing It Yourself.
Regarding outdoor wires, I am sorry, short of burying them in PVC pipe I haven't any ideas.
A few goodies I have posted over the last little while include:

Wireless peripherals are not the be all end all solution although I sure wish they were and not everything can be wireless (Right?) so I hope these suggestions helped in some way.
Thanks for asking such a great question! Don't forget to stop by the Storage Geek blog for more great storage tips and fantastic DIY inspiration!