Declutter the clutter: Cable and Wire Management matters

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Hey Bubbas,

As we recently mentioned, the one thing to ruin an otherwise excellent home theater design, is that rat’s nest of cables draped all over your system. We covered some good ideas on running speaker wires and other cables away from your home entertainment center, including hiding cable runs behind baseboards and inside walls. But you still have a wad of wire tangled over your main components.

Thorin Klosowski of Lifehacker has some solid ideas and great tricks on cable management. Before you do anything else, you need to just unhook everything and clean off all of your cables. Wipe them down good, and check the connectors to make sure that none of the connectors are boogered up with any dirt. Then,

“lay out your cables on the floor in front of the entertainment center so you can get an idea of where everything needs to go. Since even on the simplest setup, half are going to the TV and the other half to a power outlet, organize them by end point so you know where each cable is heading. For instance, set all your HDMI, component cables, and coaxial cables together. Set all you power cords aside as well. This also means setting aside the cables that connect to the stereo or other auxiliary devices like a Wii’s motion sensor bar or Kinect.”

Thorin goes through how to hook everything back up in an organized way. Most importantly, you will bundle like cables together with velcro and cable ties. You will also shorten long cables by looping and tying them off the same way. If you’ve ever walked into a professional sound studio, a computer rack room, and telephone hub…. this is how the millions of wires are managed. Neat bundling of similar length cables.

Cable and Wire Management

You can attached cables and power adapters directly to peg board with wire and wire ties.

One of his best suggestions is to

“Replace a fiberboard back with peg board: If you have a home entertainment center that has a fiberboard back, rip it off and replace it with a piece of peg board. This gives you a way to easily hang and organize the same way you would with your computer. This method is especially helpful if you have extra game controllers or remotes lying around and want a basket to stuff them in. A peg board is also handy because you can use a tool holder to organize cables.”

Seriously, get your cables if not completely organized, then at least neatly hidden from view. Nothing says “amateur” like that tangled mess, or even a lone, ugly draped cable in the middle of a floor or wall. Not only will it look 1000% better, when it comes time to replace or add new components or gear, you’ll be able to get to it and swap it out more easily.

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