Tips for Organizing the Mess Under Your Desk

The target of my devotion is clear. I love trading. And, I love trading from my home office computer most of all. The target of my hatred is clear as well. I hate CABLES! They make such a mess. They’re ugly dust collectors. No matter how hard I try to keep cables organized, the spaghetti mess always grows. Keeping the mess of cables organized in and around our computers is a never-ending battle. It’s even worse for us traders, with our typical four- or six-monitor setups. I’ve torn my desk apart two or three times in the last year. After dusting, cleaning, and rearranging, piece-by-piece I reconnect the monitors and cables to my desktop computer. With a clean, fresh, organized workspace, my world is full of peace and serenity. I can finally focus on trading. Except for that mess of wires that still looks awful and immediately starts collecting dust again. And there goes my peace and my focus. Traders need focus. Having focus while at your trading computer is all about optimizing your space to minimize visual distractions. Optimizing your office space boosts your productivity. In fact, productivity experts suggest resetting your workspace at the end of each workday. The point is to be able to hit the new workday with minimal visualize distractions and maximal ability to focus. Sounds great! How do you keep your desk organized every day, all day? Especially with all those cables? After years of experimentation, I’ve found a few inexpensive devices that maximize your workspace and kick the cable clutter to the curb. Here are 4 of my favorites.

1. Cable Management Box

Start from the bottom up to keep your office clean and organized: hide the surge protector. The space around your power outlets and surge protectors is the messiest area by far. In the past, I assumed nothing could be done (safely). Then I discovered Bluelounge’s cable management box. Place your surge protector inside the box. There are cutouts on either end of the box, allowing you to pass through the plug for the electrical outlet and the plugs that connect to your computer, monitors and digital devices. You could use this in your office, near your TV (I’ve always hated the mess of cables behind our TV), or anywhere else you find a need.  You can see from the picture what a difference it makes. Cable management boxes are simple in design but cut out more than half of the cable clutter. You could make this out of a shoe box covered in duct tape or electrical tape, but I don’t feel safe with that solution. This Bluelounge box has cut outs for cables and for air circulation. Having the box professionally made out of plastic materials makes me feel it wouldn’t cause a fire or freak accident.

2. Velcro Cable Ties

I use Velcro ties to wrap cables. It works fantastically. You can wrap excess cable with one or two ties. Instant organization! You can also use these ties to affix your HDMI cables to your monitor stands. Cables disappear from your sight. The monitors appear to be floating in midair. Voila! You’re back to focusing on trading. I’ve tried everything to wrap cables. I’ve even bought the large plastic tubing they sell at home improvement and electronics stores. Technically, it works. But it’s a big eyesore. I’d prefer to see the cables less, not more. A few months back I found Velcro cable ties at Walgreens. I gave them a try since they were cheap. Boy, was I surprised! They might be inexpensive, but they work better than anything else I’ve tried. One lesson I’ve learned is to buy these Velcro ties in bulk. Amazon sells them in packs of 100 for pennies a piece.

3. Cable Router

Earlier, I said I didn’t like plastic tubing for organizing cable and I meant it. However, there are occasions, such as when you need to route power, audio, and video to a laptop, when you need to conceal a bundle of cables. In this case, Velcro ties don’t fit the bill. I did find a cable routing system made by Bluelounge that’s effective and elegant. Instead of an unsightly plastic tube, the cable cover is made of a more attractive woven material. And with the included zipper mechanism, inserting the cables is super easy. Since this system isn’t ugly, you can use it in high visibility areas (like your conference table, kitchen, living room, and … of course, your office).

4. Device Docking Station

Let’s address the final frontier of messy cables: smartphones and tablets. If you’re anything like me, you don’t want to forget to charge your device, so you leave the power cable plugged in. Unfortunately, using the cable as a constant visual reminder to recharge also creates a chaotic visual distraction on your desk. Here’s a simple solution: a mobile device docking station. I especially like one called Quirky Converge. I chose this one because it works for any devices that need a USB charge. It’s beautifully designed, minimalistic, and it’s not limited to one type of device. You can charge a phone, tablet, camera, etc. Using this docking station, you can hide your charging cables, get your devices off your desktop, and keep everything at full power.

Conclusion

Consistently profitable traders keep their minds clear. And a clear mind demands a clear workspace, with minimal visual distractions. Next time you’re ready to do some dusting or re-arranging, try a few of these suggestions for getting your own cable mess under control.
There are more trading computer tips like this in our buyers guide. Check out our “How To Buy a Trading Computer” e-book.
We hope today’s Quick Tip helped you. If you found this helpful, you’ll want to check out the other computer How-To’s I’ve created on this page. You can always call us if you have questions: 800-387-5250