Confession: I'm totally a pen-chewer. While the habit offers the benefit of keeping people from stealing my stuff, it's mostly just an annoying habit resulting in torn-up pens made useless long before the ink runs out. At least now I can salvage something from all those wasted ballpoints to organize the cords in my office with this little pen hack...
If you've ever been bored at a desk before, you've likely taken apart a ballpoint pen and discovered there's a tiny little spring within. But did you know the spring can help you manage small cords and cables at your desk—or really anywhere you can glue a small magnet?
Twitter account @lifeprotips shared a low cost cord control DIY trick you can test out the next time you find a ballpoint pen drained of ink (or in my case, too gnarled up from chewing). All you need to do is remove the spring from the barrel and then coil the spring around the cord. With the spring wrapped around, the cord will now stick anywhere to a magnet (tip: you'll want to use a small super strong neodymium magnet for optimal strength/hold).
But let me say, it's easier said than done. Holding the spring perpendicular to the cord, and then pressing the cord inbetween any two loops of the spring requires patience and dexterity. From there, you can wrap the spring around the cord and work to the ends to get it all perfectly coiled around your cable.
After that, just glue a small magnet nearby on your desk or anywhere else you want to access the cord (or if your surface is metal, let the magnet do its thing without any extra adhesive!). The spring—and your cords—will be held in place wherever you need it.
You could use this to keep peripheral cords from sliding out of reach behind your desk, or to keep a lightweight cord bundle, like a pair of earbuds, at the ready.
(Images: Gregory Han; Life Pro Tips)