I Tackled My Messy Cord Drawer This Year, and Here’s How I Did It

published Dec 26, 2022
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Charging cords were ruining my family. It might sound dramatic for me to say that, but I assure you that’s how my tween felt when his phone battery was in the danger zone and he couldn’t find a working cord in our home to charge it. To be honest, I felt the same frustration whenever I dug through our basket of electronics, trying to find one cord that didn’t need to be positioned exactly right to work.

When we remodeled our kitchen in 2021, we added a wall of cabinets that included one counter-height cubby with six outlets inside. Rather than having laptops and tablets take up our kitchen counters as we scramble for an outlet, this dedicated space has made it so our surfaces are clear and accidental spills are rare. I thought this had solved our issue, but a big one remained, even so: Since all of our cords were in one place, they had become annoyingly jumbled. It was my goal to change that this year, as quickly and easily as possible.

To get started, I took everything out and laid it all on our dining table for a clear view. I untangled all of the cords and made piles that matched — USB to USB, USB-C to iPhone, and so on — and then made a separate pile of unknown cords. We gathered up the toy drones, remote control cars, and cameras next, and then tested each of their corresponding cords. In order for a cord to make it into the “keep” pile, it had to fit a device we use and it had to work without any antics. I stored one working cord of each type in the cabinet, and put the good-to-go spares in plastic baggies stored within my desk as backups. Any cord that did not work or could not be matched to an electronic device was recycled at Best Buy, which has a really great electronic recycling program. 

I wanted to give my kids more responsibility with this project, too. Since their devices use Bark and shut off each evening under parental control, there’s no reason they can’t charge them in their bedrooms. So, each child got a cord in their own unique color so there was no confusion about rightful ownership. If their device wasn’t ready for the next day, that was on them — it’s time for mom to stop being in charge of battery life! I also made sure my car and work bag had working cords for each of the devices I need daily. 

Lastly, before placing items back into the cabinet, I thoroughly wiped it out and rehomed the other stray items that had found their way into the space. A small plastic basket from Dollar Tree fit to contain the cords not currently in use, with each placed in a clear reusable Zipper bag. I was also able to pack away a few small drones, a kids’ digital camera, and the battery pack to my heating pad in the bin, with room next to it for larger charging devices used by laptops and tablets. 

This is one of those organization tasks that will need frequent touch-ups — like swapping out worn out cords and chasing down ones that migrate into other parts of the house — but clearing out the majority of the clutter has made this area of my home so much easier to tolerate. If you have a cord drawer, I recommend doing the same. And even an organized basket is better than nothing! Now that cords aren’t “ruining my family,” we’ve moved on to more important things, like which movie we should watch together next.

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