Safely organise your workspace with effective cable labelling

Despite the rise of wireless connectivity (think Bluetooth and Wi-Fi), the age of cable-connected devices remains with us and is likely to do so for a long time to come. Two facts arise from this:

  1. Cables are good. Ultra-fast HDMI cables, for example, neatly replace the multiple wires we used to need for audio-visual equipment with a single uber-fast conduit for data transfer. Remember the black connector for Left audio, the red connector for Right, and the yellow connector for composite video? Ethernet cables remain the most reliable data transfer channel for internet work. Of course, we still need to plug desktop PCs into the mains power outlet on the wall, along with the printer, USB smartphone and laptop charger cables, USB external hard drives, the desktop lamp, and so on.
  2. Cables are messy. Loose, tangled wires just look bad (some would say they’re even stressful to behold – we seem to be hardwired for seeking beauty). And this is especially true if you’re working from home and using a domestic workstation. Even more true if more than one member of your household is doing so at the same time as you. It’s all too easy to connect the wrong cable to the wrong devices. You then end up with a morass of wires cascading over the desktop and under your feet on the floor like jumbled spaghetti.

Thankfully, Fact 2 isn’t an inevitable consequence of Fact 1. Just because you need a range of high-quality cables to work efficiently doesn’t mean you have to live with ‘cable spaghetti’ and continual confusion about which cable is intended for which device. Adequate cable labelling can spare you both the eyesore and the befuddlement that inevitably arises from disorganised cable distribution.

Here’s how:

Using durable cable labelling solutions supplied by reputable vendors like Euronetwork, you can identify each cable just before termination with wrap-around markers just before the jack, making the legend visible from all directions.

Euronetwork, for example, supplies a wide variety of pre-printed UV-resistant adhesive cable labels for this purpose. The days of painstakingly tracing a cable back to its source (and the sore knees arising from such tedious labour) will be gone forever: just read the information on the label at the cable terminal and Bob’s your uncle.

As for the “optics” – the eyestrain of looking at a sea of tangled cables – a range of simple solutions are at hand. One sorting exercise will be enough to cure the problem permanently. Simply arrange the cables in an untangled order and bundle them together, either using a few judiciously-spaced simple twist-ties (like you find in the packaging of many electrical devices or even toys), or products such as Velcro cable ties.

Zip ties will also do the job but bear in mind that if you need to change the cable layout (e.g., by adding or removing a cable), you can’t adjust them – you’ll simply have to cut them open and use replacement ties on your new arrangement.

Finally, lift the cables off the floor and make them invisible by using a solution like a “Cable Corral”, which you can easily attach to the underside of your workstation surface. You’ll not only instantly dispense with an eyesore, but you’ll make it a lot easier to vacuum the floor, too.

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