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Tidy Cords

Martha Stewart Living, January 2003

Eliminate the tangle of unused extension cords by storing each one in a piece of pipe insulation -- foam tubing with a slit along one side. Using a utility knife, cut insulation to desired length (about thirteen inches for each six feet of cord). Fold the cord to size, insert it, and label the foam to indicate the length of cord enclosed.

 

Comments (43)

  • 7 Jan, 2014

    Come on guys, really? This is not only a practical idea but also a clean, good looking solution to a wiring mess. How much could it cost? I will use this with pleasure knowing it is functional and looks like it was made for this purpose. Much better than used paper rolls. Good job, Martha.

  • 23 Mar, 2013

    you could also use the rolls that aluminum foil and saran wrap come on, they are extra sturdy rolls...

  • 5 Aug, 2011

    I like this idea. It's very clever. Good work Team MS on some good tips. I mostly use zip ties. (P.S. I don't like rubber bands because they dry up and break over time)

  • 5 Aug, 2011

    Use an empty toilet paper or paper towel tube...quicker & cheaper. If you care to, you can cover the cardboard with self adhesive paper, wrapping paper, or even colorful duct tape.

  • 10 Nov, 2010

    Actually not a bad idea for someone like myself who deals with a lot of equipment and the corresponding cords. Wouldn't bother on the smaller cords, but the extension cords and some of the larger cords make a mess.

  • 31 Mar, 2010

    I really think that Martha was running low on tips today because this is extremely anal, even for her.
    When you buy something, usually kids toys, and its tied down with those heavy duty ties, those ties make great cord holders. I use them to keep the cords behind my electronics organized and it keeps them out of the landfills. Rubber bands are the best I think.

  • 31 Mar, 2010

    I really think that Martha was running low on tips today because this is extremely anal, even for her.
    When you buy something, usually kids toys, and its tied down with those heavy duty ties, those ties make great cord holders. I use them to keep the cords behind my electronics organized and it keeps them out of the landfills. Rubber bands are the best I think.

  • 30 Mar, 2010

    Paper towel rolls are inexpensive and useful for storing extension cords also.

  • 30 Mar, 2010

    I tie my cords with a rubber band and put them in a canvas bag. Never thought to indicate length of cords but then never ran into a problem.

  • 30 Mar, 2010

    I guess Martha is always right but I must say I just put a rubberband around the little buggers and hang them from a hook in the much unused space above the inside of the coat closet. You can at least see what size they are and I'm just not sure what the cover does for you.

  • 30 Mar, 2010

    I guess Martha is always right but I must say I just put a rubberband around the little buggers and hang them from a hook in the much unused space above the inside of the coat closet. You can at least see what size they are and I'm just not sure what the cover does for you.

  • 30 Mar, 2010

    I've been covering my cords in pipe insulation for years. I put it on cords starting from the apliance to the wall. I have a cat that loves to chew on cords and it took a lot of trial and error to find something that would keep her away from the cord. The pipe insulation is already split which is handy. If the cord is thick and stiff a little tape may be needed to hold the insulation closed.
    I never thought about putting unused cords in the insulation. What a clever idea. Thanks.

  • 5 Nov, 2009

    I plan to use the insulated pipe wrap as suggested, but with a twist. I am going to mount it on the wall behind my desk..from printer to near receptacle and the same for other electronics leaving out a small amount to plug in. The ties Ed suggested might be very useful tomake the wrap more stable..a little trial and a few errors along the way will do away with the tangled mess. I tried the towel core, etc ..with these split, ..I can just lay it in, and I am good to go!! Love it.

  • 5 Nov, 2009

    I prefer to store mine in toilet paper rolls. I can't imagine the hassle of trying to stuff every bit of cord into one of these pieces of pipe insulation.

  • 5 Nov, 2009

    What a great way to store those recharging cords and label which is which. I've been putting tape tags on them but this would be easier to see right away.

  • 7 Feb, 2009

    well vivie's being a real [filtered word] today, huh?

  • 7 Feb, 2009

    well vivie's being a real [filtered word] today, huh?

  • 9 Jan, 2009

    Hey VivieLeigh, be nice, no need to be judgemental of others.

  • 8 Jan, 2009

    I've been doing this for 20 years with the emptied tubes that hold toilet tissue and paper towels

  • 8 Jan, 2009

    Another good way to use this is to utilize it to keep tangles of cords that are coming out of one's electronic devices in a more organized, eye-pleasing arrangement.

  • 10 Oct, 2008

    GOOD ONE THIS STUFF IS VERY INEXPENCIVE !!!!!!!

  • 10 Oct, 2008

    GOOD ONE THIS STUFF IS VERY INEXPENCIVE !!!!!!!

  • 10 Oct, 2008

    GOOD ONE THIS STUFF IS VERY INEXPENCIVE !!!!!!!

  • 8 Oct, 2008

    Then, if you really have so many that it's a problem, donate them to a group that fixes up houses for seniors, along with that extra pipe insulation you have lying around. What, you mean you were going to go out and buy it just for this purpose? Then I would say you have too much time and money on your hands and you might want to volunteer and/or contribute to such groups as well. In my area one is called Rebuilding Together, but they exist all over, and provide very valuable services.

  • 8 Oct, 2008

    The simpler and greener the solution, the better. I just loop them, like in the photo, and then wind the ends around the middle a couple of times, in opposite directions and plug them into each other. Nothing to buy, takes no extra space, and by not having them covered up you readily can see the length.

  • 8 Oct, 2008

    The tubes from paper towels and toilet tissue have been in use in my home since forever. Left over contact paper keeps them strong and easy to find no matter what they are used for....extra extension cords, hair dryer, curling iron, heating pad, infrequently used appliances, hand vaccuums, etc. .

  • 7 Oct, 2008

    exactly! and if you want to make it even less work, skip the contact paper cover. but using papertowel rolls is being more 'green' than going out and buying this pipe insulation

  • 7 Oct, 2008

    exactly! and if you want to make it even less work, skip the contact paper cover. but using papertowel rolls is being more 'green' than going out and buying this pipe insulation

  • 7 Oct, 2008

    exactly! and if you want to make it even less work, skip the contact paper cover. but using papertowel rolls is being more 'green' than going out and buying this pipe insulation

  • 7 Oct, 2008

    exactly! and if you want to make it even less work, skip the contact paper cover. but using papertowel rolls is being more 'green' than going out and buying this pipe insulation

  • 7 Oct, 2008

    Nice idea but I do something that is alot more economical. I take empty paper towel rolls, cover them with contac paper, write the length of the cord on the outside and voila, a cord holder. You can also do this with the toilet paper rolls to neaten up the cords to your hair dryer, mixer, etc. before putting them away.

  • 7 Oct, 2008

    Nice idea but I do something that is alot more economical. I take empty paper towel rolls, cover them with contac paper, write the length of the cord on the outside and voila, a cord holder. You can also do this with the toilet paper rolls to neaten up the cords to your hair dryer, mixer, etc. before putting them away.

  • 7 Oct, 2008

    Nice idea but I do something that is alot more economical. I take empty paper towel rolls, cover them with contac paper, write the length of the cord on the outside and voila, a cord holder. You can also do this with the toilet paper rolls to neaten up the cords to your hair dryer, mixer, etc. before putting them away.

  • 7 Oct, 2008

    And as far as looking cheap - does it really matter? Remember it is for storage.

  • 7 Oct, 2008

    Yes, but Martha's idea looks nicer, which is important to me. paper tubes look -well, cheap

  • 7 Oct, 2008

    My Grandma has been storing cords in paper towel tubes and toilet paper tubes for as long as I can remember. This is no new idea. You can wind Christmas lights around paper towel tubes as well.

  • 7 Oct, 2008

    Why pay for pipe insulation OR velcro ties OR even use up a plastic bag? All cost money. Just use paper towel tubes for long cords and toilet paper tubes for short ones -- FREE! I write on them to say how long the cord is. (This is the first time I can remember my own technique being much better than Martha's - LOL)

  • 7 Oct, 2008

    I think this is a great idea and I also like Fritterz idea about labeling the tube for a specific or recurring use.

  • 7 Oct, 2008

    You could wrtie cord length and repetitive uses on the pie insulation in permanent marker.....like this one

  • 7 Oct, 2008

    Ed,

    What a great tip. I was just going through the tangle of cords in my basement and I will go out and get the velcro ties. I bet I can find a lot of other uses for them as well. Thanks.

  • 7 Oct, 2008

    I use resealable plastic bags... the size I use depends on the length of cord. If there is a specific recurring use for any cord I can label it as such. i.e. "bookcase - Christmas" This way I do not have to remember what color, length, style I used and family can help without too much direction.

  • 7 Oct, 2008

    I simply use Velcro Brand Straps Reusable Ties. These are usable for organizing cords in use as well as cords not in use, and provides neat means of organization around computers. They come in a pack of 50 8 inch ties, and they are available at office supply stores, Lowes, and, perhaps, Home Depot. a pack of 50 will cost a little less than $5.00. Product code: 75967 90924. Half are gray, half are black.

  • 6 Oct, 2008

    I use paper towel tubes to store long cords and toilet paper tubes for the shorter ones.