How to Create a Tech Accessory Zone in Your Home
Most of us have lots of technology in our homes these days. With all this technology comes cords and odd "thingies" that we all rarely use but fear parting with "just in case". I have some of these strange looking "gadgets" that I'm pretty sure plug into something that I must own now, or at least owned at one time or another. These mystery items look and seem important, so most of us tend to throw them in the junk drawer where they linger for years.
Unless you have been living under a rock or on another planet lately, you've likely heard of the KonMari Method of tidying. As someone who is studying organizing and organizing methods, I'm a fan of Marie Kondo and I think her Netflix series is well worth watching. Although I consider myself a supporter, some of her methods (if strictly adhered to) would have us all tossing out our iPad chargers because they don't "spark joy". When I was sorting through my technology accessories I tried so hard to feel joy from my laptop charger: nope, nothing. But I still need the thing.
Of course I'm exaggerating, I'm sure Marie would let us keep our chargers (I think!). But what I am trying to point out (Ms. Kondo and fans), is that we have no choice but to keep most of these strange technology accessories somewhere, because at one time or another we do actually need/want them and if we don't have them, our technology may be rendered near useless or require a significant expense of both money and time to repurchase some "thingy" we used to own.
One of the established practices of home organizing is to create activity zones. For example, we should all have a place to land ourselves and all our gear when we come home: a place for your keys, purses/wallets, shoes and in my case, the daycare backpacks and all the associated stuff! Our technology and accessories are no different; we should have a "tech zone" and perhaps more importantly, a "technology accessories zone": a place for all of our earphones, adapters, USB cords - all the thingies.
Ask yourself how many times have you gone looking for your phone charger in recent memory? Are your charger cords all tangled up somewhere, maybe in a drawer, maybe in a bag or in the car? If the answer is yes to any of the above, you need to create a tech accessory zone (and maybe an accompanying charging station zone) for all your technology related stuff. Here are the steps:
Step 1: Like the KonMari method for clothes, go and gather all your technology accessories in one place. Yes, all of them. This may take longer than you think, so budget enough time to look through all of your rooms for accessories.
Step 2: Identify what plugs into what or goes with what. Label those cords once you make a match! My Dad use to use masking tape and a pen. You can get fancy if you want too, and use a label maker. You should roll up the cords and secure them somehow. Twist ties or elastics work, or you can use these Velcro ties which are great.
Step 3: Now, this next step is unusual in organizing. I am going to tell you to keep this stuff (temporarily), instead of purging it (unless there is obvious garbage in the pile).
For the technology accessories that you have no sweet clue what they are for - put them in a box labeled "unknown tech accessories". Then put the box on a shelf in a closet or somewhere out of the way. Put a "purge the tech accessories box" reminder in your phone for one year from the day you do this, to remind yourself to purge the box. If you haven't used the accessories in a year, it's probably safe to toss them, or send them to the recycling centre (if that's an option). You might feel though that you want a shorter or longer "wait to purge period"; do whatever works for you. Just don't let the box sit in a closet forever, adding to your home clutter!
Step 4: Now that you know what you have, sort it into categories and put it into containers. You should be able to determine what kind of storage you need for all your accessories after you create your category piles. For example, maybe you have a family full of teenagers and they all have iPhones. You might need a category and separate box just for iPhone accessories. If your tech accessories fall into categories, sort them into those before you store them.
As for my own storage solution, I found this great plastic box with a lid called GLIS at IKEA for $6.99. I got two of these and they work great as a tech accessory storage container for us.
Ideally, each accessory (or category) should have its own slot or home, and its own label on the cord. You can also label the slot the cord goes into, if you want to take your organizing to the next level! No matter what box you use, you will need a fairly deep, segregated box, so each accessory (or category of accessory) has it's own home.
To add to the technology organizing beyond accessories, you can also consider storing the actual technology (the tech that needs a home like iPads perhaps, or keyboards) in the same space as they accessories and creating a charging station. Amazon has lots of different options for charging docks and stations to choose from. No matter what system you set up, I recommend having a regular charging routine (for example, charge your phone every morning or evening) and a regular location to charge your phone. There is nothing worse for many of us these days than seeing that little red bar on our phone mid-day and not being able to get more juice.
If you have found extra phone chargers, one other thing you might do at this step is to repurpose them by re-locating them to places where you will likely need them. If you don't have a phone charger at your desk at work for example, it is a good time to put one there. Maybe you travel a lot; put an extra phone charger in your suitcase, as it is one of those small things that is easy to forget.
Step 5: Conduct a test run for two weeks, and adjust as necessary. Use your tech accessory zone for two weeks and adjust what doesn't work. If it isn't working, ask yourself why.
The tech accessory zone should be located near your technology; or in your busy area, like your family room or your kitchen, for easy access. The storage box should be forgiving enough, if you want to throw the cords into their home space, rather than take the time to wind up the cords. As with any organizing project, you will have to work with your own tendencies and the tendencies of the people you live with, in order to create something that lasts and works for you.
Hopefully creating a technology accessory zone, and maybe even a charging station, saves you some time. If you decide to create your own zone, share your pics here with us for inspiration. Happy organizing!