Introduction: Computer Cable Management on the Cheap

Picture of Computer Cable Management on the Cheap

This will show you how to clean up that cable mess below your desk . I have read multiple articles on this site about great ways to manage your cables. I believe this method is extremely flexible for various cable paths and extremely cheap!

1) Large (2 inch) Binder Clips - under $4 for a box of 12
2) 3/4" Wood Screws - under $1 for a box
3) Washers - under $1 for a box

Velcro Straps


Screw Driver or Power Screw Driver

Step 1: Unplug, Untangle, & Gather the Supplies

Picture of Unplug, Untangle, & Gather the Supplies

Unplug all the devices and separate the cables from each other.

Gather your supplies. I am using 3/4 inch length screws because my desk is 1 inch thick. It is important that you take the time to measure your desktop. Pick a screw length that is at least 1/4 inch shorter than the thickness of your desktop. A sure fire way to ruin your day is to finish the project and find that you now have 8 screws sticking up through your desktop.

Step 2: Mount the Hardware

Picture of Mount the Hardware

Power Strip:
I would recommend mounting your power strip first. Mount the power strip in a centralized location. I typically place it closer to the wall in the middle of the desk.

**Tip - Use a pencil and scrap paper to make a map (rubbing) of the mounting holes on your power strip. Then when placing the screws, screw them right through the paper into the desk. When you are finished placing the screws then rip the paper away.

I like to place multiple clips around the power strip because this is going to be an area with lots of cables. Then place other clips where you need them.

Step 3: Routing the Cables

Picture of Routing the Cables

Now you can route the cables through the mounted clips. If you are a purist, you can take the time to mount enough clips to separate out your power cables. This might keep your power cables from causing distortion in your other cables. I didn't do this because I have never found it to be an issue.

Step 4: Route Cables to Dedicated Areas

Picture of Route Cables to Dedicated Areas

I routed my cables to designated areas. In this case, I am routing cables for my PC and an Xbox 360. I have mounted a clip in the back above these areas. This allows for a cleaner look by grouping the cables.

Step 5: Finished Product (Comparison)

Picture of Finished Product (Comparison)

After I plugged everything back in, I added some velcro straps to keep the bundles tight.

Thanks for reading.


bilgexa (author)2016-04-02

But how is the power strip actually mounted to the desk? The article completely avoids mentioning this is any detail.

thirdspaced (author)bilgexa2016-04-02

Every power strip I have ever owned has mounting holes on the back. That is what this part of the plans refers to.

**Tip - Use a pencil and scrap paper to make a map (rubbing) of the mounting holes on your power strip. Then when placing the screws, screw them right through the paper into the desk. When you are finished placing the screws then rip the paper away.

CynthiaH2 (author)thirdspaced2017-04-15

you can also just make a copy of the bottom of the power strip and use it as a template. :)

bilgexa (author)thirdspaced2016-04-03

Now that you mention it, even though I do not live in Americaland, my power strip seems to have mounting holes like you describe. Nevertheless, I *still* do not know how to use them. I have never done DIY before and have no idea how to use the mounting holes. I'm guessing it somehow slides onto the screw, but that doesn't seem very safe or secure, and I would think you would need a very specific type of screw head for it to work correctly - which is also not specified in the guide.

thirdspaced (author)bilgexa2016-04-03

The size screw is specific to your power strip. I usually grab several screws and flip the power strip over and test which one is going to be the right size.

I found this YouTube video on how to mount a power strip that you might find helpful.

bilgexa (author)thirdspaced2016-04-03

Thanks, bruv. I actually watched the same video shortly prior to you making this post! I will be attempting your DIY solution in the following weeks.

EleanorB4 (author)2016-01-31

Thank you and Namaste~

JoseG118 (author)2016-01-17

Gracias es una idea muy buena siempre. Ahora si que puedo olganisar mi escritorio.

lsrtx (author)2016-01-14


Bobby T (author)2015-10-07

Awesome transformation !

Jrob420 (author)2010-11-17

Great idea very creative nice
Also should never ever place any form of electronics on top of your subwoofer especially anything containing a hard drive the huge magnet thats in subwoofers fries nearly any hard drive it comes in touch with
A good safety measure is at least a good 2 feet of distance between sub and whatever it is your using,in this case xbox,depending on size of sub though distance will vary.

TheFreshPeddler. (author)Jrob4202015-08-03

the distance from the sub magnets should be fine, its the vibration that would concern me. constant vibration on that no lead solder could cause a problem eventually.

thirdspaced (author)Jrob4202010-11-17

Thanks for the info. I did not know that! Lucky for me, I moved the Xbox to the top of the desk shortly after creating the instructable.

Sean_Voodoo (author)2014-05-26

I would love to do this but I have a glass desk ;(

NicholasP2 (author)Sean_Voodoo2015-03-16

I used foam pipe insulation mounted to the back of my desk - with slots cut out to route wires into it easier. Worked a treat for glass desk, although you may need a bit of adhesive/velcro to ensure it stays put depending on how strong your wires want to bend.

solo013 (author)Sean_Voodoo2014-11-07

Home Depot sells wire organizing covers to hide your wires. Depending on the store they usually have them in the electrical or tv wires sections. You can paint it the color of the wall or metal / wood of parts of the desk so it looks like it fits in. I know it's been 5 months since this was posted, but I wanted to mention this in case anyone else was having the same issue.

Newyears1978 (author)2014-09-20

Cool idea. Got me interested, in the end I am going with the pegboard route.

Question, when cables are too short to reach their destination..then what??? Have to use extentions (USB/HDMI/power..etc???)

thirdspaced (author)Newyears19782014-09-20

In my setup, all my cables reach. However, if you had one that was short I would think an extension cable would be fine. I did buy two longer display port cables. My current setup is different than the one pictured. I have my computer case farther from my monitors.

Newyears1978 (author)2014-09-17

This is so cool! Unfortunately I have IKEA desks that have no overhang piece so I would have to install overhang pieces to do this.

I had to put a solid board as a backing works great but any time you need to get to is a pain because I haev to move the whole table out and the board...

Jonesemon (author)2012-08-02

I would really like to do this seeing as how my cords and cables behind my desk are equally if not worse then yours previously were, but I have a fairly thin-topped desk (about 3/4 of an inch) and more storage beside and under the top than needed. The desk you used looks perfect for this guide, so I was wondering what kind of desk I should look for similar to yours. It looks like a plain, no directly attached storage and Plywood top kind.

bitsy113 (author)2012-05-17

Yes, Yes, Yes! Finally a decent idea I can use behind my entertainment center!!
A thousand time THANK YOU!

hcaz-301 (author)2012-05-01

Thats a great idea, i will be defiantly doing this when i have the time, i have so many wires it will be a good job to sort them out :)

MrOctober67 (author)2010-02-07

I wish i could do that, however I got a glass top. So I can't mount anything. My main problem is that all the cords are either too long or too short. Bugs the hell out of me. Ill eventually get something so I can do this

abstracted (author)MrOctober672012-03-31

3m 2-way tape might help with your glass desk

thirdspaced (author)MrOctober672010-02-07

 If some of your cables are too short, you can look for extension cables at or .    They have about every type of cable you can think of, good quality, and low cost .  Thanks for the feedback.

abstracted (author)2012-03-31

nice job..i used plastic rain gutters (eves trough) screwd to the back underside of my desck to catch all the cabling. just plug it all in, let the exess cables lay in the gutter, and out each (uncapped) end down to your power outlet, or powerbar.

folklife (author)2012-03-26

I must be the cheapest guy around! I used my kids old Spaghetti Float (the long 2"wide plastic tube with a center hole--like spaghetti, that supports you in the pool).
I cut it into 6"long pieces, and ran a thin wire down the center. I then used a short wood screw at each end and screwed the wire to the under side of the desk.
The I cut slits almost through the tube to grip the wire and allow me to pull put what I needed. Pull out too much? Stuff it back into the slit Cheap and fast..

舞子 (author)2011-05-02

Thanks for the idea! I'm going to try this for our computer table. But the different length wires really do bug me also.

chongyixiong (author)2009-02-01

Wow, those look like 2007wfps you have there. And dual monitor set up too! Great work, how hard would it be to dismantle everything if let's say one of the peripherals, for example a mouse spoils.

thirdspaced (author)chongyixiong2009-02-01

Thanks for the feedback. It is not hard at all to get a peripheral free. I think this is a strong point for this system. You just have to compress the clip and remove your single cable. I actually removed a webcam this morning (cannot get it to work with windows 7 beta). It only took me about a minute to disconnect and remove it. Nice eye on the monitors!

PCfreak (author)thirdspaced2010-11-09

im surprised your not using the Cable/Phone/Ethernet surge device thats built into your surge protector cuz i noticed that you have your Xbox hooked up with an ethernet cable

thirdspaced (author)PCfreak2010-11-11

I have the main ethernet feed for the room going through a surge protector before it goes into an 8-port switch. All the network cables in the room are all surge protected. Thanks for viewing.

chongyixiong (author)thirdspaced2009-02-01

Alright, by the way I gotta say that was a great job on using cheap and practical stuff instead of those expensive and useless cable tube thingymajigs.. Man, you should work for IKEA and implement this system into their current production computer tables or anything along that line. Kudos!

tebbybabes (author)2010-08-28

This is an excellent instructable and an excellent idea. I got so tired of my own rats nest, and found this page. Well, after 2 hours of work, including the shopping, I'm more than happy with my space under my desk! Thank you!!

thirdspaced (author)tebbybabes2010-08-28

Awesome! Your setup looks great!

tebbybabes (author)thirdspaced2010-09-05

Thank you. It's the bees knees. And I have you to thank for giving me the idea!

kevin_kane (author)2010-07-28

Thirdspaced, how did your mount the UPS in place? What is holding the UPS up underneath the desk? Thanks, great job.

thirdspaced (author)kevin_kane2010-07-28

Many of them have mounting holes on the back.  I just attach screws to the desk and mound.  I have some pics of this in Step 2.

Thanks for the feedback!

David McWhite (author)2010-03-07

Genius. That is the simplest most effective thing I've seen on here in awhile. Thank you!

sawatzky (author)2009-10-21

speechless. Thankyou.

albylovesscience (author)2009-08-07

sweet setup i have 4 awsome souround sound speakers the fisr pare are insignia speakers the second pair are two sharper image surround sound speakers with a sweet media center am/fm cd player by sharper image then a 17 by 13 inch envision monitor almost as cool as your setup

RelyNupon (author)jonfleck882009-06-02

carabiners and ZIPTIES lol

thirdspaced (author)jonfleck882009-02-05

Not a bad system. Might hang a bit too low for my desk. I guess I could try mounting the carabiners differently. How expensive are the carabiners?

jonfleck88 (author)thirdspaced2009-02-05

There $0.99 at Home Depot or Lowes.

rednhez (author)2009-05-03

I have to admit when i first looked at the supplies i thought this was going to be stupid. but like a great Instructable i found myself making that " ahhh " noise. very clever, mounting the clips to the bottom of the desk is a great idea.

BlackHatCracker (author)2009-03-28

I agree! Great Idea... Although mine looks worse than yours... I need to try this and see if I can get mine to lool as clean as yours...

Harmodius (author)2009-03-14

This is very clever. These fasteners are very much cheaper than carabiners. Hook and loop fastener has disappointed me because the adhesive backing lets go in time when heated, as by power adapters, USB or FireWire hubs or other items one might want hidden underneath a desk or table. This method lets the cable conduits (the fasteners) trick the cables themselves into holding up the hubs or power adapters. Very well done indeed (and frugal).

tyler_sav (author)2009-02-21

this is an awesome idea I will incorporate it into the computer desk I'm building by the way logitech rocks

Hiroak (author)2009-02-07

This is a great idea, a why didn't I think of that idea. Why do you have your monitor long way's?

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