It's really annoying when somebody "helps" you clean up by improperly coiling your power cords. The main way this happens is illustrated in the first picture. The person grabs the end of cord in one hand and then tightly wraps the cord around his or her elbow and hand repeatedly. This guilty twister is usually an impatient Type-A that thinks fast and hard is better. Here's a public service announcment: Fast and Hard is Not Better.
This is a quick trick I used to fix some of my cords that had become hopelessly twisted. It's not a guaranteed fix - but it does a great job at improving the condition. Think of it as laser-tatoo removal without all the pain.
Step 1: It's OK. Help is on the Way - Here's All We Need
This one is easy. All I used is a drill, an eyebolt, and some masking tape.
The drill can be corded (gasp) or battery powered.
You can actually use almost any tape you want.
Step 2: Quick Assembly
Now, just attach the cord to the eyebolt. It can be done a number of ways. I have illustrated two ways.
Step 3: Insert Bolt into Drill
Now mount the bolt into the drill.
Step 4: Tie the other end of Cord to a Tree or Post
Now just stretch the cord out all the way and tie the other end of the cord to a fixed tall stable object. A tree or swingset post are good candidates.
Step 5: Regain Control of Unruly Extension Cord
Before you start "unwinding" with the drill, pay close attention to the direction of the corkscrew twist which is present in the cord. You will want to have the drill rotating opposite of the direction of the current bad cord twist. We want to make it better not worse!
Also - Very Important! Before "unwinding", stretch the cord so it suspends off of the ground by a few feet. This will help a great deal because it will allow the "bad twist" to be worked on somewhat evenly across the length of the entire cord.
So, now just unwind with the drill! I have found that doing a little "extra" twisting helps to straighten things out more. It's no exact science, but it works for me!
OK - once your'e happy with the cord, be sure to wind and store properly. And keep away from those who are the "bad-winders".
Step 6: Notes on How One Might Properly Coil the Cord
These instructions are for a RIGHT HANDED person.
I'm going to let the pictures tell the story...