I have been anti desk for many, many years. Preferring the mobile lifestyle to the thought of building an area which revolved around being stationary. This worked for many years, until I got more and more into photo and video work. Spending hours and hours at a time hunched over the tiny laptop screen quickly took a toll on my eyes as well as my body.
I went through a month of planning my new work area and ended up acquiring a large monitor, stand up desk (ikea hand crank brand -- works excellent and picked up a sweet discount from craigslist), speakers, a mouse, a keyboard, an external usb hub, and an external hard drive. All these new found additions had one common element, power cords. I was suddenly obsessed with figuring out a way to clean up the under desk area but I couldn't justify dropping 20-30 clams on a wire desk cable management rack. I luckily ran across two bargain plastic bins at a Big Lots store and quickly threw together a very easy, cheap, and useful storage rack for holding and hiding my many cables.
Step 1: Equipment:
This project is based around two incredibly cheap mini baskets that were picked up from Big Lots. I'm sure there are similar buys by any large superstore near you.
A dremel was used to cut away portions of the basket faces to make way for the cables and power strip.
A drill was used to pre-drill up into the desk to avoid splitting the wood. After drilling, you will need some small screws that will enter roughly 1/4" into the table or half-way.
I also used velcro cable management straps (readily available on amazon). These are cheap and reusable for quickly rearranging straps around the desk as needed. You could use zip ties or wire twisty ties from the grocery store with the same effect if you want to save the extra couple of bucks.
**Utilize safety glasses for the upcoming cutting portions**
Step 2: Cutting the Trays:
I used a permanent marker to outline the mini plastic bars on one end of each basket. These baskets will be hung with the openings facing each other for the power strip to sit within as well as all the other various cables.
I used a cutting disk on my dremel, put on some safety glasses (always use safety glasses!), and made easy work of the mini-plastic lattices.
You can run the cutting edge sideways along the edges to smooth them out after cutting out the openings for a smoother look/feel.
Step 3: Pre-Drill and Hang Boxes:
At this point, you will want to take several smalls screws to hang the boxes. Choose a drill which is slightly undersized compared to the screw's threads - this will prevent splitting of the desk top while attaching the plastic boxes. It also helps to use masking tape (or scotch tape, but masking works better) on the drill bit to show how deep you are drilling and not going past the length of the screw.
I held up the boxes and judged their orientation while pre-drilling and screwing in the box. Adding one screw per side holds up very well. I place the power strip in the box before screwing in the second box as the way I laid out the boxes doesn't lend well to removing the power strip. You could also cut the lattice section out from the opposite end such that the power strip could slide through.
Step 4: Tucking and Finishing:
Tuck in the rest of the wires through the back side (facing the wall) of the lattice spaces. At this point, I bundled the longer cords to prevent them from unraveling while in the totes and continued to tighten up the look of the system.
Just rinse and repeat until you get a nice, neat, and tidy system as noted in the last picture. The system worked out really well and the boxes are well hidden from normal view unless you decide to look perpendicular to the underside.
If the lattice showing the wires bothers you, you could add some paper pieces or solid plastic strips to completely conceal the wires. I prefer this setup as it's easier to adjust the cables if needed. The power button is also conveniently in the opening which makes it easy to shut off the whole system of components.