wires

Photo: Nigel Cox

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The Techie Clutterer
Symptoms
Drawers, cabinets, and desk weighed down by a metastasizing tangle of cords, chargers, remotes, and half-full USB drives, many belonging to clunky devices dating to the '90s.

Perpetrators
Twenty- and 30-something Apple devotees; eBay enthusiasts; grandparents terrified to pitch the cord that connects their digital camera to their computer.

Walsh's Three-Step Plan


1. Banish boxes.

"There was a time when you could sell used electronics, so it made sense to keep the original packaging," says Walsh. Unfortunately, "no one wants your old gadgets anymore. Technology moves too fast." He recommends recycling an item's box within a month of purchase and donating old devices to a women's shelter. (When you move, pack your electronics in bubble wrap—or better yet, a towel.)

2. Label all wires.

With a label maker or small piece of masking tape, differentiate camera cords from BlackBerry chargers; note contents of all minidrives. If you're feeling ambitious, corral wires into a "charging station" to eliminate the nightly game of hide-and-seek with your phone cord.

3. Store smartly.

Walsh suggests labeling four shoebox-size containers "look," "listen," "travel," and "data," and placing them on a shelf. "Look" stores anything visual (the charger and memory card for your camera); "Listen", anything audio related (iPod accessories, an iPhone car charger); "Travel," anything vacation related (a portable GPS, plug adaptors); and "Data"—well, you get the picture (mini flash drives, a wireless network card).

Next: The sentimental clutterer/family historian
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