Organizing an Entertainment Center and All Those Cords

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

So on Sunday nights we watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey (new season just started OMG the drama!), on Monday nights we watch the Real Housewives of Orange County (really Alexis no one is bullying you!) on Tuesday nights we watch Don't Be Tardy (can't get me enough of that Wig!), and on Wednesday nights its Million Dollar Listing New York (the commissions they make just make me want to cry, but a couple weeks ago someone gave Ryan a pig as a thank you. A baby pig! Don't even get me started on baby animals...). Toward the end of the week we wind it down with a Dodger game or incessant reruns of SVU or NCIS after dinner while we relax before bed, but last week, all I could see among the ridiculous drama and the baby pig was the unorganized entertainment center right under our TV and it was driving me NUTS! Sometimes, enough is enough.

Look at this thing, ew.

Yes, normally the doors are closed and you can't see all the junk inside, but...I know its there and that is enough. So, this past weekend while the hubs was at work, I tackled this project. I Googled and Pinterested (new verb!) and everything in between to try to figure out the best way to handle this, mostly because we had a lot of cords here. On the right in the baggies are all cords, and in the box on top, in baggies, are all cords! They are in their own baggies, and they are labeled on the outside with Sharpie, but that was just step one. After I did that I just shoved them in this box/put them in the cabinet and left them there to rot. OK they don't rot, but you get the idea. Still unorganized and hard to find.

As for the rest of the stuff, I figured the best way to start was to take it all out. So, I did. One thing by one thing and I organized it into piles. DVDs, cat stuff, trash, stuff that belongs upstairs, and cords. That was really it. Next step was to clean it. **Important: always clean after you empty, before you put back. If you organize it right, you may never empty it again (OK that's just a dream, but still, its an important part of the process).**

Next I took everything away that wasn't staying in this cabinet and put it where it belonged so I could see exactly what I had left to find spots for. It turned out, not much was left! I also scoured the house for some baskets that maybe weren't being used to their fullest potential that could help with creating order here. I always try to repurpose something before buying something new because one way or another, we tend to accumulate a lot of STUFF (can anyone relate? :))

Last but not least, to tackle the cords! My solution (and I can't take credit for this, it was on multiple sites/blogs/etc.) was a shoe organizer on the inside of our hall closet. Genius if you ask me! Although these sites normally had one cord per shoe spot, and let me tell you, we have more cords than that, so that just wasn't going to work! I decided to fold each cord and twisty tie it as well as label it, so more than one cord could go in each slot, but of course, in organized fashion, still keeping the like cords together.

Why label it if I was going to label the shoe organizer pocket? Well, I also read on a few sites, that it was important not only to label the spot where the cord is kept, but to label the cord itself...just in case it doesn't get put back...What not put back? Not in my house...hahahahahahaha Yah, so I labeled the cords. It was kind of time consuming, but in the end, I think will be very worth it!

Since I had decided not to put the cords back in the entertainment center, to create more room on the floor it was time to put back all my "piles" into the center. I used the boxes I had found and my superb OCD skills and check. it. out. I am pleased!! I even had extra room in my cute matching basket to add some of the Wii controllers that belong down here but were being stored upstairs. WIN!

At this point, I just wanted to quit and watch NCIS because, now I could actually focus on NCIS but I had to finish the project or my husband would come home and ask WTH was going on with all the cords on the floor. Grrrr OK I'll handle it.

Before heading to the store for the organizer/labels etc I wanted to sort the cords to see how many I would have. Unfortunately, even after taking them directly from the baggies, I still had 7 unknown cords on my hands. (Incidentally, the baggies said "Unknown" on them. Clever). My husband claims that these cords are useful even though we have no idea what they go to, so, alas, I save them, again, just in case. You really truly do never know!  

After the sorting was complete I set off for Target for the shoe organizer and labels and while there I got sucked in (SURPRISE!) and I totally forgot to buy twisty ties to keep the cords together. Although I did get all my Father's Day cards--check! Not wanting to go right back into Target like an idiot, especially since I was already in my car, I drove across the parking lot to Walgreens. I asked the guy at the counter if he knew if they carried twisty ties and he asked me "Like the ones you use for birthday presents?" Uh....?? He pointed me in a direction and there was nothing. But then! I saw someone else, and I asked him and he actually knew what I was talking about and I told him what I wanted them for and he was all "Oohhh may I suggest something?! I do audio visual stuff, been doin' it for ages, and I use, Velcro to hold all my cords together, works like a dream! You can buy it at Lowes in a roll." OMG lifesaver, thanks AV guy!

This Velcro is supposed to be cut in special increments and then wrapped around and through and around each item/cord (if you don't understand don't worry, it's not important!), but my cords were so small, I felt wasteful doing that, so I just cut it to fit however I pleased. And it was perfect! 

So happy with this beautifully wrapped and labeled cord! Now to do the rest....grrrr.

This is what I ended up with after I wrapped and labeled all my cords and put them in the organizer. Amazing! So easy to find what you need (and put it back!) and even space for more cords (yay).

Unfortunately I have found over the past couple of days that these little labels are not sticking well to this organizer material, so I'm going to have to figure out something else. My hubby suggested Velcro but I don't want to write on Velcro because I want it to be reusable. Maybe a name tag holder, or...??? The possibilities are endless, but for now I am happy with the result!

Now, back to Bravo TV before I miss a table flip.