Taming The Spaghetti Monster

Today I’m spending time at my desktop computer, reinstalling Windows 7 to see if I can get some speed back into it.  This generally takes a long time, and mostly involves a lot of thumb-twiddling between steps.  So, I decided to tackle a project in the office.  Today’s project is “The Spaghetti Box”.

The Spaghetti Box is where I put old cables and computer peripherals when I swap them out for new things.  It sits on the top shelf of my computer closet and comes down when I need to find something.  I’ve been working in computers/IT for about 15 years, and I build my own computers and do my own networking and stuff, so I’ve built quite a collection of techie stuff over the years.  Every once in a while I need to sit down with that box and decide what needs to leave.  It’s been overflowing for about 6 months now, and in desperate need of culling.

The Spaghetti Box

I didn’t take a before picture, but I got rid of over half of what was in the box to get it down to its new state.

Some Tips for tackling Tech Clutter

  • Whenever you get something that has a plug with a power converter/inverter (that big boxy part of the plug that makes it tough to plug into an outlet or power strip and still get to the outlet next to it), you should immediately write what it goes to on the converter itself with a labeller, paint pen, etc.  Many of these plugs don’t say what they actually go to, and it saves time and energy (and possible mistakes that can fry your gear) by having those details written on it.  It also saves you from having a box full of converters that you’re saving because you’re not sure if you own the item or not anymore (ask me how I know).
  • Only save one of each kind of cord if you have multiples.  With 3 computers running in my house I’ve never needed more than one spare.  When you get a replacement item like a computer or monitor, it almost always comes with its own cables.  I tossed all the extra monitor cables, network cables, and standard power cables.  I kept the longest ones, because chances are better I’ll need longer than shorter.
  • Toss anything that’s not current technology (a version of it is not currently used on your tech items, it came from your last version of that item).  For example, I tossed my old PS2 mouse and kept the spare USB mouse.  Chances are good I’ll never need that PS2 mouse again because most everything runs on USB these days.
  • Tech clutter you are getting rid of should NEVER be thrown in the trash.  Electronic boards and wires can have toxic elements in them, they need to be disposed of properly.  Besides that, copper and other elements used in most electronics are in short supply and the costs are rising.  Why not recycle?  All those wires can be melted down and reused if they aren’t at the bottom of a landfill.  Our county has electronic recycling days once a quarter.  Many other places do too.

Do you have tech clutter that’s ready to leave your house?

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