On any given day I have the following cords, cables, and accessories in my bag:
- Portable phone charger
- Micro USB cable
- Lightning cable
- Longer micro USB cable and wall charger
- Laptop charging cord and plug
If I’m traveling it gets a little ridiculous. You can probably add these to the list, and none of them are going into checked luggage:
- Portable WiFi hotspot
- Wireless mouse
- Extra cables and wall chargers
- Small cell phone tripod
- Lavalier micrphone
- Handheld mics
- Zoom recorder (opens in new tab)
You might not need that many electronics and accessories with you, but if you have kids, you’re probably carrying their stuff too. It’s really easy for all of it to get jumbled, tangled, and broken.
I’ve tried several different methods for keeping it all organized, with varying degrees of success.
I have a love/hate relationship with Grid-Its. I use a couple of them for traveling. They’re like stiff boards covered in elastic bands, and they’re great for things that are getting unpacked once.
So I might put the things on the second list on them and throw them in a carry-on suitcase. Everything stays put and organized. But these are not good for everyday use, when you need to grab something from your bag multiple times a day.
If you’d rather have your stuff in a closed case for traveling, you can get something like this (opens in new tab).
I use little tins for a lot of stuff that I don’t want to get squished in my bag. An old Altoid tin fits a pair of headphones or a charging cord (without the plug) really well.
These are my absolute favorite way to secure my cords. I wrap them around my fingers in a circle, then flatten the circle and secure it with a Tech Taco. Then I put a bunch of them in a little make-up bag. These are so much better than Velcro wraps, which attract hair and fuzz.
I don’t like these nearly as much as Tech Tacos, because the ends of cords tend to unwind and flop around, unless you secure them under the wrapped cord, and all that pulling is going to destroy the connector at some point.
I used to have the BEST method of wrapping headphones around my fingers and securing them in such a way that one pull freed them in a neat, untangled line…and then headphones started coming with microphones and my method didn’t work anymore, because the microphone got stuck.
Oh well. Earbud wraps are a great solution. I especially like the Dotz Flex, because it has a clip for securing it to a pocket in your bag, so you’re never searching for it.
For bigger cords, like microphone cables and my laptop charger, I use plain old hair elastics. They’re more durable than rubber bands and look better, too.
Or you can do what my co-host Parenting Bytes c-ohost does, and just shove everything in a Ziploc plastic bag. I think I need to buy her some Tech Tacos.
We talk about this and more on the latest episode of Parenting Bytes.