Jessica Leigh Hester is a former senior associate editor at CityLab, covering environment and culture. Her work also appears in the New Yorker, The Atlantic, New York Times, Modern Farmer, Village Voice, Slate, BBC, NPR, and other outlets.
How to prevent a jumbled mess.
On your way out the door, you toss your cell phone charger and laptop cables into your bag. Good thinking! You'll stay juiced up all day. That is, unless those cords start to fray, or jostle around in your bag long enough to wind into knots only a sailor could love. Wrangle them with these smart products:
Pliable plastic ovals save off-duty cables from unruly tangles. Three sizes tackle everything from ear buds to computer chargers and extension cords.
Cord wrap, $3 and up at Bobino.
Precarious dangling cords are a recipe for a cell phone to go hurdling through space. Feed the cord through adhesive-backed CordDrops, and the charger and phone will stay put.
Cable holders, $10 for 6 at Container Store.
CableKeeps is the key to traveling without getting kinks or knots in your phone charger. It also does double duty: The wall charger fits into the "mouth" of the fish, and the "tail" props up your phone, functioning as an impromptu charging station.
This post has been updated. A previous version included a product that is no longer available, so it has been swapped.