I hate cables. One day the world will be totally wireless and on that day I will celebrate. Until that day,I have to resign myself to the fact that cables are an inevitable part of my life. I had a lot of cables. And I didn’t really know what half of them were for.
I had the usual collection of cables for things I no longer had or never used. I had some mystery cables, and I had also somehow collected 5 micro usbs. Now for some reason (I don’t know why, I’m not a tecchie,) not every cable of the same type works with every product. It took some testing, but I finally found one that would power my graphics tablet and external hard drive as well as charge my powerbank, my kindle, and its lamp.The likelihood I will need to use more than two of those things at the same time is almost nonexistent. So I felt totally fine throwing the rest of the cables in the donate box.
These things were spread out over several drawers – the gadget container, the computer cable box, the other computer cable box, that ‘random stuff’ drawer in my bureau.. Now I’d got it down from about 20 cables to 4, I no longer needed all those containers. But that posed a new problem: Where would I store my cables now? I can be pretty OCD about some things and having cables in a jumbled mess is one of those things, because it means I have to waste minutes of my life untangling something before I can use it. I have tried numerous ways over the years to control the chaos: hairbands and elastic bands that snapped, those cable tie things from sandwich bags that were too big or not big enough and which got lost, string, even clothes pegs and bulldog clips. Nothing worked.
To control the chaos, I needed something that was easy to use, versatile, reusable, inexpensive, that looked nice and could fit into my laptop bag, so no bulky containers.
I fell into a trap I’m sure a lot of newbie minimalists fall into:
‘I need to buy a thing to keep my things in!’
In my case, a case. So I went out searching for ‘the right’ case. I didn’t find the right one, but I found one that would do. As I was waiting in line at the checkout the realisation hit me:Getting rid of stuff does not give me an excuse to go out and replace it with more stuff!!! I haven't just spent all this time throwing out stuff I didn't love or need just to replace it with more stuff I don't love or need. Click To Tweet
It seemed wasteful to buy something just to keep cables in when I had a ton of stuff in the ‘to go’ pile at home. Surely there was something there I could repurpose?
I put the case back and decided to try and upcycle something I already had instead.
At home I rootled through the bags and found nothing that captured my attention or imagination. The nasty plastic pencil case I’d designated for charity held a bunch of art supplies also for charity, so that wouldn’t do.
Disheartened, I decided to start condensing some of the paperwork I had lying around in preparation for my scanner arriving so I can go totally digital/paperless. And I found a folder full of fabric samples for a project that never got off the ground.
I had spent time and thought choosing the fabrics because I loved the designs, and they were made from natural material by family-run businesses in the UK. They also just happened to be exactly the right size to make a case out of. So I dug through a bag of things destined for rubbish and found an old pair of worn out trousers that I could use the zip from. I also found a worn out cotton tote that I could use for the lining.
I dusted off the sewing machine I’d bought 6 years ago and had never used.
Now I just had to learn how to use the thing. Youtube to the rescue! I even had enough scraps lying around to make cable-ties to keep all my cables neat and tidy too.
Youtube really has changed my life for the better – I have learned SO much from that thing. Anyway, here’s the tutorial from MadeEveryday which I used to make my pouch. Let me know in the comments if you want a tutorial for doing the wrappers:
Here’s the end result!
I’m not going to lie, considering I’ve never used a sewing machine before I’m pretty proud of myself. Although it’s not perfect, it was easier than expected. It cost me nothing and made use of several things I previously loved that were going to end up in the rubbish bin. I transformed rubbish into something useful, and I made exactly what I needed. With my own two hands. Now, every time I see it or use it I’ll appreciate and enjoy it. A bonus was that I learned a new skill that I discovered I actually really enjoyed (minus the second degree burns*).
My DIY solution to control chaotic cables!
I have to say, I am absolutely loving this new way of looking at things. Before, I would have just thrown stuff out and bought new stuff. Now I look at what I have and see how I could use it and turn it into something else.
What upcycling projects have you guys taken on as a result of becoming minimalist?
* using a pair of curling tongs seemed like a good idea at the time.