Much has been written about the perfect adjustable standing desk, ergonomic chair, and noise-canceling headphones to make working from home more productive and enjoyable (bearable?). But my favorite WFH buddy is a humbler device, and less of a splurge, too. It came into our lives in the tumultuous early days of lockdown last year—once my husband and I had resigned ourselves to not returning to the office in “a week or two” and assigned ourselves our work spaces in our decidedly not large apartment in Brooklyn.
However, with our gadgets and devices now covering every empty table and shelf we could find, it took no time at all for our home to start looking like a technological combat zone—our surfaces were a thicket of tangled cords, wires, and cables. And given we didn’t have the luxury (again, NYC apartment) of following the good advice from wellness experts about keeping the spaces where we sleep, relax, and work separate, it meant that no matter where we were, the sight of...unsightly cables was unavoidable.
While my husband was less troubled by it (he’s a function-over-form kinda guy), it started really getting under my skin. While I understood that it was the price we pay for all our connectedness and convenience, I couldn’t shut my eyes to the fact that this was a decor nightmare. Plus, a messy home did not a suitable work environment make—so I set about looking for a solution.
A few weeks and many hours of research later, we received our first Yamazaki Cable Management Box. What was ostensibly a white plastic box with absolutely nothing remarkable about it turned out to be, as one Amazon reviewer put it, a magician's box. A power strip enters and then entirely disappears! The box can fit a large power strip and a big bundle of cords, with slits on both sides allowing cords to run through it, plus one long slit at the back so cables can come out of different directions—all while keeping things totally organized inside. As a very committed home organizer, I could not believe the difference it made to our space and my sanity.
The other thing going for it? Its streamlined design, which blends into the background (it practically disappears into my white wall, but you can also buy it in black or brown to match floors and furniture), and a sturdy build that ensures no amount of accidental kicking will displace its firmly shut lid. And sure, there are cheaper cable management boxes, but I’m a big fan of Yamazaki’s minimalist, small-space solutions, so I don’t think twice about spending a little bit more for the quality that the brand promises. (Pssst: Have you met this dish drying rack? It literally elevates my kitchen life.)
After years of contemplating various cable and cord management solutions, this is now the primary one I use at home. You can even add on some Velcro ties, cable tags, and cable turtles to further organize those wires inside the box. We place ours under our desks, but you can just as easily place it atop yours without it sticking out like a sore thumb. It’s also great to use behind your television to organize that hot mess of wires—because, as it turns out, messy cables aren’t just confined to your WFH desk.
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Arati grew up hanging off the petticoat-tails of three generations of Indian matriarchs who used food to speak their language of love—and she finds herself instinctually following suit. Life has taken her all across the world, but she carries with her a menagerie of inherited home and kitchen objects that serve as her anchor. Formerly at GQ and Architectural Digest, she's now based in Brooklyn.