Desk Cable Management: Master Guide for a Functional Desk

How do you go from a mess of wires to no wires? Desk cable management is one of my most complex projects that I undertook. Here’s the magical transformation journey of my desk:

The shortcut to get started on a clean desk is two-fold:

  1. A large desk
  2. Wireless devices

My first Work From home desk was an absolute mess of wires. My first goal with my new setup was to get have a 0-wire desk. Seemed easy enough till I realized that only two devices can really be wireless (keyboard and mouse). And these devices need wires to be charged so a functional desk needed accessible wires; this presented a unique problem. I looked through a lot of desks on Reddit and Instagram, most of them either looked like organized clutter of devices and I couldn’t see how people charged any of the devices on the desk.

Problem statement I was solving for:

Before I started addressing the clutter of wires, I spent a good of amount of time using my desk to understand how I actually use my desk and what I needed on the desk. I narrowed down it to the following functionality I needed:

  • Ability to charge my wireless mouse / keyboard using micro-USB cables; these cables also needed to be connected to the PC so I could switch to a wired connection if needed
  • I should be able to charge my iPhone, AirPods, Apple Watch on the desk
  • I should be able to charge while using my personal laptop and or work laptop (Surface Pro) on the desk
  • I should be able to charge my wife’s iPad or iPhone on the desk, this meant a second Lightning charger

The devices on my desk that contributed to the wired mess:

  1. Personal PC:
    1. Power
    2. Two video-out (HDMI and DisplayPort)
    3. USB cable for the mouse
    4. USB cable for the keyboard (I wanted to be able to switch to a wired conx if I was running into issues or use the mouse / keyboard while charging)
    5. Ethernet
  2. USB cables for:
    1. Speakers
    2. Mic
    3. Stream Desk
    4. Web camera
  3. Power cables for:
    1. Belkin 3-in-1 charging station
    2. Dock
    3. Two Nanoleaf light strips (under and behind the desk)
    4. Elgato Key Light Air
    5. USB-C charger
    6. Surface Pro charger
    7. iPad charger
    8. Two power strips mounted to the desk to power all the devices
    9. Two monitors
    10. Uplift desk
  4. Miscellaneous wires:
    1. HDMI cable connected to the dock and HDMI switch
    2. Wire connecting the two speakers

That’s a lot of wires. A grand total of 22 individual wires around the desk.

The solution:

My desk’s cable management was a huge project with a lot of Amazon orders and returns, a lot of hours slowly chipping away at it, and a lot of manual labor. Here are some pics of me struggling through it all and the final result:

falling wires

My video walking you through the cable management:

Here’s the master list of things I had to buy for managing the cables:

  1. The one dock to power all my peripherals without me struggling with a lot of wires to switch — This is the single most critical component to address how I switch between PCs
  2. Wireless mouse: Logitech G703
  3. Wireless keyboard: Logitech G915 TKL
  4. Two 8-outlet Uplift power strips that can be mounted to the Uplift’s frame
  5. One 8-outlet power strip
  6. Uplift under desk PC mount track racer
  7. Under desk cable management tray
  8. Two magnetic cable holders from Uplift
  9. Four magnetic cable holders off of Amazon
  10. Plastic cable raceways
  11. Metal server rack cable mount
  12. Monitor mount
  13. Velcro cable-ties in black and white
  14. Round cable clips
  15. Handyman gloves to deal with the raceways and avoiding scratches on the fingers
  16. Two-sided tape (any)
  17. Yeti Blue Arm
  18. Belkin 3-in-1 charging station
  19. White Stream Deck
  20. Cable management box
  21. Anker magnetic cable holder
  22. Anker cable management boxThis single-handedly solved my functionality problem of having the right charging wires accessible to me

The master guide to execute cable management

I mounted the two 8-outlet Uplift power strips on either side of the desk facing towards the back wall. This is where majority of the 10 power cables listed above go. I stuck two plastic cable raceways behind each power strip. This allowed me to hide each power cable going into the respective power strips. Photos:

power strip

I drilled the under-desk cable management tray to hold one of the power strips, the monitor’s power brick, and some of the wires. Photos:

cable tray

The 6 magnetic wire holders clamped to each Uplift leg:

I hide my dock in Uplift’s under desk PC mount track racer. This allows me to hide the dock and run all the wires connected to the dock through my cable raceways. Photos:

I drilled a server rack cable mount in the center of the table to hide the thicker and heavier Uplift desk cables. This also allowed me to hide any other cables that I needed to run from 1 end of the desk to the other

server raceway

I put the 2 micro-USB cables for the mouse and keyboard on the Anker magnetic cable holder. The bottom of the cable holder also is magnetic and placed it on the metallic base of the Elgato Key Light Air:

I put 3 chargers inside the Anker Cable Management box. This neatly stores the chargers and makes my lightning, Surface, and USB-C charger cables accessible. Photos:

I got the Elgato Stream Deck and the Belkin 3-in-1 charging station in white so that the wires for these devices blended with the desk. Photos:

I have a box that holds more wires for my router, Home Assistant RPi, HomePod mini, T-Mobile signal booster, and my WD NAS. Photo: