There’s nothing worse than trying to untangle a long extension cord. All you want to do is start your project, but instead, you’re wasting a ton of time. To avoid this and achieve a safer solution, you need to learn how to store long extension cords.
We’re going to look at DIY ways to wrap the cord as well as ways to correctly store a long cord.
Related: How To Cover Extension Cords Outside
Why Does it Matter?
The storage of your extension cord matters for two big reasons: safety and convenience. On top of that, it just looks neater and more organized when your cables are cared for.
By wrapping up and storing an extension cord, you don’t have to worry about accidentally tripping over loose cables. An unwrapped cord is a hazard as you walk around the space.
Additionally, failure to store your cord in the right place will wind up wearing down your cord faster. You’ll notice the cable has more chips and cuts in it which is a huge hazard.
The most convenient way to store your cords is one that doesn’t tangle them up. Throwing a cord in a cardboard box until the next time you use it will almost definitely tangle the cord up.
By properly storing your long extension cords, you won’t have to worry about untangling a mess of cables the next time you go to use the cord.
8 Best Way To Store Long Extension Cords
1. Use Paper Towel Rolls
If you have a thinner cord, you might be able to use a few paper towel rolls to keep the cord in place. Bunch the cord up and slide down a series of paper towel rolls. The cord will be stored inside of the rolls and will allow you to store, move, and grab the cords safely and tangle-free.
2. Velcro Wraps
After spiraling your extension cord up, throw a Velcro wrap on it. This is a reusable piece that allows you to firmly hold the coil together. These wraps work just like zip ties, but they’re reusable and just as cheap.
3. Use a Spool
For a couple of dollars, you can buy a nice little spool. People have mixed opinions about these spools, but it’s an option to consider. You will wind the cable around this spool when you’re done with it, and unwind it when you’re ready next time.
It works the same way that a spool for a garden hose works. Typically, you’ll find spools right next to extension cords in hardware stores.
The problem with the spool is it damages your cord over time. It applies pressure that will wear your cable quicker than a standard wrap will. There’s also the fact that you’re not really saving time since you have to wrap and unwrap the cable constantly.
It does look tidy after the cable is wrapped, though.
4. Do a Contractor’s Wrap
The contractor wrap is a technique electricians often use to store their cables. It takes a little practice and it’s complicated to learn. Fold the cord in half and keep the look end of the half in your hand. Tie a loose knot with this piece.
Reach through the loop and grab some of the doubled-up cable. Pull it through the loop. Now you have a new loop. Reach through this new loop and grab some doubled-up cable and continue the process until you’ve done the whole length of cable.
When you’re ready to use it, just grab a single piece of cable from the outer-most loop and pull. Ta-da!
Here’s a quick how-to video demonstrating how to do the contractors wrap for you extension cord.
5. Use an Over-Under Wrapping Style
This style is used by a lot of people and it might be our favorite. It’s easy and it helps preserve your cord as you store it.
Grab the cable with your hands gripping the same direction. Move your right hand towards your left hand, rotating your right hand 180 degrees along the way. Now your hands’ grip will be facing one another (not the same direction anymore). Grab both parts of the cable with your left hand. You will now have a single coil of cable.
Reach your right hand out and grab another length of the cable. Repeat the process, rotating your hand along the way, and grab the next coil with your left hand. Continue this until the entire coil is done.
This method follows the natural curve of the cord so you’re not flexing it weird and damaging the cable.
Check out this video for a simple explanation of how to do the over-under extension cord wrap.
6. Around-The-Arm Wrap
This method is quick and easy, but it might not be the best option. Grab the extension cord plug with your right hand and bend your elbow so your arm is at a 90-degree angle. With your left hand, grab the cable and coil it. You’ll be coiling it from your hand to your tricep (right above your elbow). When you’ve wrapped the length of the cable, slide your arm through the hole and you’re done.
Instead of your hands and triceps making the coil, you can also use your hand and armpit/shoulder for a larger coil and quicker wrap.
The problem is that you can still wind up with tangled cables in this method. Also, unwinding the coil is pretty annoying. On the bright side, it’s a free and fast option.
7. Retractable Cable Reel
If you want an upgrade from a spool, you can use a retractable cable reel. This is a reel that uses a mechanism to automatically spool the cable back. It’s a little more expensive and it is typically fixed in a single location.
It looks really neat and it’s a very convenient way of using an extension cord. The only problem is that the cable reel might wear the cable over time. It’s worth replacing the cable from time to time to keep it safe.
8. Create Your Own Reel
Finally, you can try to create your own reel for spooling your cable on. You just need to create a rod on a turntable that your cable can wrap around. Consider putting a PVC pipe T-handle at the top of the rod so you can quickly rotate it by hand.
You can even put this contraption inside of a bucket and cut a little hole in the side of the bucket and feed your extension cord inlet plug outside of the bucket.