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Sysadmins: How many spare cords do you have sitting around?

Do you stockpile cables and other spare parts like they're going out of style, or do you just hang on to a few and order more when you need them?
A tangle of wires

How many spare cords do you keep around?

281 votes tallied
Almost none.
3 votes
Just a few in a drawer.
43 votes
A box or two, but they're under control.
119 votes
I'm starting to need more closet space.
77 votes
If one of my piles collapsed, they'd never find me.
39 votes

I was recently reading a thread over on r/sysadmin on Reddit called "Every single one of you has a big box of cords" and it got me thinking: is that true? Are we all cord hoarders? Or do some of us manage to keep our unused computer accessories in check?

So I thought I'd ask our own readers: How many extra cords do you have sitting around? I went through a few iterations of how to phrase the responses: How many kilograms? How many meters? What's the exact count? How many kinds? But if you're anything like me, giving an answer that's anything more than a ballpark is undoable.

The Raleigh, NC-based Enable Sysadmin staff recently shifted workspaces, and aside from lots of other interesting finds from the years of collected detritus at our desks were an awful lot of cords. Fortunately, it was a good opportunity to clear some of these out.

Sadly, though, my personal collection far exceeds those that I rehomed in my move here at work. And that's after I made significant inroads in clearing out my cable clutter in the past year. It's just a never-ending battle.

The VGA cables, short lengths of ethernet, power cables, and that sort of thing at least may be donation-worthy. Your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore or thrift store may take them, or you may be lucky enough to have a non-profit in your area that rebuilds computers for underprivileged kids or others who are in need. (The Kramden Institute near us here in the Research Triangle area does great work in this area.)

But there's some stuff that needs to head to the trash, or a recycling facility if there's one in your area that will accept electronics waste. It's probably okay to part ways with most of those parallel port cables, floppy drive connectors, PS/2 ball mice, ATA ribbons, etc. Sure, keep them around if you've got some of the matching hardware still in service (in which case, I feel for you), or if they're something special, maybe reach out to your local network and see if a collector might be interested in them. Chances are, though, most of this kind of equipment is past its useful life. Maybe you can find a creative art project to do with them?

In any case, trying to get your cord sprawl in check is probably worth it. I won't say it's going to be life-changing magic, but it might make at least a little space in your closets and drawers for something that sparks a bit more joy.

Topics:   Sysadmin culture  
Author’s photo

Jason Baker

Red Hat Certified Engineer. Linux desktop enthusiast. Map/geospatial nerd. Raspberry Pi tinkerer. Data analysis and visualization geek. Occasional Pythonista. More about me

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