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marie26_gw

Need quick advice re labeling wires

marie26
17 years ago

DH just informed me that he is moving some of his electronic equipment tonight and would like to label the wires as he does it. I decided that color coding would probably work best for us. Do I just go out and purchase masking tape in various colors or is there a better product than that?

Comments (20)

  • western_pa_luann
    17 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    We "flag" the wire with masking tape and write what the plug/wire goes to.

    We have more wires than there's colors of tape!

  • artmom
    17 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I like to use bread ties of different colors or the plastic flat thing that also closes bread and bun bags, you can write on those.

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  • Maura63
    17 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    You can't write on these, but pipe cleaners come in all sorts of colors and could secure like-wires together.

    Good luck!

  • naughtykitty
    17 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    If you're intent on color-coding, there are great colored dot stickers that are about the size of a pencil eraser and come in a dispenser box (much like the box that scrapbooking splits come in, if that helps any). They come in over 20 colors. We used to use them on floorplans when designing phone systems (different colored dots for each type of phone, fax, printer, etc).

    I use the labeled masking tape flags myself.

    Hope this helps.
    Meredith

  • marie26
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Thank you for your responses.

    I went to the store and purchased a package of 5 different colored electrical tapes for $2.79. I had picked up the individual tapes in the paint department at about $2.00 each but when I mentioned to the cashier what I was using them for, he directed me to the electrical department. I ended up saving over $7.00. I already had 4 other tapes at home of different colours and textures so I hopefully am set. I was proud of myself for finding those 4 tapes so easily.

    If this works out, maybe I can use this on my wire box hell. DH promised me at some point to organize them into categories. Then I will put them into individual labeled containers.

  • talley_sue_nyc
    17 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I would like to strongly suggest that DH write on the electrical tape w/ a Sharpie as well--then you'll be set if he forgets what the colors mean. Plus, I'm guesing there are at least two things you need to know about a wire: what thickness it is (& how much load it'll carry), and how LONG it is. Color coding will only work for one characteristic.

    I'm not normally a big fan of color coding, esp. not if you have LOTS of colors (i.e., more than 3). It's just too complicated.

    and I don't like ANY labelling system that needs a "key"--a list somewhere that tells you "red is stereo; blue is phone; green is X amps of load; purple is something else."

    I want to be able to look at the item and know what it is, immediately.

  • marie26
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    He wrapped the electrical tape around the wires of his stereo by color as well as where each one goes. But he kept complaining that he thought this was a stupid system. So, I know he'll never do this for the wire box.

  • talley_sue_nyc
    17 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    he thought this was a stupid system

    he needs to be the one inventing these systems, then. That might also make it more likely that he'll maintain these systems.

    Maybe it's time for you to simply stop caring about how organized the wire box is, and simply insist that he pick up the stuff he gets out and shove it back in whatever container whenever he's done. If he doesn't care about a system enough to invent one, then the heck w/ it.

    Just don't let him walk away and leave a mess--that's really rude. And it's time for you to define it to him as such.

    This "organizing the wires" thing is simply taking up too much of your time and energy. At least, it seems to be, from this vantage point.

  • marie26
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Talley Sue, you're probably right about it taking up my time and energy. But for some reason, this box is driving me insane. How do you walk away from something that you know needs organization so that a mess doesn't end up on the floor causing an argument? It's been an ever ending battle that I want to conquer. Just as I was able to quickly find the tapes, I want to avoid a wire fight because he doesn't put the wires away without me hounding him. I know that it is more of a communication and respect dilemna but it is a dilemna just the same. I'm just trying to get to a point where this cycle won't keep happening over and over again.

    I will have him organize the wires into types. Then, I will put each type into its own box/container. If that doesn't work, I will give up because I will then know this is futile. At least I'll give it one more try.

  • western_pa_luann
    17 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    In the first post you say: "I decided that color coding would probably work best for us."

    If HE is doing the work, he should be allowed to used whatever system works for HIM.

    We all see and do things differently, and since he thinks your system is stupid, he should figure out one that works for him.

    Unless you are willing to do it.

  • talley_sue_nyc
    17 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    needs organization so that a mess doesn't end up on the floor causing an argument?

    Here is your problem, if I may be so bold.

    "on the floor causing an argument" is the problem.

    "organizing" is not going to fix it. PUTTING IT BACK IN THE BOX will.

    This is a common misdirection--you're not alone in getting all distracted by the sorting and labeling, and neglecting the more fundamental (and therefore less seductive) TRUE solution.

    The point is, it is making you insane when he leaves this stuff all over the floor. And if he's not willing to put his OWN MESS away when he's done, then he's not behaving politely. I'll go along w/ the idea that he won't think of it at first on his own, and that it's OK to remind him. But if you say, "honey, don't forget to pick up those wires in the other room before you go to bed," and he WON'T do it, then he is out of line, and THAT is where your problem is.

    of course, how you fix that, in YOUR marriage, *I* don't know. I might have some ideas for how to fix in *my* marriage (and I'll be sure to pass them on to DH, because *he* is the one who needs them, in my house). But the dynamics of a marriage are hard for outsiders to understand. *I* want to come and clonk him on the head, LOL, but he ain't my DH.

    I don't know if your drawing an analogy to how he treats his coworkers would give him an "aha" moment, or if you made a strong statement of emotion, or if you refused to let him into bed to go to sleep until he picked up his mess (as if he were a teenager), or if you threw his stuff into the backyard in a temper tantrum, or if you quietly threw them into the garbage, or if you embarrassed him in front of his friends, or if you bribed him w/ chocolate or smooches. (In a perfect world, you wouldn't have to do any of these things, but hey, nobody's perfect--and I'll take chocolate, LOL!)

    I know that it is more of a communication and respect dilemna but it is a dilemna just the same. I'm just trying to get to a point where this cycle won't keep happening over and over again.

    I'm sorry to say that I believe it WILL keep happening over and over again--because no amount of organizing the INSIDE of the box will make him pick them up from OUTSIDE the box. The current solution is not HARD to put away, right? Pick them up, drop them in, put on lid. Right? Even if it's too annoying to restack the boxes in the closet, he could at least corral them into the bin, right?

    Any color coding is going to be MORE work. And it sounds like (if you're honest, I bet you'll find you have to admit this) that he'll drag them all out all over the floor no matter HOW they're labeled inside.

    But until you get to the heart of the matter--which is that he won't pick his own stuff up even if you remind him--you won't solve this.

    I can see why it would seem that it's worth still trying to *organize* them.

    You've tried some things lately--did any piece of them work? Did he put them back in the plastic bags--or did he (hope, hope!) not take them OUT of the plastic bags if they weren't what he wanted?

    It sounds like PREVENTING him from getting into the wires is almost the only thing that will work, short of giving up on him on this issue.

    If you can fix it so that he doesn't have to get them ALL out to find what he wants, that might help--maybe. You tried that--did it work? Unless he's the sort of guy who won't even LOOK at a label until all the stuff is on the floor (those people exist--I've seen them in action)

    II suppose that's worth one more try--to compartmentalize so granularly, and package and LABEL so he doesn't remove anything except what he needs. And maybe drawers will make it easier to put stuff away, and solve the "he wants the tub on the bottom" problem.

    but I'm not that optimistic about these as a permanent solution.

    If I were in your shoes, maybe I'd give up on him. I'd just get one huge oversize tub, and then when he makes a big mess, and decide that since *I* was the only one who would deal with it, I could scoop it all up and throw it in with the LEAST amount of effort on my part. And he can deal w/the lost time sorting out what he needs.

    Maybe it's time to figure out a storage solution that meets YOUR needs, and the heck w/ his. You need--what?

    -A clear floor w/ no wires everywhere.
    --so something easy to put things BACK into for YOU

    -No "running out to buy something we have already."
    --so *some* level of compartmentalization so he'll at least be tempted to look to see if you've already got the wires; and all of it in ONE place.
    --and, some sort of coding or sorthing method that lets YOU toss stuff into the right compartment; will YOU be able to do that w/ the tape-color-coding method? you can put the red-tape wires in the red-tape drawer? In which case, that might work.

    But, the point is, maybe this organization needs to work for what YOU need, which is in the putting away, NOT the getting out. (except of course you don't want him deciding to buy new instead of looking through the old)

    Which would be an improvement over now, bcs I see you were the one who got them out right away, anyway.

    Good luck--I feel for you on this, and I worry about you a little over it. I hope I don't seem too harsh, but I just fear that you'll spend so much more energy trying to invent organizing methods, that you'll divert more time to it than you'd spend just scooping them up and stuffing them in a box.

  • susanjn
    17 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    What are all these wires for? I can't imagine having any need to go through a bunch of wires with any frequency. If they are cords that go with specific items, why not just keep them with their item?

    Maybe when the wires are in your path, you could just walk on them. That's what I'd do. ;)

  • marie26
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Talley Sue, as usual you are correct. This is more for me than DH. For instance, my desk always has to be neat and clean in order to work. His is just a mess of papers yet both of us are able to get our work done.

    Part of the problem, as you stated, is not wanting to buy more of what we already own. That is probably why I have so many wires. We have 2 stereo systems and the wires in the box can go to these as well as all the past systems. I would just like there to be a day when he says he needs a certain wire and I can point him to the right box and he finds it. I will try that system and then, if it doesn't work, I'll give up forever.

    Luann, we had discussed the color coding of the wires and he was very excited about it until actually putting it into action.

  • meldy_nva
    17 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Maybe he is one of those people who admire and desire organization but doesn't have the genes for setting up a system. If he is, and *you* organize, then you have a 50-50 chance of everything staying neat - he either *will* put away whatever, or he *won't*.

    I'm betting he won't follow any system no matter how simple, because it seems to me that people who are not 'naturally' neat and who haven't been trained from toddlerhood on how to be neat, and not required by their job to have precisely arranged surroundings, - those people will probably not ever see a valid reason for being neat, much less make an effort. This is not a matter of whether or not he loves you, it is a matter of deeply ingrained habit very much like seeing a glass of water as half-full or half-empty. If you do organize for him, and then he doesn't keep it neat -- don't sweat it: you fell in love with him for other reasons, none of which involve putting wires away [I hope]. Cater to your own sense of neatness by either taking the time to put the wires away for him, or every night swoop them into a box and put the box away. These are his wires, let him look for them when he wants them. (Personally, I'd date and tape the box when it was full and if he didn't open it after a year, I'd discard them!) Just don't obsess over the fact that he isn't as organized as you are: I'm sure you can think of ten other qualities that are far more important to your marriage.

  • talley_sue_nyc
    17 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Meldy, some really nice insights, phrased in such a nice way!

    I do disagree, however, w/ one thought--not completely, but some. I was not rised or trained to be neat OR organized, or to have precisely arranged surroundings.

    And yet I can see the value of being organized. When I *do* see that value, it makes it easier to hold to the system. I backslide, of course, but not that often.

    If I *don't* see any value, I don't follow the system. (the whole "making the bed" thing--for 40 years, I never made the bed; then I realized that if I did, I ould use it as a table earlier in the day, so bingo!)

    Good luck, Marie!

  • quiltglo
    17 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Doctor Gloria, riding in on Talley's shirt tales. Marie, all of this energy on the wires sounds like avoidance behavior on your part. Yes, you are avoiding working on Marie, while you focus on the DH. He has given you ample information that HE doesn't care about these wires being organized. Throw the things is a box, put it in the back closet and let the issue rest.

    This does not allow him to mess up the main rooms of the house, but he isn't going to follow these systems you keep trying to set up. Demand respectful behavior of picking up after himself (just like you would with your children) and let the "organization" of his stuff alone. This current effort on your part is unproductive. It's time to quit trying to micromanage the man. If he can't find the wires he needs, that's his problem, not yours. Let him deal with the problem. If he dumps the box out and doesn't put it away, tell him you will throw it away since it must not be important because it's sitting on the floor.

    How about if you head back to that cabinet of personal papers and make some progress on the business you would like to start? Go use the time you try and organize your DH to do some useful and meaningful volunteer work. Even just go watch a TV show.

    Gloria

  • meldy_nva
    17 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Talley Sue - I think you're right - and I suspect most of us aren't 'raised neat', but somewhere along the way we either have a "maid" to pick up after us, or determine that we are more comfortable with a certain amount of self-imposed neatness.

    I just wanted to remind Marie that when it comes to interpersonal relationships, visible neatness doesn't count nearly as much as all the invisible traits that she values in her DH. I've been known to mutter as I pick up after my DH (who was raised with mommy for his maid and has adapted to bipartisan neatness anyhow), "he is honest, he has a good sense of humor, he is reliable, he is..." funny thing, but there's usually fewer things to pick up than there are good traits to name.

    BTW, the bed making scene is something *I* had to adapt to... When DH went to work first, I always made the bed. Now that I'm working full-time and he's retired, he volunteered to do most of the housework -except dust and vac- but he almost never makes the bed. Hey, he's helps with the gardening, he never grumbles when I ask him to reach something on a high shelf, he keeps my car running, he....

  • marie26
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    All good points and I really appreciate everyone's input. Last night, the wires were again on the floor and I insisted that they get put back in the box. All he asked of me is that I wait until Sunday when he finishes setting up the new system.

    I think part of the reason I wanted it organized properly was to weed out the junk. But I'll need DH's help with that since I wouldn't have a clue what's garbage or not. I am determined to at least l) get the junk out and 2) separate the rest into categories. Amazingly, he knows what he owns and can describe the smallest piece of something he needs. If these were all divided, I think it would help immensely. I wish I had done this when I put all the wires/accessories for systems into the plastic bags.

  • talley_sue_nyc
    17 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    well, maybe don't give up on the plastic bags? Maybe "done this when" is now? Maybe the tape will make it easier to get stuff back into the right plastic bag?

  • susanjn
    17 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    After reading Dr. Gloria's post I ran upstairs to make the bed because that's important to my dh. And I didn't step on any of his stuff. :)

    marie, if he knows what all is in there, it must not be junk. :(