The challenge: To keep a phone by the bed or in the basement or garage when there's no jack in reach―without the expense of installation by a phone technician.
2 of 8Wendell Webber
To the rescue: A wireless phone-jack system (such as one from RCA, $60, sears.com). "Wireless technology provides very good reception on reputable brands," says Cliff Sugrue, a New York City residential contractor. And buying a wireless phone-jack system is cheaper and less time-consuming than having the phone company install a new jack, which would run up to $200, plus hours of waiting for the technician to show up.
A base unit connects with both an electrical outlet and an existing phone jack in your home, the extension plugs into an outlet in the room you want your phone in, and the phone plugs into that extension.
3 of 8Wendell Webber
Reducing Countertop Clutter
The challenge: To impose order on cords from a multitude of small kitchen appliances and find room for recharging cell phones and PDAs in the process.
4 of 8Wendell Webber
To the rescue: A multiple-outlet adapter expands the capabilities of the conventional two-plug wall outlet.The GE Side-Access Six-Outlet Adapter ($5, Gracious Home, 212-517-6300) provides three outlets per side, and unlike a power strip, it doesn’t squander precious countertop space. To contain excess cords fully (particularly important if you have a tug-happy toddler), plastic discs with reels wind up and store the surplus. Try the XL Cable Organizer ($15, containerstore.com).
Installation savvy: When charging two gadgets at the same time, plug them into opposite ends of the multi-outlet adapter. This will accommodate those clunky transformer plugs without covering up additional sockets.
5 of 8Wendell Webber
Taming Unruly Cords
The challenge: To organize and conceal―but keep accessible―the countless cords snaking from your entertainment center or home-office desk.
6 of 8Wendell Webber
To the rescue: The Cord Control Kit from Get Organized ($16 for an eight-foot tube, getorg.com) contains a flexible plastic tube that's slit lengthwise and fits around approximately 10 cords and wires, effectively streamlining and camouflaging the bunch. (The tubing comes in black, white, red, or light gray, but black downplays dirt best.)
The kit also comes in 6- or 12-foot tubing lengths. To determine the length needed for a desktop, measure from the outlet to the farthest component on the desk; for entertainment systems, measure from the outlet up to the top component.
For easy identification, color-coded labels are provided to match the component end of each cord with its respective plug.
7 of 8Wendell Webber
Identifying What's Plugged in Where
The challenge: To easily (and surefootedly) disconnect and reconnect pieces of equipment plugged into power strips and other multiple outlets.
8 of 8Wendell Webber
To the rescue: Sturdy and sticky tape in assorted colors (about $4 for a 60-yard roll of one-inch tape, at hardware stores) or colored file-folder labels and matching dots (about $2 for 248 labels, $4 for 760 dots, at office-supply stores).
Installation savvy: Follow each wire from the component to the outlet, and wrap pieces of the same color tape at either end (or wrap a label at the plug end and stick a matching dot on its component).