New technology, new needs. These days it seems like every member of your household -- including the gerbil -- has a cell phone of his or her own. What's more, the current craze for wireless electronics includes not only phones, but also music players, headsets, laptops, tablets, e-readers, and game consoles. (Whew!) All of these portable devices operate via batteries that need occasional recharging. Since that means a cable for each device, things could get a little messy... unless you organize the tangle of wires with a neat and tidy charging station. You can buy these stations readymade, but the kind that you craft yourself are much more fun and creative.
Before You Begin
Because many of today's electronic gadgets need to recharge via USB cable, consider hiring an electrician to replace an electrical wall socket with one that includes USB ports.
If you use an attractive container like a repurposed breadbox or suitcase to corral your electronics as they're charging, be sure that it is properly ventilated. This avoids the risk of overheating, which could cause a fire hazard.
For safety's sake, keep electric cables well out of reach of inquisitive small children and pets.
Save energy: switch off the power as soon as your devices are fully charged.
Along with telephone landlines, print magazines seem to be gradually going the way of the dodo bird. Bring new life to a no-longer-used magazine holder by repurposing it as a charge station. This DIY can do double duty as a mail rack (in case you still receive snail mail) or a family command center, in your mudroom or front hall.
If you have a kitchen island with an outlet on the side, maximize your space by hanging up a pretty wire basket there. This will make a convenient location to keep all your electronic devices close at hand while they charge and you cook.
Construct a mini wooden crate to round up all your charging phones, tablets, and such. It's the perfect project for DIYers who love pallets, since it makes use of even the smallest salvaged scraps. Adorn with old timey fruit crate labels for a nifty nostalgic look.
Who else has what seems like a million empty shoeboxes cluttering up the house? Put one to good use as an easy-to-make charging station. All you need to do is cut a few holes in the cardboard to accommodate your cables and provide ventilation, then decorate the box to your heart's content.
A dollar store bin can be adapted into the perfect charging station ... and it's so cheap you can make one for every room of the house if you like. All you have to do is paint each bin to match your decor; it comes with two open handles already in place. The result is amazingly elegant!
A white picket fence is the iconic sign of a well-kept, orderly home. So why not build a miniature version as a discreet hiding place for your charging devices? Concocted by product designer Karl Zahn, this little fence is simple to recreate -- just stick pickets onto the baseboard of your room.
Don't throw out Grandpa's (or Grandma's) rusty, rustic vintage toolkit! Upcycle it as a spot to recharge all your electronics. This is one of our favorite charging station projects -- we love the old-meets-new contrast between the sturdy, well-used tool chest and the sleek modern gadgets.
Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.