In most cases, the back of your desktop monitor is nothing more than wasted space. If you have an all-in-one system like an iMac, that space is even more cluttered because it has cables coming out of it every which way. Let’s look at the ways you can turn that unused space into a useful little utility belt for storage and organization.
Create Hidden Storage for Small Junk
The majority of monitors have nothing on the back of them, save for a few ports for cables and a power cord. This means it’s a great place to store all the small stuff you have. Here’s a couple different ideas.
Store External Hard Drives
Have an external hard drive cluttering up your desk? This tiny shelf is a dead simple woodcut that fits snuggly on the back of an iMac. With the shelf installed, you can store anything tiny you desire. It even acts as a cable organizer. Here’s what you need:
5″ x 8″ x 1/2″ oak cut at an angle to match the slant of the iMac stand. Drilled all the way through 1″ from edges at 1/4″ diameter. 17″ x 1/4″ steel rod bent into “U” shape with brake line (rubber hose) fit on flat edge to provide grip and protection. Tapped the ends at 1/4 x 20 fit with wing nuts for easy adjustment, can be adjusted to fit at any point on stand. Added a drawer pull as a cable spool to the bottom.
It’s built for the iMac, but could certainly be repurposed to work with any monitor with a similar base. If you’d prefer to skip the DIY approach, the Backpack does the same thing for $29.99.
The Ambitious Store Everything Approach
If you want to go all out, this build features pretty much everything you’ll ever need to get things done mounted directly to the back of the monitor. You get a light, index cards, speakers, an ethernet switch, and even a pen. The bulk of the work is done with the magic of double-sided tape. That means if you’re hesitant to take the all-or-nothing approach outlined here, you can certainly learn a few tricks to store other things behind your monitor.
Hide and Organize Cables
Cable clutter is the biggest hassle of getting your desk organized. Organizing them with your monitor in mind can help clear that clutter easily.
The Super Cheap Paper Pocket Method
If you have a lot cables sitting around, then this clever pocket system made entirely from paper is a good way to store them out of sight. All you need is card stock paper, double-sided tape, and something to cut it all with. This method comes in especially handy with USB cables you need to access frequently, but could be used for pretty much anything you want.
Add Extension Cables for Easy Access to Tricky Ports
The biggest pain of all-in-one desktops is getting to the cables in the back. One solution is to use Sugru to attach extensions to the side for easy access. If your monitor is made of aluminum, you can also use magnets for a similar effect. The end result is easy access to USB ports without having to flip around your monitor every time.
Mount Everything Else and Keep Your Desk Clear
Of course, not everything on your desk can fit into small little cubby holes or cable organizers. Bigger things need bigger solutions.
Mount Your Laptop to the Back of Your Monitor
If your primary use for your laptop is through an external monitor then you know the pain of trying to figure out a good place to put your laptop. Instructables user Mattlumpkin decided to go ahead and mount it on the back of the monitor itself. The idea is actually really simple. Using a small piece of foam, Mattlumpkin created a shelf on the back of the LCD, and then setup a simple system to quickly attach all the cables. It’s certainly not pretty from the back, but who ever looks at the back of your computer?
Add a Headphone Shelf to the Side (or Back) of Your Monitor
A lot of us like to keep headphones around so we’re not annoying everyone around us, but the bulky cans aren’t easy to store. One solution for iMac owners is Machook, which hangs your headphones on the side of your monitor with a stylish little hook. For non-iMac owners or people who just don’t want to spend the money, a 3M Command Hook will do just as well. The bonus with the 3M hooks is that you usually get two or three in the pack so you can mount all sorts of other things to your monitor.
When you stop and think about it a little, you can use the back of your monitor to store and hide away pretty much anything. It’s essentially wasted storage space ripe for hanging peripherals, creating shelves, and organizing cables.