How to coil and store an extension cord

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How many times have you struggled with untangling an extension cord? Most of us had that experience at one time (or many times), and many likely still do. Some of us eventually figured out ways to coil a cord using a device we bought to organize the process. But not all work well…

The folks at the TV program “This Old House” show a couple of excellent ways to coil an extension cord. One requires nothing but a string to complete the process, the other a small bucket.

The video is less than three minutes long. It might be a good investment of your time to watch it. It could save you a whole lot more time in the future not having to fuss with coiling and then untangling a poorly coiled cord.

Related:
What you need to know about RV electrical cords
RV extension cords on Amazon

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Gray
4 days ago

Coiling a cord or rope into loops over & over, on top each time, puts a twist in the cord with each loop. It will snarl into a rats nest when unwound. The “over-under” coiling trick cancels the twists with each “under” looping tuck. So does coiling a line in a figure 8 pattern, holding one end in your hand and tucking the loop under your elbow, and back up to your hand, and down to the elbow again. Tie a cord around the middle. A line coiled without twists can be tossed while holding one end and it will not snarl as it unwinds. Garden hoses can be hung or laid down in a figure-8 pattern, and will not snarl when uncoiled for use.

The “bucket” technique is excellent if the line is allowed to feed into the bucket freely, letting it arrange itself as it settles. I can pull in 300 feet of 1/2-inch nylon anchor line, letting it stow down through the deck fitting into the bow locker underneath. It forms random loops without twists; it will feed out again without snarling.

Einar Hansen
5 days ago

I take a piece of 1/2″ plywood 24″x 6″ and cut a V in each about 4″ on each end and drill a 1/2″ hole in each side of V to use to hang it, and just wrap the cord around it using the V’s to have the cord fit in tight.

Ron T.
5 days ago

I’ve learned that it’s always easier if you start out by laying the cord or hose out straight then you can easily coil them by hand.

Scott R. Ellis
4 days ago
Reply to  Ron T.

Exactly. The reason that works is that it allows the body of the cord to rotate as you coil it WITHOUT bothering with the over/under bit. (In other words, the twist that the over/under business avoids simply works its way down the cord, the end rotating on the way in.) If you lay the cord out straight, over/over/over/etc. works just fine. Or has for me in forty-plus years as a carpenter coiling cords, anyway.

Gene Bjerke
5 days ago

I have done this with cords and hoses for years. However, it is very difficult with a heavy shore-power cord, especially when it is cold. What I do to store my cord in the back of my Sprinter Class B (in the space under the sofa) is simply lay it on top of whatever is there in a big figure-8 (called flaking). Goes in and comes out quickly and easily and never kinks.

David Onder
5 days ago

Also learned this trick a long time ago working for a band. I have been using it for years. You can even toss the cord and it will unravel perfectly.

Richard Hughes
5 days ago

As a traveling musician, I learned early on that cords wound this way are less prone to problems. They are easier to store and do lay much flatter.