Saturday, September 23, 2023


How to coil and store an extension cord

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.

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Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodbury
I'm the founder and publisher of I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.


  1. I found this out quite by accident.
    I needed a small 20 gallon bucket with a cover, I got one at Tractor Supply. When packing up,I figured I’d store something in it to maintain space. What fit exceptionally well was my 50 amp cord. No more fighting with rolling up the cord, getting covered with mud, because it always rains on moving day!
    I coil the cord around the inside of the can and when stopping overnight, I uncoil what I need,instead of pulling out the whole thing,throwing it on the ground,only to deal with it in the morning. I’ve been thinking of cutting a couple of slots at the top,making sure to keep a smooth edge to keep the cover on tightly.

  2. For over 70 years we’ve used 1 technology to save our cords from snarling.
    1. Double it up.
    2. Grab that midpoint
    3. Form a loop about 10-12″
    4. Knit the rest of the cord by reaching tru that loop & grabbing the cord.
    5. Pull that piece thru the loop & form another loop.
    6. Repeat step 4 & 5 till finished.
    A 120′ #10 cord bevomes 8′ long.
    Just loop that part into a single coil & your done.

    By just pulling out as much cord as needed something like 20′ can be used without any snarling & knitting it back together in seconds when done.

    If you don’t know how to knit ask DW, I’m sure she’d be glad to show you

  3. Also, it is not so much how you coil a cord as much as it is how you un-coil it. Some people put knots in a well coiled cord when they un-coil it. Sometimes it is not how you un-knot a knot that brings you to naught.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    • 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.


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