I usually keep my phone's earphones in my pocket, or in my bag, and no matter how neatly I try to fold them they always get tangled when I take them out, which irritates me.
How would I prevent this from happening in the future?
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This video shows a nifty little trick for this, and is probably better than explaining it in words, but I'll try anyway:
I find it quickest while still being effective to do the following:
The end goal is to wrap the chord up and then make sure that wrap doesn't come undone, usually using one side of the chord to do so. Using this approach gives you fine control of how big you want to make the loop by changing the number of fingers and space between each.
Wrap them around your device: Wrap the earbuds or Headphones around a the device. I wrap my earbuds around my MP3 player and that keeps them not tangled. Wrapping them around other object also helps.
Thread the through your jacket or shirt: To keep my device warm and my earbuds not tangled I thread my earbuds inside my jacket or shirt and leave my device in my pocket. This way you can hang the actual earbud out of the neck of your jacket.
Wrapping the cord with floss or other string:
If braiding is your thing, you can braid a friendship bracelet around your headphones to make them tangle-free using embroidery floss or even just some regular string. If you don't know how to braid, you can also use parachute cord (a.k.a. paracord) by just running your headphone wires through If both of those options don't sound like your cup of tea, you can buy headphones that already come braided to prevent them from getting tangled up. Even cheap headphones, like these Monoprice 8320s, already come braided for you. Braided headphones not only look great, but they prevent any tangles from occurring in the first place. However, braiding takes a lot of time, so if you want braided headphones and don't want to take the time to do it yourself, buying braided headphones is your best bet.
Just slap on the binder clip near the earpiece end and begin wrapping the cord around the two metal arms. You can use it as a cable shortener and even clip it on to your backpack for hassle-free listening. When you're done, you can take the headphone jack and feed it through the wider opening of the arms to keep it all in place. This method is very versatile, but it takes up a lot of space, so you won't be able to just slide them in and out of your pocket.
snapguide.com: Not the best tutorial, but it helps.
Business Insider: Fascinating.
Putting them in your pocket with other stuff does not help to maximize their lifespan, it helps them get damaged and dirty. They should be wrapped properly in a separate pocket that does not get that much trauma or damage.
Storing and retrieving made fast:
If this is not completely clear, I could upload a video showing you the simple and intuitive steps.
Wrap them in a figure-8 pattern like this: http://lifehacker.com/152499/keep-headphone-wires-from-getting-tangled
Here is a description of the process:
Tightness of the wrapping determines how well it holds together, but if you use a loose wrap, you can just pull on the earbuds and the whole thing comes undone without a single knot.
You don't need to tie the knot very tightly; as long as it's not too loose, I've found this to be a rather stable configuration for all sorts of cords for my electronics.
When you fold the wire in a daisy chain pattern it will be too stiff to entangle, yet easily open able. (This video shows what I mean)
This is especially useful if you want to store the earbuds for a prolonged time, but after some getting-used-to one can do this in a short moment.
In words you would do it like this:
To open just grab the cable ends and pull, it should unchain itself.
Clean, tangle-free, and handy earbud storage
When storing your earbuds, put them into a plastic snap-shut pill bottle with a notch cut to allow the cord to clear the lip of the bottle without crimping it. It doesn't need to be air tight.
Wind the cord around the pill bottle.
Either tuck the plug into the last turn of the cord, or push its tip into a small hole in the bottom. A sharp point will get the hole started. Keep the hole small enough to snugly hold the plug contact sleeve.
For use, pull out the earbud connector, plug it into your device, drop the bottle to unwind it. Grab the bottle, flip open the top, and place the (clean) buds into your ears.