Like a modern-day version of Medusa's hair, tangled headphones strike fear into the hearts of good men and women everywhere. There you are, going about your day, hoping to listen to some tunes, only to be greeted by a gnarled mess of wires the moment you reach your hand into your bag. It's a plague on our ears, fingers and hearts.
Think about it. Spending just one minute per day ridding your earbuds of knots adds up to more than six hours per year. Think of what you could do with that lost time: Binge-watch Netflix, day-drink, travel across the country, have a lot of sex or consume a 16-course meal.
There are wireless headphones, sure, but the quality is iffy and the price is steep. Over-ear options, while better for our ears in the long run and less likely to tangle, are clunkier and less convenient to cart around.
So what's an audiophile to do? Snarled 'buds are impossible to avoid every time, but there are some handy means for preventing it. Put the methods below to work and your workday, commute, exercise routine or nights spent attempting to avoid hearing your roommate have sex are likely to get easier.
1. The Double Up and Loop Method
Double up your earbud cord twice so that it's a quarter of its original length. Twist it around with your thumb and forefinger so that it's slimmer and more compact. Loop it into itself, pulling the two buds and jack through the loop.
Good for: Someone who knows how to tie knots.
2. The Devil's Horns Method
Make a "devil's horns" or "rock on" sign with your fingers. Tuck your earbuds underneath your middle and ring fingers of the same hand. Wrap the cord around your pointer and pinky fingers in a figure-eight pattern. When you have a little bit of cord left, wrap it around the middle of the figure-eight and tuck the jack inside.
Good for: Knitters.
3. The Use Your Hand Method
Wrap your earbuds around the widest part of your palm, leaving about six inches of cord free. Take the circled-up cord off your hand and bring it together like a flattened rubber band. Wrap the leftover cord around the middle of the circled cord. Loop the jack through and tuck it in.
Good for: People with big hands.
4. The Wrap Around Your Phone Method
This one is relatively self-explanatory: Take your plugged in earbuds and wrap them, either lengthwise or widthwise, around your phone. (The downside to this method is that it makes fitting your phone into your pocket a little more difficult.)
Good for: People too lazy to stick with the options above.
5. The Buy Some Stuff Method
As a last resort, you can always buy something to make your life easier. There's a nifty thing called a "cord taco," which is essentially a fancy leather pouch used to keep your headphones from coming out in your bag. It's more expensive than the other options but at least you'll look like you just stepped out of a J.Crew catalog.
Good for: People who are even lazier than the person who opts for option No. 4.
Cost: $20-$35, depending on which model you purchase.