My current system for packing pens, cables, earphones, and generally anything else smaller than a paperback book: cram that shit in the front pouch of my backpack! It doesn't exactly make unpacking easy. Nau's folding Fluent Stash can restore sanity.
Think of it as a trapper keeper for all your odds-and-ends: cables, toiletries, notebooks, sunglasses—whatever you want to bring on your trip but don't want rattling around loose in your bag. When folded up, it's a slim felt pouch secured with an aluminum buckle. Open it up and it's got three snap-secured pouches and a zipper mesh pocket. If only someone had pointed this out to me before my earphones and USB cables joined forces like some kind of electronic Rat King on my flight home. Oh well, there are always more trips.