If I told you to pack a small bag right now, and fill it with items that you could use to solve problems, handle crises, and fix things that weren’t working quite right, what would you pack? Duct tape is an obvious choice, since many people consider it the most versatile “fixer” item you can carry. But today I want to want to talk about another “fixer,” one that I would argue is nearly as versatile as duct tape – zip ties!
Zip ties were invented in 1958 for the purpose of corralling wiring on airplanes. Since that time, zip ties have found there way into many different industries because they’re inexpensive, easy to use, and surprisingly strong! Today I’ll be sharing some of my favorite everyday uses for zip ties. My hope is that by the end of the list, you’ll want to store a pack of zip ties alongside your duct tape! ;-)
14 Uses for Zip Ties
1. Key Ring
You can use a small zip tie as a key ring in a pinch. This can be especially helpful if you’re giving a few spare keys to a house- or pet-sitter when you go out of town. Just zip tie your spare house key, mailbox key, and any other important keys together so your sitter can easily keep track of them.
2. Binder Rings
Use a couple of small zip ties to “bind” papers and documents together. Just punch a couple of holes along the edge and slip small zip ties through the holes. This is a simple and fun way to create a book of your child’s writing or artwork. They’ll love flipping through it!
3. Organize Cables
One of my biggest pet peeves is tangled, messy, and chaotic cables! I do try to keep the cables as organized as possible, but my videographer husband taught me that the secret to having ultra-organized and sleek cables is — zip ties! Take cables that are in the same area, and zip tie them together at regular intervals. The cables will run in one line, which reduces the chaos significantly.
4. Luggage Lock
When you’re traveling (especially if you’re backpacking,) you might utilize luggage storage services to keep your bags for the day while you’re out sightseeing. While I’m sure that the majority of people at these services are perfectly trustworthy people, it never hurts to take an extra precaution or two, right?
If your bag has two zippers to close it, you can use a zip tie to secure the two zippers together. It probably won’t stop a determined thief, but it will deter most people from poking around in your bags while you’re out enjoying your trip.
5. Bubble Wand
Make a small loop at the end of a large zip tie and use it as a makeshift bubble wand! Try out one of these recipes for homemade bubble solution, and have a bubble party with the kids!
6. Drain Snake
Use a large zip tie to help fish hair out of a stopped-up drain. Use a sharp knife to cut diagonal notches along the sides of the zip tie. Then slide it into the drain, and move it up and down to loosen debris and pick up hair.
7. Seal Bags
Use a zip tie to re-seal packages so that the food won’t get stale. This works great to keep marshmallows, brown sugar, and other foods from drying out.
Can’t keep the kids out of the cabinets? Zip ties are a cheap and easy fix! Secure a zip tie between two adjacent knobs or handles to keep the kids out of a cupboard.
9. Plant Support
Some plants need a little extra encouragement to stand up straight. Place a stake next to your plant, and use a loosely looped zip tie to secure the plant stem to the stake. (The zip tie should be loose enough to accommodate for the expected growth of the plant. You don’t want to accidentally strangle it!)
10. Zipper Fix
Got a pair of jeans with a zipper that just won’t stay up? Loop a zip tie through the end of your zipper, then zip up your pants. Hook the loop onto the button, then button your pants. And voila! Zipper crisis averted. :-)
11. Bouquet Binder
Use a zip tie to secure bouquets of flowers. This is great tip for brides who opt to make their own bouquets. It’s also a great way to keep flowers together as a bundle if you’re displaying them in a slightly larger vase.
12. Pack Efficiently
Need to pack a lot of stuff into a small bag? Zip ties to the rescue! Roll your shirts and pants tightly, then secure each one with a zip tie. You’ll be able pack very efficiently! (Make sure to bring extra zip ties to use for the return trip.)
13. Camping Must-Have
Zip ties are a great multi-purpose item to keep with your camping supplies. Use a zip tie to fix broken hooks and loops on a tent. Or use one to secure your camp tablecloth to the table in windy conditions. You can also use them to get more traction on slippery hikes! (See below.)
14. Traction Booster
If you need a bit of extra grip to power through a slippery trail, or even just an icy parking lot, grab a zip tie! Loop the zip tie around the toe of your shoe, with the fastener facing down towards the ground. Clip the excess length, and the clasp will give you that extra traction you’re looking for.
BONUS Zip Tie Tips!
How To Loosen A Ziptie – Grab a small, strong, and sharp object (a craft knife or a small screwdriver would work well) and slide it between the strip part and the ratchet mechanism. Carefully slide the strip out.
For Outdoor Use – If you’re going to be using zip ties outdoors, look for zip ties that are UV-resistant or UV-stable. Most zip ties are designed for indoor use, and will deteriorate over time in direct sunlight.