10 Uses for Twist Ties

    Photo: bnilsen/FlickrDoes anyone else feel like the junk drawer is exploding with twist ties? They come with every box of garbage bags, they keep your bread bags shut (if they aren't clipped with plastic), and they seem to multiply like rabbits whenever you turn around. It's tempting to periodically sweep up the lot of them and dump them in the trash, especially if you're pondering a kitchen remodel and you want to clean house, but actually, twist ties are really useful, and now is a good time to start hanging on to them. Here's why.

    1. Bundle cords, cables, and more

    Errant batches of cords are another thing that seems to multiply around the house, especially near entertainment centers and workspaces. Bundle them with twist ties to keep them under control. If you want to level up, bundle similar cables together with color-coded ties to help you organize; this also makes it easier to unplug and move single items without disturbing the entire cable nest. (Although, seriously, if your cables are nesting, it might be time to call an exterminator.)

    2. Training vines and other plants

    Sure, they sell twist ties for gardening, but why buy what's already sitting in your kitchen? If you need to tie up plants, turn to the contents of the junk drawer. As with nursery twist ties, remember to fasten the ties loosely and check in on the plant as it grows to make sure it's not being strangled. Meanwhile, enjoy your non-droopy tomatoes and climbing jasmine vines.

    3. Temporary eyeglass screw

    Glasses wearers have all been there with critical equipment failure and no spares to hand. If you need to get out the door fast, your eyeglass repair kit is nowhere to be seen, and you don't have time to futz with your glasses, use a twist tie. Strip the outer paper or plastic, run the wire through, twist a few times, and snip short to prevent trailing ends. It might not look gorgeous, but you're the only one who will see it.

    4. Quick wardrobe stand-in

    If you just popped a button, lost a zipper pull, or experienced another wardrobe malfunction, twist ties may be able to help out. They're quite flexible, durable, and strong, and they'll at least get you through long enough to go home and really fix the problem.

    5. Quick and dirty equipment wrangler

    Have keys, bolts, or something else that you want to keep together? Twist ties to the rescue! You can twist them off into a ring to hold everything in one place, whether you're stashing it in a drawer or hanging it on the wall of the tool shed. In addition, those twist tie rings are also handy for keeping papers together; no more losing the last page of your homework.

    6. Stitch holders and markers for knitters

    Stitch holders and markers tend to be expensive, and they also have a habit of wandering off. Twist ties are free, and, honestly, who cares if they go on walkabout as long as they're not in active use? You can color code with them, use them on a variety of needle sizes (unlike some stitch markers, which are too small for many knitting projects), and use them to hold the stitches you're not working with. (This clever tip is from The Secret Yumiverse.)

    7. Ornament security

    If you're hanging holiday ornaments and they keep falling or you want a little extra security because you've got curious cats, a toddler, or a clumsy spouse, use twist ties. Those ornaments won't be going anywhere, and at the end of the season, you can save them for next year.

    8. Tie up bags

    Come on, you know we had to get to this one eventually. Have a bag of frozen produce or something else you're putting in the freezer? Use a twist tie to keep it sealed. Sending bread, cookies, or something along with houseguests as they head out the door? Twist tie. We think you get the idea. As it turns out, twist ties are pretty great at doing what they were designed to do!

    9. Keep your pens together

    If you have a bag or purse that seems to turn into a bottomless pit whenever you need a writing instrument, consider twist ties. You can wrap them around your pens and pencils to turn them into a little block of items that's easy to grab when you need it.

    10. Clean and unjam small appliances

    Whether it's a razor or a toaster, it might not be working at peak efficiency because it's dirty or something's jammed inside. Turn off and unplug the appliance before going on a fishing expedition with a twist tie to clean it out. You may need to jiggle the tie to hook larger items, like a chunk of bread deep in the recesses of the toaster. This trick is also good for picking embedded grime and funk out of your Minneapolis bathroom tile grout.

    Katie Marks writes for Networx.com.

    Updated April 16, 2018.

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