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From the Tips Box: Headphone Storage, Classy Charging Stations, DIY Reusable Zip Ties

Tips-How-To-Geek-TemplateIt’s that tips-sharing time of week again; this week we’re looking at easy headphone storage, classy DIY charging stations, and DIY reusable zip ties.

Pill Bottle Earbud Storage

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Murphy writes in with this simple tip for storing your earbuds:

I saw the Ask How-To Geek from earlier this week about tangle-free headphone storage. I keep my earbuds in an old pill bottle. It’s sturdy (no worries about crushing your earbuds), won’t open accidently in your bag (no headphones falling out or crud getting in), and easy to find (it’s bright orange!).

I originally found the trick here and have added my own little twist to it. When I go to put the earbuds away I stick out the index and middle finger on my left hand (like you would if you were making a “finger gun”). I place the earbud stems in between the two fingers like a chopstick hold and then I loosely wrap the cord around my two fingers wrapping up towards my hand. I leave an inch or two of cord on the headphone jack end and then I slide the whole thing right off my finger into the pill bottle. The earbuds end up at the bottom of the bottom, the loose coil is inside, and then headphone jack rests lightly on top. When it comes time to pull everything out it’s totally tangle free and ready to go.

Clever combination of a sturdy container and a solid wrapping technique. Thanks for sharing!

Classy DIY Charging Station

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Greg writes in with a tip off on a good looking charging station:

This might make a great Tips or Weekend Project post. I recently got sick of having all my small electronics strewn all over my desk but I didn’t want to spend $30-50 on a charging station (nor spend $5 making a crappy looking DIY model). I dug up a  bookmark for a tutorial I found years ago online where a guy turned a faux-vintage box from a craft store into a sweet charging station. I’m in the process of following the tutorial and turning one of those boxes shaped like a stack of books ($2 garage sale find!) into a charging station. The only thing I’m doing differently than his tutorial is I’m skipping the use of foam insulation as a platform support. I have no idea why the guy didn’t just glue a couple square dowels to the inside of the box to support the fake bottom. The dowel solution traps less heat and is less of a pain in the butt to install.

Send us pictures when you’re done, Greg!

Instant Reusable Zip Ties

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Victoria writes in with the following tip on reusing zip ties:

I was at the hardware store the other day and they had reusable zip ties… that cost 300% more than the regular zip ties! Sure they’re reusable and all but that seems like a bit of a rip off considering they’re all the same tiny pieces of plastic. I went home and started messing around with the zip ties I already had. It turns out if you insert the zip tie band backwards the tie holds but you can unzip it with a little tug. The normal way to insert the band is to put the tip in on the flat side of the locking mechanism. If you flip it around and slide the protruding side of the mechanism (the “bump” sticking up in the top line drawing) you should be able to wiggle the zip tie and “unlock” it when you need to. Make sure to test this out with your particular brand before zip tying a bunch of stuff!

This is certainly a superior solution to paying a massive markup. Thanks for writing in!


Have a tip to share? Shoot us an email at tips@howtogeek.com and you just might see your tip on the front page!

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/25/11

Comments (4)

  1. William Knight

    A little extra on the ear phone in the pill bottle, if you have a friend who has diabetes and uses test strips the containers are about the same size but moister proff and pretty well unbreakable. This is what I use now if I could just stop forgetting were I put them

  2. sVen

    I use an aluminum, twist top, film canister. Works great.

  3. 54

    inserting a exacto knife into the head of the zip-Tie and ply the tap lose to unlock it works for me.

  4. Robert

    Or if an exacto knife slipping into your fingers concerns you, try a small jeweler’s screwdriver (usually available by the set at “dollar” stores for a dollar. No home should be without a set anyway.

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