Developer Essentials: Velcro Ties and Grid-It

Like most developers I feel compelled to carry around a cornucopia of cables and computer accessories because, well, “you never know”:

  • Phone cable, check.
  • iPad cable, check.
  • USB cable, check.
  • Mini-USB cable, check.
  • Micro-USB cable, check.
  • Earbuds, check.
  • Headphones, check.
  • HDMI adaptor, check.
  • Network cable, check.
  • Miscellaneous adaptors, check.

And so on. And on.
Until recently, I’d throw them all into the bottom of my rucksack and go. No hassle, until it came to finding the one I actually needed. If it was there at all — if I’d remembered to pack it — I’d then struggle to untangle it from the rat king that skulked in the bottom of that bag.

Thankfully the solution to this disastrous disarray was both simple and inexpensive.

Step 1: Velcro Ties


If you do nothing else to get your cables organised, buy a pack of Velcro Ties. Sold in various widths, they’re actually a single roll of Velcro, the hook and loop fastener, that you cut to length.

Loosely fold your cable and hold it in place by wrapping your Velcro round it (it will stick to itself). Result? No more tangles (TM, probably). For most laptop type cables — USB, etc — I’ve found the 10mm (1/2 inch) width works best. Each cable usually needs a strip about 5cm (2 inches) long. With 5m (15 feet) on a roll, you can sort out a lot of mess.

Step 2: Grid-It

Once your cables are permanently detangled , you’re ready to take it to the next level; the Grid-It.


Grid-It is one of those ideas that just seems so obvious when you use it for the first time. Comprised of a lightweight, firm base (optionally with a small pocket on the back) covered in rubberized elastic bands, it can easily accommodate dozens of cables or small accessories of varying shapes and sizes. Each is held firmly in place and won’t slip out in your bag or backpack.

They come in various sizes but I’ve found the medium (approximately the size of a sheet of A4 / Letter paper) to be more than sufficient for my everyday needs. Now, all I need do is slip my Grid-It into my rucksack and slip it out when I reach my destination.

Just two simple and inexpensive products and you’re organised. Slip on your headphones, sign in to, and relax in the knowledge that your essential cables are exactly where you need them to be and ready to use just when you need them.



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