2

I need some sort of soft elastic binder to hold closed laptops and books, or bind together things like stacks of DVDs or bundles of pens. Many of these items would be damaged if I wrapped a metal spring or a bungee cord (most have metal hook ends) around them. When I have used rubber bands they tend to break or lose elasticity if used (or even stored) for more than a year.

Storage conditions are indoors (closets or shelves), or garage (slightly worse temps, but never in sunlight)

My highest priorities for the qualities of the binder are:

adjustible/flexibile (allows using on different sized objects)
visibility of items wrapped (to avoid having to label them)
Durability (lasts a couple of years, prefer longer)
re-usability (hand-in-hand with low cost)
economy (low cost is better)

The last three (long lasting, reusable, low cost) are related in that something long lasting and reusable enough can have a higher price for the same value.

7
  • Would you consider something adjustable, flexible, re-useable, inexpensive, easily found, sturdy, reliable, and lasts for many years (verified), or are you settled on some kind of elastic/rubber-like thing(s)? As far as the laptop, some might get or make a protective sleeve to fit it. Gravity usually works well when a suitable position has been found for books unless I'm missing something - Please add necessary detail about the [volatile?] conditions where restraint is beneficial for your belongings. The problem is the desirable characteristics of stretchy compounds you love degrade over time.
    – Stan
    Aug 26 at 1:12
  • You may find different storage hacks for each different kind of object and/or application; tools and related materials stored together or separately, for example. There must be a myriad of storage hacks for computer cables, for another example. Perhaps, like me, you should consider downsizing to your present requirements — use the pens now as they'll dry-up and become useless in storage. I have mouses (mice?) and hubs, etc. that have deteriorated and become unusable in storage. Plastic (a ubiquitous material) becomes brittle, or a sticky gooey mess after its best-before time is up. Use it or…
    – Stan
    Aug 28 at 16:05
  • Does this answer your question? Where can I buy 'rubber bands' that are extremely long-lasting?
    – Stan
    Aug 30 at 14:02
  • I'm voting to close this question as it is another "Rubber Bands that last forever" shopping question where there is never an acceptable alternative.
    – Stan
    Aug 30 at 14:08
  • Book straps might work with the laptop and books, but struggle with DVDs. How did you hold DVDs with rubber bands before? Through the spindle hole, perhaps?
    – Lawrence
    Sep 3 at 6:41
2

A cheaper alternative would be fishing line (of the elastic variety). Depending on the gauge and the tension strength, you can also braid it either with itself or into another fiber for added strength.

1
  • Upvoted your answer. I was unaware fishing line came in an elastic variant and will look for and test this. Sep 8 at 4:43
1

My hack solution is not to use an elastic band, but

  • store the items in a cardboard box of appropriate size

This has the added advantage of protecting them against dust and grime, spiders etc.

Keep any boxes containing a product that you buy. For example, if you buy a TV remote control – there is a box for storing pens. Get a wifi hub – its box can store CDs and DVDs. Etc.


My second hack is to wrap them up as a parcel using one of

  • old newspaper

  • old tea towel

and tie it with string.

5
  • Your two hacks both ignore the 'elastic' part of my question. I already reuse cardboard boxes as in your first hack, but not having unlimited storage space I don't have room to store a bunch of different sized boxes just in case I will need that size. The problem with your second hack is that newspapers or cloth would require me to open the parcel every time I want to to see what is inside. I will edit my question to reflect my desire to be see what I am wrapping. Aug 27 at 3:34
  • 1
    Add a label to the parcel, I thought that was too obvious to mention. You can make them out of old greetings cards, cereal packets etc, so they are free too. When I previously researched long lasting elastic bands, not even military ones seem to last long when under stress and this isn't a shopping site. The actual problem is storage method. As for storing empty boxes, I nest them inside each other, so they take very little space. You can also unseal them, and fold them flat for storage, and re-tape them when needed. Aug 27 at 15:52
  • I do label my boxes, but you are still misunderstanding what I am trying to do. An example use case: I have, say, a large labeled box filled with power, USB, and computer mice in it. I don't want to box and label each and every cord inside the large box and want to easily see what cords are inside without untangling then from each other. Or say I have a large labeled box of backup DVD+R disks and I want to group them into sets of disks but not box and label each set. The normal solution is to use rubber bands, but these break while in storage, leaving me with a mess inside my storage boxes. Aug 27 at 18:03
  • 1
    For some of those items, I use twisted wire/plastic strips, and I keep a reel of the garden version from which I can snip off the required length. For the data DVDs, I keep the original tubs they were supplied in, and use them for storage of the recordings. Aug 27 at 19:44
  • @WeatherVane Thank you for the link to the XY problem. Good call, by the way for recognizing the trap we set for ourselves looking for ways out of the forest we inhabit.
    – Stan
    Aug 28 at 16:16
1

You can cut a ring from a pantyhose and use it as you would use a rubber band. The material is stretchy and you can adjust the length of the band by cutting it from a different portion of the hose (ankle, upper thigh or hip area offer 3 different sizes).

The ring you cut must be at least 1 inch or 2 cm wide, otherwise you risk ripping it. It will curl up and become much slimmer once you stretch it. If the material you want to bind is fragile, cut even wider rings to make the resulting binder wider and softer.

Since the stretch comes from the weave and not from the material, it doesn't deteriorate over time and it doesn't lose elasticity. But you should really pull the ring as wide as possible after cutting it to give it its final size and assess its elasticity.

Source: I use hairbands made of the same material. My current hairband has been in almost daily use for more than 2 years and still has the same elasticity.

1
  • I was going to suggest using elastic hair ties, but you beat me to it. Elastic hair ties seem to last longer than rubber bands (perhaps because they are less exposed to air and light, or maybe they use higher quality elastic than office supply rubber bands?). And when the elastic fails, there’s still the fabric sheath to hold the bound configuration (though more loosely, of course). Sep 5 at 20:49
0

Ultimate "Rubber" Band Hack:

You're looking to acquire Graphene™ infused elastic bands which are made by and available from the world's largest rubber band manufacturer, Alliance Rubber Co., Hot Springs, Ak. US.

The story from ZMEScience.com about the material which is 200X (times) stronger than steel, pound for pound, can be found here

You might find them pricey; but, if your heart is set on one solution and you won't accept another practical lifehack (AKA Plan B); contact them.

Good luck.

0

I have found three possible solutions to this problem.

  1. 'Cable organizing' Velcro strips (with one side hook and the other side fuzzy) can be attached to each other to form long adjustable binders. They lack elasticity, however (see solution 3, below)

  2. Elastic bands can be purchased at fabric stores. If cut to length and sewn together into loops, they become custom sized long lasting replacements for rubber bands.

  3. The best solution is to combine the two above solutions (Velcro with elastic bands). If Velcro patches are sewn onto an elastic band, you then have an adjustable sized elastic strap that sticks to itself, forming a custom sized, reusable elastic loop. This solution requires sewing since it doesn't appear this product is currently on the market. Cost is cheap; I bought 6' (2 meters) Velcro for $2 USD and 9' (3 meters) elastic for $1.5 USD.

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