A tie wrap is a one piece plastic band which has a ratcheting pawl molded into the head, and ratchet teeth molded along most of the length of the wrap. The concept is simple: the tip is looped around itself and inserted into the head, which contains a small ratcheting mechanism which operates on small teeth molded along the length of the wrap. The ratcheting mechanism prevents the band formed by the looped tie wrap from loosening. Tie wraps, like velcro and duct tape, are simple and inexpensisive, yet important inventions. They have been around since the late 1960's, and have made managing wiring a lot easier ever since.

Here are some uses I have found, seen, or heard of for tie wraps:

Managing Electrical Wiring of all kinds
Emergency Radiator Hose clamp
A substitute for handcuffs
Hanging Christmas Decorations
Holding muffin fans in place
Hanging plumbing
Hanging a calendar on a parts cabinet
Holding loose parts on a car
Repair a book binding
Emergency clothing repair
Arts and Crafts

and dozens of other things I have probably forgot

Tie wraps come in a wide variety of sizes, styles, and colors, from small bands a couple of inches long to large ones over two feet long. They can also be linked together to lash something to a larger object. Variations on the basic tie wrap include tie wraps with mounting anchors and labeling tags molded into them, provisions for reusability, and protection from UV. If you are going to use a tie wrap outside, and want it to last for more than a few weeks, choose the UV protected variety, which are black in color. If you are going to be using a lot of tie wraps on a regular basis, it might be a good idea to purchase a tie wrap tool, which automaticaly tightens and trims the end of the tie wrap with a single squeeze. I work on wiring for a living, and this tool is nearly indispensable to me.