Pro Tips: Everything in Its Place

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First Place Tie

Open Carefully 

Ryan Richards

When opening a bag of cable ties, I use a knife to cut a line in the middle running in the same direction as the cable ties rather than cutting the top off the bag. (Use a piece of duct tape to help reinforce the bag.) Then I can just pull out the ties I need, and the rest stay all together in the bag for future use instead of all over the floor. This helps keep the work site clean, and I don’t have disorganized and loose cable ties that I need to pick up.

--Ryan Richards
Oregon City, Ore.

Perfectly Spaced

When drilling a blank panel, trough or large pullbox for BX or EMT connectors, use a piece of strut as a template for the spacing to make the necessary drilling locations. This will help you guide your drilling, so you don’t make mistakes or unnecessary holes. The 1- to 11/2-inch center-to-center spacing makes for neat and accurate measurements.

--Paul Romanelli
Massapequa Park, N.Y.

Oldie but goodie

Grab bag

Instead of stuffing my pockets and toolbelt every time I need to work in a small space, I keep a little bag filled with tools and parts I might need. I can hook the bag to a belt loop with a carabiner.
It makes it easier to do the crawl and speeds up the job. 

--Carl Eckhold
Monmouth, Ore.

Idea Igniter

Let’s Get Organized

How do you organize your tool belt to speed up work and reduce frustration? Many tools appear the same when looking down, and it can be frustrating to grab every tool except the one you need.

Share your strategies with us!


Share ideas that have saved you time or money on the job with readers of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. Your fellow electrical professionals would like to hear about them. Be sure to include a good photo of your idea if you can; hand-drawn sketches may be hard to interpret. Note that some similar ideas are sometimes submitted by more than one person. In these cases, the one that is more clearly written and includes a photo is given precedence. 

Each published author in Pro Tips receives a $50 Lowe’s gift card. In addition, the first-place winner will receive a $100 Lowe’s gift card. 

Use the online submission tool at to send your tip and photo, or email it to or send a letter and photo to Pro Tips Editor, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR, 3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 1100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5372.

DISCLAIMER: The ideas presented in this article are for consideration only. Neither ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR nor Lowe’s, Inc. assumes any liability from your use of these or any other ideas. 


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