Bethany's amazing list of clothespin uses is like the Energizer Bunny: it keeps going and going (but without the God-awful cymbals). AND the "bag of clothespins as baby shower gift" is a pretty great hack in and of itself. Brava, Bethany! Behold:
For years I've had a tradition of giving clothespins as a gift for baby showers, housewarmings, and even bridal showers. I paint wooden spring clip clothes pins and seal them with a few coats of varnish (making sure they can still be opened and closed), then put them in a pretty cloth bag and attach a list of uses I've accumulated over the years. Every time I give the clothes pins, I invite the recipient to tell me of any new ways s/he uses them, and add it to the list for the next recipient.
Here's the many ways I and my friends have come up with as uses for the humble clothespin:
Laundry stain reminder. Keep a bag of clothespins in the laundry room. When you have an item that needs special attention before it’s washed, clip a clothespin to it. That way, if you forget, you’ll be reminded as you start to put it in the washer.
Keep blankets in place on a stroller. Use clothespins to clip blankets to the stroller’s sun shade when the shade itself is not enough to block the sun or wind.
Hold a tablecloth in place on a picnic table. Clip the sides of the tablecloth together under the table and it won’t blow off in the wind.
Clip dirty clothes bag to diaper bag. Sometimes when I need to change my son’s clothes, I don’t want to put the dirty things back into the diaper bag. I put them in plastic bag and clip the plastic bag to the diaper bag handle with a clothespin or two so it doesn’t get lost/forgotten.
Magnets for important notes on the fridge. We hot glued magnets to the backs of a few clothespins, then wrote on them with permanent marker: “babysitter”, “pet sitter”, “shopping”, “emergency” “to do”. We then clipped notes in the magnets for each area – ie. “shopping” held coupons, relevant ads & grocery list; “emergency” held a print out of important phone numbers and photocopies of insurance cards; etc.
Keep fingers from getting burned. If you put a match into a spring-type clothespin to light charcoal, candles, fireplaces, etc. you’ll have a little more safety distance between your fingers and the fire. [*FOREHEAD SMACK OF BRILLIANCE* — Ed.]
Ensure your privacy. Carry a few clothespins when traveling. If you get a hotel room with drapes that don’t quite meet, just pull the edges together and clip them. You’ll keep out any distracting outside light as well as unwanted peepers.
Cord sorters. Label clothespins with permanent marker “TV”, “DVR”, “DVD”, “Stereo”, “Phone”, etc. and use them to identify which cords go to which appliance. Sometimes they can also work to tidy up extra loops of cord if there isn’t too much extra.
Make handy holders. Attach a row of clip clothespins to a closet wall with a glue gun. They make convenient holders for scarves and gloves.
Use all your toothpaste. It’s frustrating to throw away a tube of toothpaste when you know there’s more inside. A clothespin can help hold the back of the tube flat as you use up what’s left in the front of the tube.
Keep snacks fresh. Clothespins are perfect for reclosing bags of potato chips, crackers, cookies, etc.
Don ’t cross your wires. If you change your own spark plugs, you might get confused about which wires go to which spark plug. You can fix that by writing numbers on wooden clothespins with a marker and clipping one to each wire.
Gardening helper. If you want to encourage the branches of your young fruit trees to spread out, clip a couple of spring-type clothespins together, and wedge them into the fork formed by the branch and the trunk.
I use the pins to secure the plastic garbage bag in my trash can. I hate it when the bag falls into the trash can and I have to pull it up over and over again. The clothes pins do a great job of securing the trash bag so when you throw something heavy into the can, the bag will stay secure to the edges of the trash can.
I put a wooden clothes pin on my softener sheet before throwing it into the dryer – that way when I remove the clothes from the dryer, I can easily locate the dryer sheet and toss it back into the next load. Good way to use those sheets until completely devoid of fragrance and static guard.
Keep in the closet to put on the shoulders of dresses that keep slipping, pants that fall off the pants hangers, or matching skirt outfits. Cheaper than getting the specialized hangers.
I use clothes pins to hold my mail on the mailbox awaiting the mail carrier.
Sorting and keeping together similar paperwork in preparation for filing. The clothespin at one edge makes it easy to locate the clipped papers.
Keeping my bank ATM card and deposit envelope together in the car on the way to the bank. Keeps them visible so I don't forget to make that stop!
Clipping outgoing mail on the outer rim of the totebag I carry to work so I can remember to put the envelopes in the mailbox.
Keeping articles to be mailed to friends separate — I write their names on individual clothespins — they stick up from my desktop file so I can find them easily when I want to make an addition to the collection or mail them all off.
Hanging large or heavy holiday cards from a cord in a window or against a wall.
As a "reminder" of something; clip to your purse to remember dry cleaning, dr.'s appt., etc. Clip to child's backpack/clothing to remember to give teacher a note, etc. Or, write a reminder on a bright piece of paper and clip it in a conspicuous place.
Decorate as a reindeer/other holiday item and clip to Christmas tree
Use as a bookmark (clip to page)
Hot-glue to wooden photo frame to hold extra pictures/other items related to the picture in the frame
Use as plant markers (clip to small, round dowel and poke dowel into dirt)
Use them on a wire hanger to keep ties or scarves in place. Drape up to 4 ties across the bottom of a wire hanger and clip each tie in place with a clothes pin.
Paint two wooden clothes pins in a color that coordinates with your curtains, and then nail them (one on each side of the curtains) in to the wall. Use them as curtain tie backs.
Close frozen vegetable bags in the freezer after opening
Clip rain boots together for storing in a common closet at school
Clip mittens or gloves in pairs.
Anchor a hanger to a cup hook outside to dry an item without the wind blowing the hanger to the ground.
Clip key ring to a bag as reminder to take it for delivery when running errands.
Clip reminder note onto placemat to remind family member of a task or just to deliver a message without it being whisked off the table by a quick breeze.
Use to hold songbook open on the keyboard book rack.
Clip a kitchen towel to your skirt waistband as a quick apron.
Use as small clamps when doing craft projects or repairs
Use to clip a napkin or towel to a child's shirt for a quick bib or art smock
Cover a wet paintbrush: Wrap wet bristles of a small paintbrush in plastic when taking a break. Clip plastic to the handle with a clip to seal.
Clip one to the edge of a saucepan to allow steam to escape around the lid reducing boil over mess.
What? It's over? No! There must be MORE ways to use a clothespin! Parenthackers, what would you add to Bethany's list?
Related: Clothespin keeps onesie flaps from dropping into the toilet
I plan to make a board and glue a few clothes pins to it and label it for my daughters’ belts. I’ll hang it in their room near their closet.
Also, in the laundry room, I’m going to hang a clothes line on the wall for socks that have lost their mates. You just use clothes pins to pin the lone socks on the line. That way, it’s easy to find them when the rogue sock turns up.
My friend has a clothes line near her dining room table where she uses clothes pins to hang her kids’ art work. It’s at their level so they can change the art work out themselves. I want to do that in our craft room.
TOYS! you’d be surprised what kids can do with these. they build awesome stuff with them.
Everyone in our family gets a clothespin with their name sharpied on it. We clip them to our respective bath towels. That way we can tell used towels apart on the drying rack.
If you re-use towels for morning showers or evening baths, use labeled clothespins to tell your towel from hubby’s. Especially handy when towels are the same colour, or on the day when you grab new towels (and might forget which one was yours…)
megan and melanie must jinx and buy each other a coke
My mom would keep one on the sun visor of her car. Then when turning on the headlights during day time, clip it to her keys so she didn’t forget to turn off the lights. Not as relevant for today’s modern car but perhaps helpful to someone with an antique or as a way to remember something else in while in the car.
Tasha Purington says
A wooden clothespin is a must-have for making “eggs in a bag”. Break eggs into a freezer-strength sandwich bag. Carefully squeeze all air out of bag, seal, then rest bottom of bag in a pot of boiling water. Fold top of bag over edge of pot and secure with clothespin. Makes moist scrambled eggs, never burned or dried out. AWESOME for omelets. Great for easy mess-free poached eggs. I’ve done this for just a few people and also for large crowds. For a large group (like my family of 7 or my Girl Scout troop), simply attach the bags onto the pot like a clock, starting with 12 and keep adding bags clockwise until you’re back at 12 o’clock again. Assign each person their time. For scrambled eggs/ omelets, use tongs to gently squeeze egg mixture through the bag.
Similar to Dorothy’s comment, I have a simple piece of twine strung up on the wall over my 6yo’s desk with several clothespins clipped to it for hanging her art work. It looks fancy but cost pennies and is easy enough for her to manipulate herself.
I love the laundry stain idea in the post – I’m going to clip some to my children’s hampers right away!
String them on some yarn and clip heavy duty letters (I just got a bunch of punch out bulletin board letters and numbers at target for $2) Ask your kids, “what letter does your name begin with” “Find the letter C” or spell words once they are able:)
They can pull the letters out of the clip:)
use as bobbins for intarsia knitting: http://www.sweaterscapes.com/intars.htm
Suzanne Christian says
springing from Kari’s note: use a clip to your keys when your child is in a carseat as a fail-safe way to make sure you never forget. (we’ve all heard the horror story of a child left in a hot/cold vehicle.)
Use clothespins to hold sheets onto furniture while making play forts with the kiddos.
My four yr old clips one onto an old DVD and wanders around saying “SPACE…the final frontier” It really does look like the enterprise!
Darryl Papa-sensei says
I use them when I have wet clothes that I’d like to dry outside on a line. Just drape the clothes over the line and clip one or two pins on top.
Asha Dornfest says
VERY FUNNY, DARRYL.
We used them as a computer time reward system. Numbered 1-20 on a string, bad behaviour would get on flipped over (lost a minute of computer time), good behaviour got one added on (an extra minute of computer time). Worked really well for our numbers oriented and competitive boys (who had the most number of minutes left at the end of the day…) A good visual reminder of consequences and rewards.
They are fabulous for working on fine-motor skills with little kids. They can pick up all kinds of things and transfer them to another spot. Sounds boring, but they really love doing it. A favorite is sorting out pom-poms by size or color. Tweezers are also awesome for this!
We used to do this as well but at a recent scout camping trip, I got scolded because plastic bags contain BPA, which is released by heat. So we won’t be doing that anymore. I’m not buying into the whole BPA hype personally, nor do I know if they even contain BPA, but those who are concerned might want to look into this before feeding lil’ ones.
I never seem to have enough hangers with clamps so I use clothespins to hang my skirts on the regular hangers.
Tina @ AboutOne says
Wow this is awesome! I like using them to hang up their artwork 🙂
Valentina@baby quilts says
Clothespins help me in my gardening. Whenever I plant new plants or seeds I clamp the care intstructions with clothespins and stick them in the ground, so I know what’s what.
When my kid was a tiny baby, I would use plastic clothespins to attach the pants to the tops on the hanger – thus making the matching of baby outfits daddy proof. Worked great.
And of course, I use them to line dry my clothes, too!
We use them every Thanksgiving at my in-laws’ to help with towel identification, like Megan and Melanie suggested above. (At home, I am She Who Loves Assigned Hooks, so that isn’t an issue.) When there are *13* guests in a house (lots of grandkids, yay!), there are a ZILLION towels in the guest bathrooms, and years ago we added names to clothespins to clip onto the towels; they live in a drawer next to the sink when we’re not there, and clips get added for new little additions and new in-laws all the time!
BTW, you can also cheat in your own guest bath if you buy towel sets that “blend” but don’t match; when my parents visit, for example, I put out one stack of light green bath towel/hand towel/washcloth and another in a pale yellow. They don’t need to match each other, *really* — they live under the sink, and good heavens, your guests will think you’re so clever and won’t care that they aren’t the same color!
We clip diaper covers that belong to dresses onto the hangers for the same reason — we always have the ones that match handy and also “Daddy-proof” this part of getting our little girl dressed!!
Count down to a special day. Each clothespin gets a day written on it. Clip to a ribbon. Take one down after the day is over.