50 Uses of the Clothespin in Daily Life

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Housework, my mother always tells me, is harder than it looks. Considered therapeutic by some ( I happen to disagree vehemently), it can be laborious and often banal. Needless to say, I do not enjoy it. But as is the case with tasks that one has to perform, I have yet to find a way to escape.

In the meantime, I have contented myself with ways to make the work more fun. And as you will soon realise upon perusing this article, finding out different uses for a particular household item is rather exciting.

My particular favourite has to do with the week I researched and implemented alternative uses of a clothespin- a household article I had earlier dismissed as very singular in function.

I was surprised, however, by the multifunctionality these humble devices possess- seemingly innocuous as they might seem. We know of them as the trusty helpers who keep the laundry in place, but they are so much more.

In the interest of helping those similarly crippled by an inability to enjoy housework, I shall share with you a list of 50 different uses of the clothespin. It might not serve you as well as it did me, but I am hopeful.

1. Makeshift Scarf Display

If you have a penchant for scarves and want an easy display that you can change up according to your moods, clothespins are the way to go!

Hang the scarves vertically on a hanger and secure them with the help of clothespins. You could even tie them into little knots if you want a more dressed-up display.

Pro Tip: If possible, have the pins be of the same colour for uniformity.

2. Staple Replacement

What do you do when you have a big sheaf of papers you need to keep together, and you’re out of staples?

Wring your hands? No.

Use a spare clothespin to secure the stack, until you can staple them.

Clothespins also work well for larger sheaves of thick paper.

3. Keep Your Kitchen Towels in One Place

Kitchen towels, I’ll have you know, are very easily misplaced. Keep your kitchen towels in one place by pinning them together from a hook or a knob.

If you have separate categories for the towels you use, you can use different coloured pins or even label them for greater convenience.

4. Keep the Fingers from Fire

If you love candles as much as I do, you’ve probably had quite a few near misses. It is especially treacherous when the space between the candle and the glass container tends to be narrow.

Use a clothespin to hold the match when you light the candle. 

5. To Hold a Nail While Wielding the Hammer

This one, I believe, is for everyone, regardless of their skills with the toolbox. Holding a nail in place with a clothespin changes a lot, especially the grip which happens to be quite shaky when you hold the nail with just your fingers. And of course, it prevents your fingers from getting accidentally bludgeoned.

6. Cord Management

How many hours do we spend, on average, untangling cords every year? Too many.

This is one of my favourite clothespin hacks- keeping the cords in different bundles, coiled and secured with the pins. Not only does it save precious man-hours, it has a remarkable effect on the conscience.

7. Thread/yarn Organiser

A very simple and convenient trick, you can sort your threads or yarns with the help of clothespins. 

Pro Tip: Use small clothespins to avoid snagging delicate threads.

8. Bookmark

Decidedly unfashionable, yet very useful. A clothespin admirably does the job of a bookmark, and as an added bonus, holds down flyaway pages of those hefty volumes you’re too tired to hold up.

9. DIY Photo Frame

Now, this one I’ve tried and tested, and can vouch for. Clothespins, make for inexpensive and handy photo frames, when the real thing is not to be found. 

You can paint the pins according to preference to lend the photo it holds a more personal touch.

10. Use a Clothespin as a Bag Clip

A great chip clip, a clothespin functions as a seal for almost all plastic packaging of varying sizes and thicknesses. 

11. Secure Your Drapes

For that slight chink in the curtains that persistently wakes you, a clothespin can come to the rescue. Clip the edges of the rogue curtain with the pin, and enjoy an uninterrupted siesta during a sunny afternoon.

12. Keep Your Bills and/or Lists Separate 

If you are like me and cannot go places without your “big bag of stuff”, you know how inconvenient it is to fish for change or a particular receipt. Use a clothespin to clip your shopping list to a corner, or keep a stack of change separate.

13. DIY Pencil Holder

If you’re arty and have a lot of spare clothes clips lying around, it might be time to put them to use. Glue them to the outer walls of an old can and decorate as per preference.

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Pro Tip: Use holographic tape on the clothespins and you’ll have yourself a brand-new, holo pencil cup.

14. Photo String

Save your wall damage and install a photo string in your room instead. All you require is a length of wire, a few clothespins and our favourite photos.

Space the photos how you like and add fairy lights for extra glitz.

15. Storage Shelves

Whether in the kitchen or in the attic, extra storage is not needed. Build yourself a storage shelf and use the clothespins to hang recipes, aprons and gloves.

16. Desk Calendar

Both useful and a fun DIY project, make yourself a desk calendar with the help of some cardboard, coloured pens and of course, a clothespin. 

17. To-Do List

A to-do list is helpful, whether for the office or simply tacked up to the side of your window frame or cupboard door. And while it might seem like a drag to jot down your daily chores, keeping a wad of notepaper stuck with the help of a clothespin in your eye of sight might help you make this a habit.

18. Foam Brush

Another ingenious DIY project, foam brushes are deceptively simple to manufacture. All you need are a few sturdy clothespins and a quantity of leftover packing material, according to requirement. 

A few strategic cinches, and voila, you have yourself some perfectly usable foam brushes.

19. Christmas Ornaments

It is very easy to fashion Christmas ornaments out of clothespins, especially snowflakes.

All you require is a length of string, some uniformly sized clothespins and some lights for that Christmas cheer!

Check out this tutorial.

20. Card Holder

Clothespins, when suitably painted, can make for very attractive cardholders. You can put this to the test in your home office, or at an outdoor event with the pins holding up place cards.

Pro Tip: Use wooden clips as a more sustainable choice.

21. Towel Holder

Rarely does the towel stay on the hook in my home. One good yank, and it’s down on the wet bathroom floor.

Use a clothespin to secure your towels. Even though it might not seem necessary at first, it enables the user to wipe their hands or face without the fear of displacing the towel from its perch.

22. Hair Clip

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I realised that only too well last month when I was hiking on a particularly treacherous trail and my hair tie snapped. In the absence of any other article that could keep my hair out of my face, I had to resort to using a clothespin that was lying around.

I was surprised at the results ( they are sturdy and rarely budge) and even though I wouldn’t hail it a fashion discovery, it does do the job.

23. Necklace Holder

Another cheap and effective way to organise your accessories, clothespins can be used to hang necklaces on either a board or just to the inside of a bathroom cabinet or cupboard.

24. Tablecloth Clamp

If you love hosting outdoor parties, you know that a windy day can be a potential cause of stress. Reason? Flyaway tablecloths.

Here’s an easy way to combat the problem, get the clothespins you have lying around the house and secure the edges of the cloth to the table.

25. Sock Organiser

It is often the little things in our closets that lead to the inexplicable mess. Keep your socks and gloves separate from your clothes by hanging them around the insides of your closets, with the help of clothespins.

26. Use Every Bit of the Toothpaste

A handy little trick my aunt taught me, you can use a clothespin to squeeze out that last remaining bit at the bottom of the toothpaste tube that just refuses to budge.

It also works adequately well for lotions and sauce pouches.

27. Secure Your Trash Bags

Trash bag disposal often goes awry, with all your junk spilling out at the last second. A simple and convenient way to ensure your trash doesn’t burst forth in a fountain of stench is to seal the opening of the bag with a clothespin.

28. Keep Your Catalogues/mail in Place

Already a thing of the past, there’s occasionally some good mail you want to keep.

For the items that belong to this category ( think journals and magazines), use a clothespin to keep them together so you remember to not dump them in the recycling bin the next time you’re taking your paper-based trash out.

29. Label Your Plants

Some people love itineraries and guides, some don’t. Even though I happen to fall in the latter category, there’s something appealing about a row of carefully planted shrubs and flowers, each with their individual Latin name on a different coloured clothespin.

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Both functional and sustainable, this hack is a surefire hit among gardeners.

30. Shoe Organiser

No matter how large your shoe shelf might be, shoes have a tendency to lie prone on the shelves, in odd pairs.

A simple and effective way( especially in case you have young children at home), is to clip these offending pairs of footwear with clothespins. They are held together in place and are easier to locate.

31. Hang Your Hamper 

We are all acquainted with the dread “Chair”. It is that one chair in the bedroom piled high with discarded articles of clothing, that often take the shape of a monstrous spectre in the dark.

The way to avoid the “Chair” is simple and requires you to keep your hamper where you can see it. And instead of tossing it inelegantly in a corner where it will eventually be buried under the heap of clothes, it is wiser to hang it where you can see it- whether on the cupboard door or a corner hook. Secure the ends with the clothespin to avoid the contents from spilling out.

 32. Tie Storage

If you’re a wearer of ties, then you know that they are annoyingly slick and tend to slide off hangers. If you don’t have the storage ( preferably a drawer), fret not. Use a clothespin to make sure your ties don’t fall off.

33. Makeshift Apron

We aren’t all accomplished cooks with patterned aprons. But the one thing every kitchen has, in abundance some might say, are extra kitchen towels.

Fashion an apron out of one by pinning one to your outfit. Courtesy? A clothespin!

34. Hanging Decorations

It is sometimes the little things that end up attracting attention. Handmade decorations are not only a fun way to pass the time, but when done right, they can significantly increase the charm of a home.

In the interest of the above philosophy, make your own decorations on a lazy Sunday. 

Festoons of handmade paper, wind chimes made of shells, or colourful origami cranes- there is a wide variety to choose from.

Hang them up in the garden or by your window with the help of a clothes clip.

35. Don’t Let the Milk Boil Over

It is easy to get distracted while you cook, and equally easy to gauge wrongly the time needed for a food item to be cooked. How many times have we smelled burning milk, and rushed over, to find the pot overflowing?

An easy way to prevent future mishaps is to simply attach a clothespin to the edge of the pot. It creates a space between the pot and its lid and provides an outlet for the steam to escape.

36. Make Your Own Planter

A fun little DIY project for your weekend, make your own planters out of spare clothes clips. Glue them together in your desired shape and fill it with the soil and seeds of your choice.

Pro Tip: Washi tape is a convenient way to make the clips look more festive and distinctive.

37. DIY Soap Case

Sustainability and recycling are the watchwords for the new decade. And once you think about it, it is very easy to make little changes around the home that make your living environment a tad more eco-friendly.

One innovative way to achieve this is to fashion a soap dish out of some cardboard and some wooden clothespins. You can also use the same materials to build a toothbrush holder or a shampoo jar. For more durability, use a metal-plated surface to avoid soggy soap.

38. Air Drying

For those items of clothing that you wish to dry separately or just want to keep out of the dryer, clothespins are a gift from the Gods. Find a sunny spot in your terrace and clip your clothing. Watch them dry in no time.

39. Cotton Ball/Cotton Bud Painting

Creating abstract art with cotton balls is decidedly fun, and decidedly messy. No more than 2 minutes pass before you realise the cotton ball is drenched, and your fingers are uncomfortably sticky.

Prevent this by holding the cotton with a clothes clip.

40. Earphone Holder

Oh, the agony of untangling earphones every day. No matter how carefully you coil them, they somehow end up resembling a congealed mass of spaghetti. 

However, there is a way around this and it is easy as clipping your earphones together with a spare clothespin. Not only does it save some serious time, but it also ensures your earphone function better for longer.

41. Phone Holder

You ever watch something on your phone and are too lazy to hold it still? Fashion yourself a DIY phone holder with a few clothespins.

You will need 4 clothespins, preferably of comparable sizes. Use two as clamps for the other two, their bases forming the foundation on a horizontal surface. Place the phone between the top ends of the pins. You can even tape a piece of board or wood for additional support.

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42. Fridge Magnets

For everyone who wished they had fridge magnets they could customise, this one’s for you. All you need is a magnet and a hot glue gun or magnet tape. (You can make many crafts using glue gun)

Create cut-outs of your desired image or fashion a figurine of sorts with a material of your choosing. Stick to your fridge. Who knew a clothespin could do so much?

43. Air Freshener

This one is another personal favourite. Did you know you could fashion an air freshener out of a wooden clothespin and a vial of your favourite essential oil or fragrance? Well, you can.

Spray the fragrance of your choice onto the clothes clip and pin it to the AC vent in your car and have the interiors smelling great in no time. You can also add a couple more, playing up other scents as well. You can also use this in your home. It is inexpensive and effective, just as if not more than an actual air freshener.

44. DIY Scissors

This one takes some care and precaution, but consists of three very simple steps.

1. Remove the blade from a spare pencil sharpener. Make sure it is not rusty or jagged.

2. Place the blade on the edge of the part of the pin that is responsible for the grip.

3. Use a screw( you can use the one in the sharpener), fasten the blade to the pin using a screwdriver.

And lo and behold, you have just successfully DIY-ed a pair of scissors. The best part? You can make scissors of varying sizes and dimensions.

45. Clothespin Chopsticks

I do not know about you, but I have had my fair share of trouble with chopsticks. And even though I can manage a good bite of pasta or noodles once in a while, the task is too laborious to be enjoyable and invariably leads to me abandon the chopsticks in favour of a fork and spoon. That is until I discovered that my clothespin had gourmet applications as well.

Not the most elegant cutlery you can think of, clothes pins function adequately as chopsticks. The natural clamping mechanism saves one the trouble of having to manoeuvre their fingers every time they wish to eat, and the solid grip prevents the noodles from slithering out.

46. Battle Your Migraines

This is that one trick that has been passed down by generations, usually subject to much scoffing but adopted when there seems to be no respite.

Migraines are painful headaches that resurface and lead to nausea, dizziness and diminished eyesight. Placing a clothespin between the thumb and the index finger is rumoured to get rid of migraines. Worth a try, I’d say.

47. Bag Your Vegetables

The vegetable drawer in fridges is often in the danger of getting overcrowded. And rummaging for single chilli or pepper in the seemingly bottomless pile of vegetables becomes a stretch.

Avoid this by bagging your vegetables and securing them with clothes clips. Categorize according to colour or classification ( root, nightshade) and keep your fridge tidy.

48. An amateur Candle-maker’s Tool

Candle making is something I tried out first when I was nine and was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was. The only part that requires precision is making sure the wick stays upright when you’re pouring the molten wax into the mould.

This is where a clothespin comes to the rescue. Use it to clamp the wick, and ensure that it stays upright.

Another use of a clothes clip in the same context would be to fashion a candle mould out of a few of them an empty can or jar.

49. Baking Aid

Use clothes clips to hold the parchment paper in place while baking in absence of baking beads. Is similarly applicable for wax paper.

50. Use It To Hold Down Drawing Sheets

The last of the list and the one I’ve used several times is the implementation of clothespins to hold down drawing sheets. Very effective, they can be used down to clamp down the edges of said sheet to a drawing board before one proceeds with painting. Repositioning and adjustments can also be performed with ease.

And with that, we come to the end of our rather long list of how one can use clothespins for functions other than laundry. Our homes are vastly versatile, as are the little contraptions in it- objects we use but barely think about. But as can be seen from reading the above, even a clothes clip is useful, and in ways never imagined. 

Now that you know 50 different uses for them, I suggest you set about putting them to good use!