Hold Your Life Together

With clothespins! (Yes, I decided an exclamation point was in order.)This Works For Me Wednesday tip originated with my mom, who uses snap clothespins to hold together all kinds of things and passed on this useful idea to me.

  • Use them in place of chip clips–roll down the chip bag and clip on a clothespin. Kids find them easy to manipulate.
  • Fold or roll down the inner cereal bag and clip it shut–keeps Cheerios fresher, longer.
  • Same idea with a half-used bag of dried black-eyed peas or split peas–roll and clip to store compactly. I toss those bags of beans into a small plastic bin to store on a kitchen shelf.
  • Sometimes I use only a portion of dry taco seasoning or salad dressing packets. After I extract what I need, I tap the packet on the counter so that the remaining spices drop to the bottom, fold it over and clothespin it shut.
  • Did you toss all your twist-ties in a decluttering frenzy? Twist the bread bag shut and use a clip to keep it tight.
  • Attach notes to things–clip a note card to the side of an in-box, or reminders onto an appointment book.
  • When driving older cars, we used to clip a clothespin to our key in the ignition to remind us to turn off the lights.
  • Clip things to the car’s sun visor–maybe a to-do list or a verse to memorize recorded on a 3×5 card.
  • We use one to hold together the curtains in our pop-up for increased privacy.
  • Clip paper to a child’s easel.
  • Stick one in a purse to entertain a baby or toddler during lag time at restaurants and doctors’ offices. Just clip it onto the edge of your shirt so that the child can pull at it. The pin snaps off and they often think it’s hilarious, at least for a few minutes. To keep the game going, clip it to all kinds of things–the purse strap, their own clothes, the arm of the chair, your finger (if you can stand it–I’m not saying it won’t scrape or pinch)–for some makeshift entertainment.
  • If your child hasn’t already used one to make a recipe card-holder craft, just use a regular old clothespin (sans glitter paint and googly eyes and whatever else they might use to decorate). Clip the card to the edge of a notebook or recipe box for easy viewing while you work.
  • Attach your shopping list to the grocery cart.
  • Okay, here’s a novel idea:  use them to hang up clothes on a line to dry. If your apartment or neighborhood will allow it, try it for a day. You’ll get a little exercise, feel kind of green, dry your clothes for free, and the sun will freshen and disinfect your whites. A friend who isn’t allowed to install a line sets up a portable, folding drying rack on her deck–using clothespins keeps her clothes from blowing off on a windy day. I’ve tied a temporary clothesline to the swingset and over to a tree on the days I decide to hang things and take down the line that evening, though lately I’ve just left it up. We have a tall fence. I hope the neighbors don’t mind.

** Updated bonus ideas**

  • Need to protect clothes in the kitchen and can’t locate an apron? Two clothespins and a kitchen towel–clip the towel to your shirt, or the waistband of your slacks or skirt. Not very stylish, but it serves as a quick fix.
  • Use several to distribute the weight of a sheet to rig up as a curtain for a simple puppet show–clip to the edge of two or three chairs.
  • Clip together several envelopes to be mailed, so that one doesn’t slip away from the stack while jostling on the car seat.
  • Tack a string across a wall and display children’s artwork or photos–like photographers do when they hang their developed and drying prints in the darkroom.

I can’t say clothespins will hold together everything in your life, but they do wonders for tortilla chips and Cocoa Puffs.Please visit Rocks in My Dryer for more great ideas!

My previous Works-For-Me-Wednesday Ideas:Thick and Chewy, Fast and Easy Pizza DoughParenting AdviceA-B-A-B (Always Bring A Book)What Doesn’t Work For MeOutlook for EverythingWorks for My Daughter (tent for a little solitude)21st Century Calling CardsBuying LocallyWorks-for-my-Friend Wednesday (Storage for Hospital Stays)When Life Is Crazy-Busy, Do the Next ThingProjects Contained and PortableCastile Soap for a Simpler Life (and blemish-free face)Post-It Annotation for Library BooksEveryday Mom-Mobile Essentials & Travel NotebooksMoney-Motivated KidsDrawers-by-the-DoorMake the Most of Internet Lag Time Storing Dishes: How Low Can You Go?Crepes? Mais, Oui! Containerize Kids’ LaundryLet It Snow, Let Us Slow (Crockpot Steel-Cut Oatmeal) Family LoveFestJoy of Lifelong Learning–For Free! MP3 Accompanist MP3 Note-taking

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  • Comments

    1. Great tips! I have this idea written down for a future WFMW post as well. Great minds think alike!

      I even take clothespins and a short line with me on vacation. With little kids, I often have to hand-wash items and hang them to dry.

    2. Wow…great list. I love clothespins and keep them handy for the chip clip use…thanks for the other uses!

    3. I use clothespins all the time. But you’ve given me even more ways to use them!

    4. Wonderful list and a great reminder to look for creative ways to use everyday items. Thanks for sharing!

    5. This is a great list of ideas! Thanks for your post.

    6. Thanks for your comments, folks! Feel free to post more ideas in the comments, too.

      Heather L.: The line could be very short, couldn’t it? Just enough to tie across the bathroom in a hotel room, I suppose. Most of our vacations are camping, so we take a long clothesline and hang up everything, but for hotel vacations a little line and a few pins stored in a baggie and stuffed along the side of a suitcase could solve a lot of situations that might require handwashing. And when traveling with kids, it seems that there are *many* situations requiring handwashing!

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    1. [...] Hold Your Life Together (creative clothespin uses) [...]

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