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?