8 things you can do with clothespins

Using Clothespins Creatively

by Mary Moss

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I'm always looking for low tech, low cost ways to teach important concepts to children, to decorate my house, and generally make my life a little easier. That's why I just love clothespins. Clothespins are one of the most versatile and inexpensive inventions ever made! I recently purchased a package of twenty clothespins at my local dollar store. That places clothespins in the low cost category.

Refrigerator Magnet

This is so easy to make. Just attach a small magnet to the back of a clothespin and stick it up on the front of the refrigerator. Craft stores have magnets in all shapes and sizes. Some of the magnets are backed with glue and you can just peel and stick one to the back of the clothespin. You can also hot glue a small magnet strip to the clothespin. If you desire, you can paint the clothespin to match your kitchen decor. Use the clothespin magnet to hold your grocery list. As you run out of items, add them to the list and even other family members can help keep the list updated. (OK, that might be a stretch!)

Hang Pictures and Artwork in Children's Rooms

Young children and thumbtacks just don't go together in my book. A great way to adapt a bulletin board for children's rooms involves clothespins. Clothespins can be used in a couple of ways in this context. If your child has a traditional bulletin board on the wall of their room, glue several clothespins directly to the bulletin board. Children can handle pressing on a clothespin much more easily than thumb tacks. Also, clothespins are safer for young children to use.

Chip Clip

Yes, those plastic "chip clips" you see in all the stores are cute. They are available in all sizes and colors and shapes. Let's be honest, though. Does anybody really see those clips? Aren't they in the cabinet on a bag of chips? Wooden clothespins work just as well, and they don't break! Clothespins are more heavy duty than those plastic clips. Clothespins can also be used to seal up cereal bags and snack items. I use clothespins to keep big bags of frozen vegetables sealed up in my freezer.

Hang Photos, Store Coupons, etc.

In our kitchen, we have a huge bulletin board (our family information center) painted the same color as our kitchen walls. To make our information center more flexible and establish some sort of order to the information, I used clothespins and grosgrain ribbon. I ran several lengths of ribbon the length of the bulletin board, and also from top to bottom. Then I attached clothespins to the strips of ribbon. Now we can hang family photos, keep stamps handy, and arrange information easily and efficiently by simply moving the clothespins around.

The bulletin board looks great and the clothespins don't make those tiny holes. If you really want to go to the next level, the bulletin board could be covered with fabric, attached using a staple gun around the edges. Then attach the ribbons. This clothespin ribbon idea could be used on a bulletin in any room. Let your creativity really kick in!

More Clothespins in the Kitchen

Glue clothespins to the inside of your kitchen cabinets about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom. Use the clothespins to attach recipes cards so cooking instructions are handy and off the counter. The clothespins installed on the inside of the cabinet can also store potholders or small kitchen tools that are always getting lost in the junk drawer. You could even clip a pen to the clothespin, so you'd always know where you could find it!

Clothespins in Your Car

Clothespins are even useful in your car. I use clothespins to attach driving directions to my visor. That way the paper doesn't fly off the seat or dashboard every time I stop the car. Clothespins are also handy for keeping fast food coupons together. Clip those coupons in the clothespin and stash the clothespin in your glove box.

Clothespins as Household Tools

Clothespins are so versatile and handy! They're great to use for art projects, especially for children. Hands don't get messy when you attach a clothespin to a cotton ball or small sponge. Dip the cotton ball or sponge into paint and create artwork without painting hands.

Clothespins are also great for retrieving small items from under or behind furniture. Clothespins extend your reach that extra few inches you need to reach items kicked under the couch, just beyond the end of your fingertips.

Clothespins as an Educational Tool

Yes, you read correctly, an educational tool! Children can be taught to sort socks and then attach a clothespin to the matched socks to keep the pair together in the drawer. For this purpose, you could use the smaller, plastic clothespins that are often used to hang delicates and hand washable items. (These are also available at the dollar store.)

While you're doing laundry, attach matching tops and bottoms of children's outfits with clothespins. Children will feel empowered as they pick out an outfit to wear. You don't need to argue about whether the brown pants really go with the pink striped top or not.

Another educational use for clothespins is also a game from my childhood. This game actually encourages hand-eye coordination. When I was a child, we dropped the wooden clothespins into a glass milk jar. These days, a small pan or other container with a decent sized opening is fine. For very young children, clothespins could probably be dropped into a container with about 6" opening initially. Have the child stand in front of the container. Hold the clothespin at chest height and drop it so it lands inside the container. As the child gets more skilled, and is a bit older, clothespins can be dropped into containers with smaller openings. This game could also be adapted to a clothespin toss.

Yes, clothespins are still a great idea if you're one of those folks who hang out your laundry on a clothesline. But why not make even more efficient use of this inexpensive and versatile household item? I even carry a clothespin in my purse! You just never know when you'll need one.

Mary Moss is the Founder and Owner of Divinely Designed, a ministry fueled by inspiration, imagination and faith. Mary lives in Richmond, VA. She and her husband of 30 years have two college-age children. She is a voracious reader, a published writer and poet and a member of Richmond Christians Who Write.

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