15 Smart Uses for Clothespins You Never Thought to Try

These expert tricks and surprising uses for clothespins will simplify your life in one simple clamp.

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Keep fingers safe


Pinch a match with a spring-type clothespin to light fireplaces and tricky candle votives.

Light-proof your hotel room


Clip hotel drapes together to keep out glaring rays (and eyes). (Related: Try these 17 tips to sleep better on vacation.)

Separate these cords


Label clothespins with  permanent marker (TV, DVR, DVD, Stereo, Phone, etc.), and  use them to identify the cords that belong to each appliance.

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Align your garden


Wedge a clothespin into the fork  (or the spot where a branch and the trunk meet) to keep saplings growing straight and strong.

Mark your spot


Clamp a pin onto a page in a book to save your place. If you’re part of a book club, clip together your favorite chapter for an easy way to flip and find. (Related: 14 books you really should have read by now.)

Organize the closet


Drape up to four ties or scarves across the bottom of a wire hanger and fix each in place with a pin. (Related: 16 things you can finally get rid of in your closet.)  

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Fasten Christmas lights

iStock/Michael Braun

Keep your outdoor Christmas lights in place and ready to withstand the elements. As you affix your lights to gutters, trees, or bushes, fasten them securely with clip-on clothespins.

Make a clothespin clipboard


Organize your workshop, kitchen, or bathroom with a homemade rack made with straight clothespins. Space several clothespins evenly apart on a piece of wood, and screw them on with screws coming through from the back of the board (pre-drill the holes so you don’t split the clothespin). Now your rack is ready to hang.

Keep snacks fresh


Tired of biting into stale potato chips from a previously opened bag? Use clip-on clothespins to reseal bags of chips and other snacks, cereal, crackers, and seeds. The foods will stay fresh longer and you won’t have as many spills in the pantry, either. Use a clothespin for added freshness insurance when you store food in a freezer bag too.

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Make clothespin puppets

Courtesy Small Fry

Traditional straight clothespins without the metal springs are ideal for making little puppets. Using the knob as a head, have kids paste on bits of yarn for hair, and scraps of cloth or colored paper for clothes to give each one its own personality. You can also have fun creating mini monsters like these ones from Small Fry.

Hold leaf bag open


Ever try filling a large leaf bag all by your lonesome, only to see half the leaves fall to the ground because the bag won’t stay open? Next time enlist a couple of clip-on clothespins as helpers. After you shake open the bag and spread it wide, use the clothespins to clip one side of the bag to a chain-link fence or other convenient site. The bag will stay open for easy filling.

Mark a bulb spot

iStock/Paul Calbar

What to do when a flower that blooms in the spring … doesn’t? Just push a straight clothespin into the soil at the spot where it didn’t grow. In the fall you will know exactly where to plant new bulbs to avoid gaps.

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Grip a nail

iStock/&#169 Carlos Martinez

Hammer the nail and not your fingers. Use a clip-on clothespin to hold nails when hammering in hard-to-reach places.

Clamp thin objects


Use clip-on clothespins as clamps when you’re gluing two thin objects together. Let the clothespin hold them in place until the glue sets.

Keep paintbrush afloat


Keep your paintbrush from sinking into the solvent residue when you soak it. Clamp the brush to the container with a clothespin.

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