28 Innovative Uses for Binder Clips

Photo: JD Hancock

I like finding different uses for everyday household items and office supplies. Not only does it save me money, it also keeps my mind working overtime. “What can I do with these?” runs around my head way too often, sometimes to the point where I’m sketching out ideas for used pens or old boxes.

A recent trip to Office Depot had me picking up a box of binder clips that were on special. I went with the intention of getting these clips for a specific purpose (the mundane use of holding documents together) but what else could I do with them? Here’s what I discovered after some brainwaves and a little Internet searching:

1. A Money Clip or Wallet

Hey, it’s not something a respectable Mafia boss would carry, but if you’re just looking for a cheap and efficient way to keep your bills in one place, this isn’t too shabby.

2. A Desk Cable Tidier

If you’re like me, you have cables galore around your desk. Sort them out with a few binder clips. Mix up the colors or even paint the boring black ones to match your décor.

3. Keep Pacifiers Off the Floor

When my kids were using pacifiers, we would see them get spit out and hit the floor more often than we could count. So we bought some special pacifier holders that clipped to the clothing of our little ones. But there’s a cheaper solution: Tie a piece of string around the pacifier, tie the other end to the small binder clip, and then attach somewhere out of reach. No more soiled pacifiers covered in dirt and fluff.

4. Clothespins

They’re not as cheap as clothespins, but if you’re in a pinch and have none left, substituting with binder clips will easily do the job.

5. Clothing Alterations

We use binder clips in the advertising business to make clothes appear more tailored in photoshoots. If you’ve seen Lost in Translation, you’ll know the scene where Bill Murray goes out and about after a shoot and has binder clips all over the back of his suit. You can use them to hold up cuffs on jeans or shirt sleeves, or even use smaller ones as temporary fixes on ripped seams. I also use binder clips to hold the end of a flapping belt to the side of my jeans. 

6. Cuff Links

The hipster in you will love this one. Grab yourself some all-steel or gold-colored binder clips and make a cool fashion statement that costs just pennies.

7. Toothpaste Squeezer

Keep a binder clip at the bottom of the new toothpaste tube and use it to keep the rolled up tube in place. You’ll make the toothpaste last longer.

8. A Quick-and-Easy Kid's Doodle Pad

Grab a handful of blank pages (I use construction paper), and hold them together with a binder clip and a sheet of thick cardstock for sturdiness. Now tie a pen or pencil to a piece of string and tie that to the binder clip: a simple doodle pad that always has a pen attached.

9. Boot and Shoe Hangers

Running out of space? Use binder clips to keep shoes together, and hang them out of the way using the binder clips.

10. Cell Phone Stand/iPod Holder

A little ingenuity and some trial-and-error will give you a cell phone or iPod stand that works just as well as those costing $10 or more.

11. Bookmark

Better to use a small binder clip than to dog-ear your precious pages.

12. Finger Workout

Start small and work up to bigger and bigger binder clips. This is particularly good for guitar players who need to strengthen their smaller fingers.

13. Tablecloth Holder

When we have parties for our kids, the first thing we buy is a plastic table cloth. But being plastic, it wants to slip straight off the table. Keep it in place (and your table protected) by using a binder clip or two on each side of the table.

14. Desk Sculptures

People spend small fortunes on fancy desk toys. Why not use your imagination and save money? Create small sculptures out of the stack of binder clips you have on the desk. Challenge other people in the office to make something fun.

15. Beer Stacker

If you have one of those fridges with wire shelves, this one’s for you. By placing a binder clip in the appropriate place on the shelf, you can butt beers up against it and create a pyramid of beers that saves space (or allows room for more beers).

16. Barbie Purse

It looks like a purse already. Why not decorate it and go all the way?

17. Photo Holders

A couple of pieces of glass or clear plastic and three or four binder clips makes an inexpensive and minimal photo frame. It’s easy to change out the photos or artwork, too.

18. Artwork Hangers

Create a simple art display for your kids (or your own work) by running a length of string or cord along the wall. Now attach binder clips to the string and place the art in the binders. It's easy to swap out work and a great way to show off the fruits of your labor.

19. Extension Cord Organizers

If you’ve got stacks of extension cords, wires, and cables in your garage, they can often get tangled and knotted together. Keep them in their own spools by using a couple of large binder clips. They’re easy to remove and replace and will stop the untidy mess of wires on your garage floor.

20. Replacement Feet for Keyboards

Here’s some information I got from Lifehacker on how to make new feet for your keyboard. It’s also handy for adjusting the height and angle of the keyboard. Or, just prop it up with the binder clips for a more speedy solution:

Push the rods in the binder clip inwards to release it from the clip. Take the pliers and bend the tip of the rod to straighten it. Repeat with the other side so you have two. For added friction on the table to prevent sliding, tightly wrap a rubber band at the base of each rod or whatever rubbery material you can find. The last step is to simply insert the ends of the rods into two available screw holes at the back of your keyboard if available, and there you go! Use different size binder clips for desired angle/height.

21. Body Art

Binder clips can be used as earrings, jewelry, or even body modification.

22. Key Ring

Always have a binder clip handy by attaching your keys to it. It also makes it easy to hang your keys.

23. Photographer’s Friend

Every professional or semi-professional photographer I know has a stack of binder clips handy. They’re great for keeping backgrounds in place, keeping cords out of the way, and can be used to assemble temporary light boxes.

24. Putting on a Duvet Cover

Another tip gleaned from Lifehacker:

Put the duvet in the cover one corner at a time, securing each corner with a large binder clip. Spread the combined cover and duvet on the bed. Reach the center underneath and lift; hold it over your head with your hands and let the sides fall around you. Shake the duvet so that the sides fall to the sides of the cover. Spread the duvet on the bed and give the final touches. Remove the binder clips.

25. Pen Caddy

Create an interlocking circle of binder clips. The holes within each binder clip, plus the larger hole in the center, make ideal storage for pens, pencils and other office supplies. And when you’re done with it, it breaks down easily.

26. Tea Bag Holder

As a tea drinker, I often come across tea bags that have no string. It’s not a big deal; I fish it out with a spoon. But now there’s an alternative: Hold the bag in place on the side of the cup using a binder clip. When your tea is steeped to your satisfaction, remove the clip and dump the bag.

27. ID Badge Holder

Many of you will already carry an ID badge to the office. They usually come with a small crocodile clip, but that can soon break. If it does, attach the badge to a binder clip and you’ve got an instant replacement that’s every bit as strong.

28. A Dress

I can't vouch for the comfort of this one, but it's certainly original.

For more binder clip ideas, check out Myscha's article "Cool Ideas for Clothespins and Binder Clips."

Any more binder clip ideas? Let us know.

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Guest's picture

I use them for "Chip Clips", to keep bags of potato chips closed. They are better than the cheap plastic ones.

Guest's picture

My favorite use, as a chip bag holder or to close a bag of sugar or coffee or anything else that's open!

Guest's picture

I must say this is a very creative list, some ideas that never crossed my mind! Great work!

Guest's picture

Binder clips are ideal for biking in a dress. Just clip the skirt together like pants! I explain it here on my blog: http://hotchallah.tumblr.com/post/6758470888/are-you-aware-of-it-how-to-...

Guest's picture

another use would be to keep food bags clothed such as chips, cereal, frozen foods.