The Many Uses of Paper Clips

There aren’t many surveys about paper clips, but one done by Lloyd’s Bank of London revealed an interesting bit of knowledge. Researchers discovered that, of 100,000 paper clips, only 20,000 of them were used on papers.

This leads a person to ask, “So what are people doing with the other 80,000?”

Paper clips come in all shapes and sizes. Some are metal; others are plastic (or coated with plastic). Some are painted; others are left bare. No matter what types of paper clips are collecting dust in your office drawer, you can fish them out and put them to good use.

Hangers. Are you out of ornament hooks at Christmas time? Use a bent paper clip. Did one of your curtain hangers break? Use a paper clip to make do until you can get to the store.

Simple lock-picking. This is not recommended for breaking and entering or any other illegal purposes. However, most people have, at some point, locked themselves out of jewelry boxes, lockboxes, and screen doors. Straightening out a paper clip and using it to jiggle the lock from the inside can open the simpler locking mechanisms and, hopefully, let you in.

Stress relievers. Many a bored man, woman, or child has spent idle hours twisting and bending paper clips as a means of keeping the hands occupied.

Holding things (besides paper) together. For example: you can use paper clips to hold fabric while sewing if you don’t have any straight pins handy.

Practical jokes. What better way to make the “Kick Me” sign stay on your best friend’s back? Yes, this requires a bit more patience than using a piece of tape, but the reward will far outweigh the effort.

Unclogging, cleaning, and scraping. Paper clips can help push solids down the drain, remove cruddy grout from the tiles, and clean beneath fingernails. (Just be very, very careful, especially with the fingernails.) You can also use them to unclog bottles of glue and other containers with small holes. Dried glue is no longer a source of frustration if you can clear the hole with a bent paper clip.

Paper clip chain. It can be a fun activity for your children, but can also have its practical uses. You can tack a string of them on your wall, slightly above eye level, and hang notes, greeting cards, and even photos from it. The best part: using plastic-coated paper clips to create a vivid, multi-colored chain.

Keeping bags closed. This is especially handy when potato chip clips (or clothespins) aren’t available.

Hitting the “Reset” button on small electronics, such as watches or hand-held games.

Handy stirrer. Bent paper clips can be used to stir small amounts of craft glue, or to mix glitter with your arts and crafts project.

Arts and crafts projects of all shapes and sizes, themes and varieties, call for paper clips. They can be used as hangers or sturdy bracings for construction paper and craft foam. They can be used to poke string-sized holes in the finished project, or to give ears to a craft-foam space creature.

There are millions of other uses for paper clips, so look around your home or office to see what you can do with them next.

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