In a bind? Try a clip

Last week, I stumbled upon a new-to-me use for binder clips as I was faced with trying to use loose tea to make a cup of hot tea at work.

I keep teabags and a hot water maker at work, but ran out of teabags. Coffee filters and a cup-top coffee-brewing cone were pressed into service with loose-leaf tea.

But the setup didn’t allow for much steeping, so I was faced with a pretty anemic cup of tea. Binder clip to the rescue!

I gathered up the coffee filter’s edges and clipped it to the edge of the cup. It worked pretty well.

When I got home that night, I was reading one of my favorite cooking and crafting blogs and there it was, a binder clip pressed into unconventional use. The blogger was using it on a small wallet/purse to secure credit cards and keep them from slipping out.

I was intrigued. I searched her site and found several other alternate uses for the paper clips. Then I did an Internet search and found a site with 51 uses for the clips.

Some uses were pretty lame, but others were good. Some of the better ones, from both sites:

• Use large ones to clip a tablecloth on outdoor table to keep the wind from blowing it away.

• Take one of the metal pieces off (they can be squeezed and removed from the housing). Slip keys over the metal piece and put it back onto the housing. Keys can be clipped onto a purse or pocket.

• Slip a zip tie through one side, attach a plastic label into the tie, then clip the whole mess to the side of a plastic tub for easy labeling.

• Clip to a table and run computer wires through the metal parts to keep them from tangling.

• Clip a large one over a razor as a safety cover.

• Use as a money clip.

• Attach onto a toothpaste tub to keep it from unrolling.

• Use as a replacement for a broken keyboard foot.

• Clip to a sponge and set on a drain board, with the metal parts as “feet.”

• Use one to clip your grocery list to the shopping cart.

• Use several to clip cardboard boxes together for a makeshift shelving unit.

• Clip socks together so they don’t get separated in the laundry.

• Use as a bookmark.

• Place one on each end of a tube of wrapping paper to keep it from unrolling, instead of using rubber bands.

• Clip two to the bottom of a recipe card to stand it up on a counter.

• Use to keep slippery items, such as scarves, from falling off hangers.

• Secure a bag onto a wastebasket with a couple of clips.

• Clip to a pants leg when riding a bike to keep the pants out of the chain.

And, yes, use to hold a teabag onto the side of a cup. I apparently wasn’t the first to think of that one.

Dee Camp is a reporter at The Chronicle. She can be reached via email at


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