Living Large Tip of the Week: Clothespins as Chip Clips

Back in the 1980s when we were just establishing our home, we thought these plastic chip clips were the best things since sliced bread (it turns out commercially produced sliced bread isn’t so wholesome either, but that’s another post…)

As I learned more about plastics and sustainability, I learned that the United States consumes about 30 percent of the world’s resources, although we only make up about 5 percent of the world’s population.

It takes resources to make plastic items and then those items typically end up in the landfill someday.

Dale worked in a landfill for nearly 25 years and saw first-hand the effects of the never- degrading plastic trash discarded.

Our solutions for “chip” clips, which we use on bags of flour, cereal, dog food, dog treats, coffee, etc…

Wooden clothespins.

Wood, of course, is biodegradable, so when these break, we don’t feel as bad chucking them into the trash (or even the fire).

We didn’t even have to worry about any new resources to make our clothespins. We bought a huge older bag of them at a garage sale for .25.

Clip that!

Do you use wooden clothespins on anything besides hang drying clothes, if so, what?

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40 Responses

  1. Meredith says:

    Love your site!
    I use clothes pins for laundry, of course, but also for “chip clips” like you mentioned.
    I also find that they are fantastic at securing the light poultry netting over the top of our portable chicken pen. I have to take the netting off to move the pen and clothes pins and a quick, easy, re-useable and secure way to attach the netting.
    One more – I love the way they look – nice and nos­tal­gic. So at Christmas time, I hang a “line” in the kitchen, out of the way, and attach all the Christmas cards we get to the line with clothespins. It looks cute, you can see all the cards, and it keeps them out of the way and not in a pile on the table.

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Meredith! You have some really inventive ways for clothespins, I love the Christmas card one, thanks for sharing!

  2. sarah henry says:

    Clothes pin/pegs come in handy with temperamental electric cords too.

  3. I’ve had a couple of stainless steel clips for years, but wooden clothespins and rubber bands have also been pressed into service here pretty regularly. Another “in a pinch” solution? A paper clip.

  4. Sheryl says:

    I do this, too. Also save rubber bands and roll up the bags, using those. Love those old wooden clothespins…there’s something comforting about them.

  5. I’ve been using wooden clothespins for years too. I use Elizabeth’s tip too–rubber bands work wonders.

  6. Merr says:

    Indeed! I have been using clothespins for a long time and love them for kitchen use (since I don’t hang my laundry out to dry–haha!). Your post is a GREAT reminder of how good they are, and also a good tip for those who may not have realized how versatile, handy, useful and cheap (inexpensive, that is) they are!

  7. Alisa Bowman says:

    Yeah–I never buy new clips, but I reuse whatever will serve the purpose. So I might use rubber bands–just roll up the bag and put the band over the top. Or I use clips that come with other products. Like for whatever reason, children’s balloons sometimes have plastic clips on them to keep them from flying away. So I save those and use them to secure bags. I’ve even used those office supply clips.

  8. We do this too!! I love love love wooden clothespins. Also bring one when you travel, to keep the hotel curtains shut!

  9. I love wooden clothespins. Something about them always makes me nostalgic — nostalgic for something vaguely in the past, not for laundry.

  10. Vida says:

    Hi Kerri, since you’re asking for alternative uses of clothes pins, check this out: http://www.crookedbrains.net/2009/10/interesting.html

    Pretty cool, huh? Seriously, though, a very cool DIY clothes pin lamp has been circulating the decorating blogs.

    In our house we use them too to clip anything closed, including food bags and the broken ones double as very short duration chew toys (under close supervision) for one of our dogs. Dunno why, they love it!

    • Kerri says:

      Very cool site! Oh, now there’s a use I wouldn’t have thought of, chew toy. Don’t know why I haven’t, my dogs chew on sticks all day long! 🙂

  11. Alexandra says:

    My sister-in-law has always used wooden clothespins in her kitchen to dry the plastic bags she washes out. I am not as good at washing out plastic bags. I recycle them at Stop & Shop and try not to use them in the first place.

  12. Christine says:

    How handy this sounds! I can see how useful these would be for so many things.

  13. Olivia says:

    I use clothespins for all sorts of things – many of them mentioned here and I have also attached a small strip of magnetic tape to the back and stuck them on the frig to hold things that are too heavy or bulky for frig magnets – or clip one to the range hood for hanging potholders. You can paint them if you want something fancier.

    • Kerri says:

      Good idea on the painting, Olivia! I never thought of that, I guess, because we have natural wood throughout Our Little House, but I may just do that this winter to be a little crafty!

  14. Becky says:

    Unitl now… I never thought of using my plastic clips (now that they have been bought all those years ago and still useable) as a “GREEN” thing ..thank you.. even though I have started to take all plastics out of our home (slowly)I am being more aware what I am bringing into my home. Mostly I use plastics for freezing things and my husband’s containers for his lunches so we dont use plastic sandwich bags any more.. The frugal part of me says use it until it dies and then replace it with glass. We use to paint the wooden clothes pins with CHritmas colors and then add a small picture of someone you loved and glue it on it. Then we add it to our Christmas tree.. I love homemade.

    • Kerri says:

      The Christmas ornaments is another creative use, Becky. Yes, as long as we have the old plastic ones, they should be used for as long as possible. The wooden clothespins gives a greener replacement alternative! We use glass for even my husband’s lunches. I replaced the plastic last year.

  15. I am so excited right now. I came across your blog from Everyday Mom’s Meals on Facebook. You guys are living mine and my husband’s dream of living in a cabin or very small house in the mountains, de-cluttering, doing a little farming, canning raising chickens…(I know I’m rambling)just a dream of living a simple life. I love your blog!

  16. Haley says:

    We use them at school for educational lessons. You put a number or letter on the clothes pin with a sharpie. They have a picture on card stock with letters or numbers around the edge for the child to match them too. Then they clip the clothes pin to the picture. They love it!

  17. We use those big black plastic office clips that get sent to me on manuscripts. I’ve also used rubber bands.

  18. Susan says:

    I use the wooden clothes pins as well, but also have some wire clips. I also use rubber bands and sometimes just make a lose knot in bread bags or other bags that that can be done to. Have also used paperclips.

  19. Kerri says:

    Oh, I love your idea of hanging them from the string on the blinds. I’m forever looking for my bag of clothespins. Thanks for sharing that! Good idea on the rubber bands, too. We also keep all of the bread ties and reuse them on certain things.

  20. Elizabeth says:

    You nailed it, Kerri! We also use wooden clothespins as our all-purpose re-sealers. In fact, we have a whole line of them hanging on the string of the blinds in our kitchen window for easy access. Another good re-sealer (for items like bags of coconut and small bags of frozen vegetables) is the rubber band the mailman puts around our mail. Just roll the bag up tightly and put a couple of rubber bands around it, and you’re good to go. Thanks for sharing this great idea!