I’ve always wondered what it was like to have my clothes clipped to a line outdoors in the sun and the breeze, to bring ’em in when the clouds threaten, and to experience the real  springtime-fresh scent that laundry and fabric softener manufacturers add in a chemical-laden attempt to connect consumers with nature and simple living.

The only clothespins I recall from my childhood were in my father’s darkroom, and they were used to hang freshly processed rolls of film for drying. We used drying racks and hangers for clothes that shouldn’t be tossed in the drier. As I’ve yet to live in a home where a clothes line would be permissible, the indoor hanging method has continued and expanded. Very little lands in the drier as laundry days fill the racks, rungs, and spare hangers with all variety of garments that have the luxury of time on their side to literally hang out to dry.

So here I sit wracking my brain as I try to remember when and why a package of classic wooden pins with metal springs was purchased in the first place. It sat untouched beneath the kitchen sink for a year or two before I finally cracked it open and placed a handful in the “junk” drawer. Having gotten tired of wrestling with metal binder clips for securing open bags of cereal and chips, these wooden options created a new sense of ease. They are the most versatile and the most frequently used clips in the house.

wooden clothespinwooden clothespin

A clothespin hangs on the sink-side dish rack waiting for the reusable cloth coffee filter to be rinsed and hung to dry. Meanwhile, another clip secures a bag of loose tea.


reusable bags hang outside to dry

The few plastic bags that enter the house arrive via the biweekly veggie box. (Oh, how I wish we could eliminate this plastic intake once and for all!) These bags are routinely washed when emptied, reused, and washed again and again, along with their reusable cloth counterparts and their occasional Ziplock counterparts. (The latter are used for travel and bulky bulk purchases.) On foggy wet days, they hang to dry from the ledge above the sink, but when the sun is shining, they get clothespinned to a length of bamboo amidst the backdoor garden.

liberated spaces business cards with clothespin

Wooden clothespins are also great in the office for holding small pieces of paper or cards. When I return from a networking event, I put the business cards I acquired in one clip so they’re all together when it’s time for follow-ups and entering them into my database. In this instance (above), a little shameless self-promotion to show you how nicely the clothespin works!

Have you got other ideas for unconventional uses for the common around the house? I’d love to hear about them!