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I would be willing to wager that most people, during their first office supply shopping trip after having read Getting Things Done, pick up some binder clips. This is probably because they happened across the Hipster PDA at some point during their GTD travels and thought, “man, that looks like something I could really get into – and for like $5, tops…”. Hell, you could build Hipster PDAs for a small village for like $20, who wouldn’t be tempted by such a small admission price? I know I wasn’t – I’ve got a whole tub of probably 30-40 binder clips of varying sizes that has been very busy gathering dust for many months now.
If you find yourself in this boat, have no fear, for I have compiled some seriously hacky uses for all those binder clips. They may not all have mass appeal, but they are examples of how to take your productivity gear to places it was never intended
- Wallet – Obviously, this depends on the type and amount of stuff you keep in your current, actual wallet. For me, it was nothing more than a big leather thing to house my credit cards, license, insurance and video rental card. So, for the past 6 months I’ve kept all of those cards clipped together using a small binder clip and it’s been fantastic.
- Food Freshness – Most households have those big plastic “Chip Clips” that are used to seal bags of food to keep it from spoiling. These things usually go for a couple of bucks *each* at the Bed, Bath and Beyond. Binder clips work just as well and cost about an order of magnitude less, so put them all over your chips, cookies and what-have-you.
- Hanging Note System – For this one, you’ll need some type of wall mounting hardware (nail, tack, etc.). Hang one of the arms of the clip over the mount and – presto – you have a place to hang pieces of paper (or whatever). This is especially useful for the inside of the front door, where you can hang notes to remind yourself to take things with you when you leave the house.
- Keyring Reminder Caddy – If I’m leaving wherever I am, I have my keys in my pocket (even if I don’t really need them). So, if I ever need to take something with me when I leave my current location, I put my keys on top of it so I see it when it’s time to go. The principle is the same, but with a little more confidence that you won’t be able to leave without seeing/feeling that thing that’s stuck to your keys. Just attach one of the arms on the clip to your keyring and fold it up when you’re not using it
- Glove Compartment Crap Organizer – There’s nothing quite as embarrassing as having to unload 6 months of ketchup packets, paper napkins and other junk from your glove box in search of your registration and insurance information, particularly when John Q. Law is watching you from outside the driver’s side window. Here’s a novel idea – bundle everything you’d need for a traffic stop together with a single clip and stick it somewhere specific in the glove box (the left hand wall, for example.). Because you don’t really need any extra stress factors when you get pulled over, right?
- Clothespin – Not many of us still dry our clothes on a line running across our yard, but if you do – binder clips!
- Cable Sanity – Most of the techie types out there know what it’s like to have an unholy mess of cables strewn about behind your computer/display. Especially as peripherals get more prevalent, it can get downright unwieldy back there. So, get yourself a box of the big, bad, industrial binder clips (the 2-inch ones work best for this) and start regulating on those cables. You’ll feel pretty awesome once that’s taken care of, I promise
- Impromptu Belt – I’ll admit that this one is a little on the ridiculous side, but let’s just say that it’s a damn fine example of the versatility of binder clips.
One of the tricks my father taught me is that if you ever find yourself wearing pants that are too loose in the waste (and are starting to fall down), just roll the top of the pants down onto itself for a quick, temporary fix. I’ll do you one better – slap a couple of big binder clips over the folds you’ve just made and watch your pants *not* fall down. Try it.
What are some of your favorite binder clip tricks?
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