If it seems to you that their main job is to float around junk drawers and clutter counters, you might be surprised to find that paper clips have hidden uses you’d never have thought of! These bendy wires can be a lifesaver in a pinch — and make a number of around-the-house tasks easier. Keep reading to find out how to make these little guys do some heavy lifting!
Add pizzazz to an at-home manicure.
Give your nails some extra flair during your next DIY manicure with the help of a paper clip. To do: After painting your nails a solid color and letting them dry, dip the tip of an unfolded paper clip into a different color of polish. Then use it to dab on dots, lines, or other designs. The clip’s thin tip will make creating professional-looking results a cinch.
Replace a missing bread tie.
If you discover you’ve accidentally tossed out the bread tie after making your sandwich, use a paper clip. Simply twist the bag closed, then slide a paper clip over the plastic (where you would normally use the tie). The clip will seal the bag tight so your bread stays soft and fresh.
Free up needed closest space.
Even after cleaning out a lot of items in your closet, things are still a bit crowded. To free up space, enlist the help of paper clips. Simply insert a hanger through the outer loop of a paper clip, then slip a second hanger through the clip’s inner loop. This creates “double hangers” that will increase your closest space. Plus, it’s a great way to keep outfits together for easy access!
Decorate a cake like a pro.
Creating small details or writing on a cake with icing can be tricky! To ensure a neat design, reach for a paper clip. Open a clean clip and use the tip to etch your message into the frosting. This will give you just enough control to space the letters out right, and when you’re happy with your work, you can trace over the outline with colored frosting.
Extend the life of toothpaste.
To squeeze out every last bit of toothpaste and save money, plus a trip to the grocery store, try this simple trick: Slide a paper clip over the bottom end of the tube, then gently push it toward the tube’s opening. The force of sliding the clip will push all the remaining paste to the top of the tube.
Quickly mask car scratches.
Eek! You just noticed a tiny door ding in your car’s paint. The fix: Dip the tip of a straightened paper clip into matching touch-up paint and apply it to the center of the blemish. The paint will spread and camouflage the damage.
Safely display precious photos.
You want to add some family photos and other fun items to your kitchen corkboard, but don’t want to poke holes in your keepsakes. The solution: Secure a few paper clips to the board with pushpins, then slide your photos or other paper items into each clip. The clips will make it easy to swap out your mementos while ensuring they stay safe from damage.
Easily remove the pits from olives.
Your Greek salad is always a hit, but getting the pits out of the olives can be a hassle. The mess-free trick: Unfold a clean paper clip into an “S” shape. Insert the clip’s smaller end into the olive, jiggle it around to loosen the pit, then gently pull out. The pit will easily come out with the clip’s tiny “hook.”
Hold a zipper in place all day.
Just as you’re about to dash out of the house to run some errands, you realize the zipper on your jeans won’t stay up, and you don’t have time to change into different pants. The fast fix: Slip a large paper clip through the hole on the zipper pull, then loop the other end around the button on your jeans. The clip will hold the zipper up in the meantime, so you don’t have to worry about a major fashion “oops” until you get back home later.
Lift dirt from a keyboard.
Although you’re careful not to snack over your laptop, dirt, crumbs and other debris seem to get lodged in the keyboard. To remove the grime, unfold a paper clip, wrap a tissue around the end, and sweep it between the keys. The narrow clip will fit into all of the small crevices so you can dislodge the gunk with ease.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.