Simple Stuff: A new series devoted to talking about the stuff that might prove useful or helpful or otherwise necessary while making a home in a small apartment or anywhere. Its aim is to provide a bit of inspiration for simplifying your space sustainably and stylishly. Its contention is that what’s useful can be beautiful, and that you might already have everything you need.
In small apartments or anywhere, tiny tools for wrangling can be awfully helpful. Whether it’s a clothespin clamping together a bag of half-gone dried pasta, or a bulldog clip used for hanging up a poster, clips and clamps of various kinds can be an organized person’s friend.
And yet, not all clips or clamps are created equal. Lots are, in a word, ugly. They find their way into our homes, bearing the names of dentists or relators or other well-meaning swag-loving folk. They break easily and they create tiny eyesores in the meantime. Or, for shame, they might not have made their way into your home at all. You might not have a handy clip to rely on for clamping shut the remaining flour that won’t fit into your flour jar, or to seal off the bag of coffee that a friend brought you from their trip to Costa Rica (nice friend!). When you want to hang a print without getting it framed, you might realize that a clip or two is what you need.
As always, there might well be a slew of these things already in operation around your house. Go find them. Gather what you have, sort through it, and put what you love to good use.
What you might already have:
Clothespins: Whether or not you hang your clothes to dry on a line, you might have a few of these classic wooden and metal spring clothespins kicking around your house. Use them! Sure, for hanging clothes on a line to dry (lucky ducks), but also to build forts with your kiddos, close up the potato chip bag, clip the receipt to the pair of pants you’re returning, etc., etc. etc.
Stainless Steel Clothespins: Sturdier than their wood and spring cousins, I really love the set of three Pincinox clothespins I got a few years ago. I’ve used them for everything from holding together mail to pulling back curtains. (Mine were a gift from Flotsam & Fork.)
Bulldog Clips: Humble bulldog clips, also known as binder clips, are available at most old-school stationary stores for mere cents per clip and they’re a personal favorite of mine. They’re dirt cheap, they never break, and they’re nice to look at.
Even better, they’re equally terrific for clamping things shut or for hanging things up and they come in all kinds of helpful sizes, like the extra large three-inch clamp above. (We even have a few magnetic bulldog clips on our fridge for holding things like emergency numbers for the sitter or other things that are helpful to have out in the open.)
What you might decide you’d like:
Everyday Clips: These painted clips are made in Italy and pack an extra colorful punch around the house. I love the cheery yellow and the soft gray.
Stainless Steel Clips: For a slightly more slender profile, these stainless steel clips could be used for anything from hanging laundry to displaying prints to clamping shut the bag of popcorn you somehow manage not to finish in one sitting.
Jaw Clips: Danish Company, Hay, makes some of the sturdiest (and prettiest) jaw clips out there and Schoolhouse Electric comes through on making them available for US customers. I have two of the similar, but somewhat-less-precious stainless steel jaw clips pictured above.
Wire Binder Clips: For those of us who enjoy things that are truly dainty, wire binder clips with rose gold and bronze finishes might be the preferred look. I’ve seen these popping up everywhere lately from place settings, to restaurant menus, to clothing shops. I’m not sure how sturdy they are after prolonged use, but I do think a few in a row would make for a lovely wall display.
What you might hunt for:
Most fun of all is hunting for vintage binder clips. My years working in archives meant that I’d sometimes come across some real vintage beauties, but they’re also the kinds of things you might find by the fistful in antique stalls at flea markets. Keep your eyes peeled. (And if you’re not someone who enjoys the hunt, these black binder clips boast a pretty good vintage vibe and this Etsy shop has vintage clips in abundance.)
What about you guys? Favorite clips or clamps in your lives?
For the curious: The tacks used above are classic t-pins, the very prettiest kind of thumbtack out there. The “burn after reading” card is from the always funny, Hat+Wig+Glove Company.Various bits of ephemera, including those lounging Brooklyn ladies, from the “family archive”. I found the very delicious granola and canvas napkin at local shop Regular Visitors. The windowpane and chambray napkins are from The Everyday Co. The navy plaid dishtowel is by Fog Linen. The coat rack is by Iris Hantverk.