by Mike Shea on 22 July 2007
Ahh, the binder clip. This simple three-piece hunk of metal, originally built for the single purpose of binding paper together, has more uses than one can count. Today we look at eight ways the simple ten cent binder clip can improve your life.
For as long as we've heard about Getting Things Done, we have heard about Merlin Mann's Hipster PDA. This ultra-low-tech personal organization system has led the class of high-techies into a new world of organization. The Hipster PDA is the cheapest way to get organized. Simply clip ten to fifteen 3x5 note cards together with a binder clip and you're all set. Use a couple of cards as an random capture inbox, another set for your list of projects, and a set of cards for locational Next Action lists and you're all set.
Who needs a big George Costanza wallet when you can take your bills, fold them over a very select set of cards you have to have on you all the time, and clip it all together with a binder clip. The fifteen cents you pay sure beats the thirty to fifty bucks you would probably pay for a wallet. It's a lot smaller too.
Binder clips for cable management showed up on Lifehacker a short while ago. Clip the binder clips onto a rack or desk, unfasten one of the clip parts, and feed your cables through it. This works very well for a docking area for cell phones, Nintendo DSs, iPods, and other rechargable devices. Just feed the cable in and out from the clip when you need it and what you don't need falls behind the rack.
This is another tip from Lifehacker. Use a binder clip to clip the rolled-up bottom of your tube of toothpaste to keep it full. My dad used to fold toothpaste up from the bottom but it would always come undone. Not anymore!
Fighter pilots used to have a clipboard built into the leg of their flight suit. They would clip maps and other useful items to this board so they could quickly see it while flying. This same idea can work for drivers. Take your map or directions and clip them with a binder clip to the leg of your pants. Now it won't slide off and a quick glance will tell you what you need.
Levenger sells a $7 plastic elastic bookmark thing that ensures you won't lose your place if your book falls. A binder clip costs a lot less and serves much of the same purpose. Just clip the clip on the page you want to keep.
I never knew what to do with the pile of business cards I acquired throughout my work day. A coworker gave me his tip of binding them together with a binder clip and tossing them into his briefcase. I do this with archived action cards as well. It is a quick and easy way to keep cards together, keep them handy, and make them small enough to carry around.
If you're using the binder clip wallet, you'll have to get rid of all those extra cards you carry around. About half of them are likely frequent buyer cards. Take all these cards, bind them together with a clip, and stick them in your glove box in the car. When you go to the store, pull out the card you need.