When you visit someone in their space, whether it is at work or play, do you look for clues to that person’s personality in their choice of surroundings? Are they neat or messy? Are they barely keeping it together or do they spend an extraordinarily large amount of time at OfficeMart? Or do you notice at all?

I notice. (Big shock, right?)
I look to see if things are matchy-matchy or if there is any kind of theme at all.
What I most often find are unusual and unintended uses for regular items.

The subject today is the common office binder clip. I found this image on Wikipedia.
Although I don’t use Wikipedia as a standard source of information,
I think we can all agree those are images of the standard binder clip
(and a battery for size purposes.)

They are found in a variety of sizes as you see here, as well as a variety of colors and patterns. That isn’t the important part. What is really significant is the versatility of this simple office supply.

Sure it is great for holding paper together. It’s easily applied, and just as easily adjusted or removed, and reapplied over and over again.

But what about its other office uses?

  • Monitor-top “to do” list reminder – keeps you on task and starts the day off right.
  • Replacement feet for keyboards – no one likes a keyboard that rocks.
  • Bookmark – mark the place in that year-end report.
  • Cell phone stand/iPod holder – so you can catch the highlights of last night’s game… or check on whatever you need to check on.
  • Extension cord organizers – you can clip them together so the boss doesn’t trip coming in to see your presentation.
  • Pants management for bikers – Clip those pants up while you bike back to the office since your won’t be ready till tomorrow and the bicycle was all the garage had left for a loaner.
  • Hanging Folder Stopper – This keeps your filing place while you take a coffee break.
  • Labeled super-binder clips – Semi-quasi work related.
  • Badge of Canadian Pride – If showing Canadian Pride is your thing.
  • Finger workout/Stress relief – Let’s face it! You have to get that workout in sometime, and they say every bit helps. This could actually be your most productive time of the day as you are finally multitasking… with the workout doubling as a stress relief, too.
  • Desk sculptures – Sometimes the end of the day doesn’t come quite soon enough.
  • Cuff links– For the well-dressed business man who’s just a little forgetful.

    For the well-dressed business man
    who’s also a bit forgetful.

Cuff Link:
For the well-dressed business man
who’s also a bit forgetful. (via)

Of course, these alternate uses do swing both ways-that is, either male or female-but it can also be home or office. Now let’s take a look at these extra special ways you can use this office staple away from the office.

  • Keep pacifiers off the floor
  • Clothespins
  • Clothing alterations
  • Tablecloth anchor – At the park on blustery days
  • Boot / shoe / scarf hangers– They hang great on peg board pegs – or simple nail. For scarves a push pin will do.
  • Artwork hangers
  • Photo Hangers
  • Photographer’s friend should actually be photographer’s slave. The “clip” does all the work, doesn’t get any credit or a paycheck
  • Grocery cart shopping list reminder… just clip it to the inside end of your basket
  • Food thermometer holder – my personal favorite
  • Laundry machine lonely sock solution
  • Wrapping paper organizer
  • Chip Clip

Add a simple magnet and the uses soar out of control.

No matter where your day takes you… whether you are negotiating business deals or just kickin’ back… next time you have the opportunity to observe a colleague, see if they play it by the book or off the cuff.