Given some spare time and a few neglected items in the office supply closet, anyone can make their workspace more functional, create a cool tools for their home and office, and even rescue seemingly ruined stuff. Today we'll take a look at some unexpected ways to use objects you probably have readily available. Get organised and save some money with 10 low-cost office supply hacks you can do during your lunch break.
10. Clip chips with binder clips.
Most store-bought (especially dollar-store-bought) "chip clips" kind of suck. They're often awkward to fasten, the springs or plastic break much sooner than you'd hope, and, hey, a better solution is close at hand. The common binder clip's taut pinch is enough to ensure that rolled-up munchies don't come unfurled, and they're sturdy as all get out. They'll also do the same job with toothpaste. Photo by upsidedownsphere [via Cranking Widgets] .
9. Pin documents with an old-school stapler.
If you need to temporarily keep documents together but don't want to subject them to yank-and-tear staple removal, give the bottom plate of your old-school stapler a 180-degree turn, and you're now "pinning." Some people have known about this trick since grade school, but others might find it a seriously useful expansion of their most straight-forward desktop tool. (Original post)
8. Rein in hanging folders with binder clips.
If you're a literalist when it comes to your 43 folders organisation system, the ubiquitous binder clip works great for dividing hanging folders. Use it as a backstop or a divider between months and days, or for keeping over-stuffed folders together. (Original post)
7. Replace a zipper pull with a paper clip.
They're often the first thing to go on even the most well-constructed jackets and coats, but that's no reason to pay a ransom to have a zipper pull replaced by a cleaner. Thread a paper clip in as a replacement—using a coloured clip if necessary—and your fingers can rest easy. Check out these five other handy uses for the little bent-metal wonders. (Original post)
6. Make re-labelling easy with clear tape.
Discarding folders just because their labels are impossible to remove, or came off messily, feels pretty wasteful. Next time you're labelling, lay a strip of clear tape onto the folder tab before you apply your label. Next time you're re-organizing, re-using the folder will be as simple as pulling the label off the tape. The tape protector works on just about anything you'd potentially re-use, so keep a roll of the clear stuff handy. Photo by lylamerle. (Original post)
5. Turn a letter tray into a network rack.
Even if you've got a simple DSL connection at home, you likely have a high-speed modem, a router, and a power strip taking up space—not to mention external drives, CD/DVD-Rs, and other gadgetry. Buy some cheap, stacking letter trays, and you've got the makings of a DIY network rack, kind of like what IT guys use to keep their hard-working devices, and their multiple cables, together. If you've only got one or two networked devices, consider using the extra space for cell phones or other recharge-needing gadgets. Scope reader Rick's Flickr stream for notes and detailed shots. (Original post)
4. Erase permanent marker with a dry erase marker.
Left-over notes and oops-that-was-permanent stains are a near-ubiquitous feature of seasoned dry-erase boards. Wipe them back to whiteness with a dry-erase marker, simply by writing over the accidental marks and then swiping the whole thing clean. While you've got the cap off, check out a few more clever uses of the magic markers. (Original post)
3. Catch cables with binder clips.
If you're noticing that binder clips are making repeat appearances in this top 10, well, there's a good reason for it. The little buggers can help you keep cables under control simply by running the ones that always hang limply on (or off) your desk through a clamp and fastening it to something immovable. For full instructions, check out lihab's Flickr set. (Original post)
2. Make a standing recipe book from a break-back binder.
A recipe book that stands on its own, can take a splash of hot oil, and that's easy to add or pull recipes from—it's the Holy Grail of cooking accessories, and it's available with some inexpensive office gear. Get a break-back easel binder, a few Post-its and sheet protectors, and you've got a hardy, stand-up, extensible place for all your recipes and kitchen secrets. (Original post)
1. Turn a stack of index cards into a Hipster PDA.
We wrote about this back when Lifehacker was barely a month old, and the Hipster PDA is still one of the best combinations of "genius" and "Oh, duh" around. Combine a small (you guessed it) binder clip and some index cards—different-coloured, ruled or unruled, your choice—with a pocket-sized pen, and you've got a scaling, cross-platform, GTD-friendly thought-catcher that won't go out of date, no matter how nifty the next wireless whatever that comes along. (Original post)
For more office DIY fun, check out our previous top 10 DIY office projects.
What's your favourite clever reuse of your office's under-utilized goodies? Let us know in the comments.