A Green Home: Organize Your Mail with Clips and Belts

Reader Contribution by Jaci Kennison
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 Jaclyn Kennison is a freelance writer living and playing in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She owns and manages an art gallery and event venue between fits of shopping and redecorating.

I don’t know about you, but I am always at war with piles. Piles of laundry, piles of shoes, piles of bills, piles of mail. The three former could easily be put away and do have nice little homes where they live when I am not too distracted or tired to get them there. That last one, though… the piles of mail–that one gets me. I feel as though I need to leave them out in order to be sure they don’t escape my mind while escaping my sight. The issue then becomes how to keep these items in view and yet uncluttered, and off my kitchen table.

The other night as I was standing around the grill with a  new friend, we were discussing the idea of selling her handmade greeting cards at my art gallery, sustainable shopping and event space. I was thrilled with the idea, but she mentioned it has been quite a challenge for her to find a way to display these pieces in a creative, utilitarian way that won’t damage her life savings.

As she talked it occurred to me that we could probably make something with the use of an old belt.

My thought was to attach large clips, the ones shaped like the kind they make to hold potato chip bags closed. I’m thinking we’ll go with the metal kind though; they would be prettier. I’m imagining we can glue these at intervals down the length of the belt and use them to hold the different card designs. We could dress the display up as well with a little paint, feathers, beads, and the like on the clips and the leather itself, should it be unattractive otherwise.

As I mulled over the idea it occurred to me that it would also be a great project for clearing off my kitchen table. I think at home I would use a simple, wide ribbon instead of a belt, however, and paperclips would take the place of the larger clips because I’m almost always dealing with a single sheet.

I’ve used this version of the card-hanging project to display holiday cards received from friends and relatives over the years, and I think it would work great for photos as well. (This time of year we are always getting wallet-sized memories of my boyfriend’s plethora of nieces and nephews.)

This idea could also be adapted for small bags of your bulk spices in the kitchen, or for hair elastics, bracelets and anklets in the bedroom or bathroom. The advantage of hanging these things on your walls, and in a vertical position, is that they take up far less visual space than if you were to hang a pegboard and may offer a wider variety of applications.

A couple of tips if you are considering this project:

• Get a fairly accurate estimate on how much you will be hanging from your belt. A discarded belt from your teenage daughter’s size 29 waist may not have enough space to accommodate your needs.

• Shop for your clips. Key chain rings, binder clips and more may serve you equally as well and be far easier to come by.

• Experiment with different ways to adhere your clips. Key chain rings, for example, can simply be twisted through, not glued on.

Happy organizing!

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