Why a safety pin? It is nice to have a large selection of special gear for travelers these days: lightweight, durable, multipurpose gear that helps reduce bulk in your bag. However, often there is no need for the extra expense. With a bit of creativity, you can turn everyday items into a whole box of tools.
The standard safety pin — patented in 1849 by American mechanic Walter Hunt — is one of my favorite gadgets. Here are five uses for it that you might not have thought of:
Regardless of whether your jeans have lost their button or you’re trying to keep one of those fashionable wrap-around cardigans shut on a windy day, keeping a safety pin in your bag, can save the day.
Earrings, pearls, buttons (which themselves can keep ear studs in order), hair accessories, more safety pins… If it’s got a hole, you can string it on a safety pin to easily find it in your bag. No need to carry extra pouches or plastic bags — which are BTW illegal in some countries.
After collecting all the things I want to keep in order with my safety pins I like to attach them to the inside of one of my backpack pockets or my toiletry bag, so it truly can’t get lost; I pin it to the inside, so I don’t accidentally get stuck on the pin and pull it out.
But outside the backpack, the safety-pin can also serve to attach things: hold to ends of ribbon together to form a sling, pin your socks to the washing line if you find yourself without pegs or on a stormy day, pin the corners of your blanket to stop it from getting all muddled up.
Some people claim, they can pick locks with a safety-pin. I don’t know about that. But anytime you need to punch a hole, remove a splinter when you find yourself in need of a fishing hook, desperately want to get that bit of meat out of your teeth or clean your nails* — your trusty safety pin is there to help.
Safety pins are made of metal, which means they can conduct electricity and thereby reduce static. Think that pesky skirts-and-tights-stick-together-and-all-the shoving-the-skirt-back-down-only-makes-things-worse situation. Try pinning a safety pin to your knickers or the skirt (best on a hidden seam).
So, there you go: five uses of the safety-pin you might not have thought of before. Next time you pack your bags make sure you include a few of those universal little helpers.
*Safety or not, it’s a still pin — a pointy thing with the potential to hurt you seriously — so, always use your brains and exercise great extra care when using a safety-pin to pick your teeth, fingers or what have you. You might even want to consider disinfecting it before and after use.