Garbage Made Useful: Wire Hangers Into Garden Staples

If you or a housemate work off the farm at one of those jobs that require clean, starched shirts, you probably have a lot of dry-cleaner’s wire hangers kicking around the house. We return our wire hangers to our dry cleaners for re-use (better for the earth and helpful to the small business owners who run our laundromat) and they can also be recycled. Some people haven’t gotten the message, though, because 3.5 billion (with a B!) of these hangers get tossed into landfills every year. That’s a lot of coated wire floating around.
Want to avoid sticking all those hangers in the ground somewhere? Turn them into garden staples, and you can stick them in your very own ground!
First, get a bunch of hangers…

and a pair of wire snips.

Snip off the “shoulder” corners of the hanger where the wire bends up into the “collar” area of the hanger. Then snip through the bottom, flat section of wire at about the same distance in from the corner as your top snip was made.

You’ll get a piece that looks kind of like an airplane wing.

Use the wire snips to bend the wing into a classic staple shape. Adjust the width of the staple according to what you need to secure in the ground. If your estimates of length were wildly off, trim the ends  with the snips or re-bend.

Each wire hanger will give you two extra-long staples from the “shoulders” of the hanger and one mini staple bent from the leftover bottom straight wire. The hook part that isn’t used to make garden staples can be recycled, unless a reader has a good idea for what to do with it? Readers?

Garden staples are infinitely useful. Use them to hold down plastic or paper mulches, landscape fabric, soaker or drip irrigation hoses, or individual plant cloches cut from milk jugs or soda bottles. They are also great for pinning down plants that you are propagating thorough layering.

You can buy garden staples, of course, but in my experience the DIY hanger ones actually work better. The coating on the wire keeps them from rusting away to nothing as the store-bought kind tend to do after a few seasons. You can also adjust the height and width depending on your need. And if you happen to have the white coated hangers, staples made from those are much easier to find in the garden. Plus, they’re free!

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Comments

  1. Good idea! We have wire hangers, not from the dry cleaner (because I refuse to buy clothes that need it), but from the thrift store. They sell bundles for a buck.

    For the hanger's shoulder remant, why not bend the shoulder ends down to poke in the ground, straighten the neck and use this as a garden label. Poke holes in the card or cardboard or seed packet with the plant's name on it and thread on the straightened neck.

  2. Chile, I LOVE this idea for the hook part. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Fabulous re-purposing ideas, thanks for sharing Erica!

  4. Alas, we recycled all ours a while ago, but great idea!

  5. I found a ton of wire hangers in the garbage at work. Brought them home and figured out how to use twist ties to hold them into a flat, 5-pointed star shape (10 hangers per 'star'). I use them in the garden as fencing. They can be dressed up at Christmas time, too.

  6. Sanda – that sounds cool! Do you have a pic you could link to?

  7. Let me look around. If I don't have one on file, I'll click a new one next week (I'm heading out of town for a few days) and will send it to you :-)

  8. Facing the need for a couple hundred staples this year for row covers and soaker hose and the like, I can credit you with saving me more than $50. Cha-ching! Thanks for the timely suggestion. Now I'm looking around for other ways to turn garbage into useful garden stuff.

  9. Plastic deli containers make excellent mini-cloches. Shh, don't tell, I'm planning a post about it. ;) Glad I could help!

  10. Great idea! We are always searching for more irrigation staples. I know where to look.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Couldn't you use a cork for the end of the cut off hook and still use it to hang ties, jewelry, scarfs, etc on them?

    Or perhaps drill a hole in something made with wood and stick them in it upside down like cup hooks…probably wouldn't hold anything supper heavy but hooks are always handy even for lighter stuff.

  12. pinterest here we come!

  13. Jen on the lovely Epbot blog has a great use for hanger hooks–t0 hang flipflops: http://www.epbot.com/2011/04/hows-it-hangin-flop-tutorial.html

Trackbacks

  1. […] your irrigation. I snake soaker hoses up and down my garden beds and hold them in place with garden staples. The soaker hose runs to a valve, and the valve runs to an irrigation controller that automatically […]

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