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 propagated through 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!