Paperclips seem to be in every drawer – until you need one. When clips and staples pull a disappearing act, there are a few alternatives you can use to keep your papers together without folding the pages. It might actually be for the best, since staples and paper clips may not be the right fix for your documents. Thick papers need something stronger, and personal papers may not need to waste a clip.

Binder Clips

Binder clips come in different sizes, each ideal for “thicker” stacks of paper which paper clips and staples cannot handle. This clip has a bent piece of metal with two metal loops that you can press to open the “jaws” of the bent metal. Binder clips are reusable and do not easily deform, allowing you to use it as many times as you like. Binder clips come in different sizes and capacities.

Puncher and Paper Fastener

If you’re binding papers for storage and filing, you need a more robust binder for your documents. Although a two-step process, using a puncher and paper fastener secures documents for filing, a puncher is named as such because it punches holes through papers, creating one, two or three holes in your paper stack. Alternatively, a basic paper fastener has two components: a long and bendable prong and a lock that secures the prong to bind the papers. Once you punch holes in your stack of papers, insert the prong of the fastener on the holes and use the lock to secure the binding.

Rubber Bands

Thick and wide rubber bands can serve as a temporary binders for very thick stack of papers; however, avoid using it on thin paper stacks as it will warp the paper and cause it to curl. Securing papers using a rubber band is simple – just put a cardboard or a thick paper at the bottom of your stack and use the rubber band to secure it. This can also help protect your pages from wrinkles and tears when traveling or transferring.

Slide Binders

If you don’t want your papers to have holes or unnecessary creases and marks, then use a slide binder to do the job. Slide binders are somewhat larger and longer versions of binder clips, without the metal loops to open the jaws. To bind papers, “slide” the binder on the side of your paper stack ensuring that its jaws are clipping the papers. Slide binders also come in different sizes and capacities, depending on the type of paper that you want to bind.

No Binder Process

For a thin stack of papers, you don’t even need a paper clip or a staple to bind it. There is a simple method that you can use to easily bind papers. This method involves snipping small centimeter slits in the middle of a fold. It's not for formal papers, but is quick for personal pages where a small cut in the upper left hand corner will not be noticed. On the upper left side of your papers, fold the corner to create a small triangle and crease it. Use a pair of scissors to create two one centimeter slits along the middle crease of the fold. This will create a small square with the bottom of the square still attached to the fold. Gently pull the square out and press it flat toward the middle of the crease. It will then fold down on either side of the middle crease, acting like a paper clip. This may take a few tries to perfect, but once you do it's a fast and easy way to secure your documents.