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Are you a mom, just staring at a pile of baby products, willing it to (poof!) disappear? Well, before you attempt to harness your inner Marie Kondo and clear them out, let’s talk about a few creative ways to repurpose them instead.
1. Baby Hangers
These seemingly innocuous closet staples can get awfully small, very fast. Made to hold teeny-tiny onesies, the life span of a baby hanger will only last you up until age 5 or 6. What’s a mom to do? Convert those bad boys into chip clips! Simply break off the part that holds pants and discard the rest. You’ll never refuse a Target hanger again. And with an estimated 85% of plastic hangers ending up in landfills, you’re also doing the planet a solid.
2. Video Monitor
Tech-savvy moms know that a video monitor is essential to surviving the first few years of life. My son was just 18 months old when he got his leg stuck between the crib bars and howled for help. I sprang into action within minutes and was able to free his little limb. Touted as every new mom’s best friend, video monitors can also prove useful well into the primary school years. As children age, they can be transitioned into a playroom or finished basement to ensure kids are safe while moms get stuff done. #Winning.
3. Baby Wipes
Ah, the versatility of a baby wipe. Plain and simple, these can be used for anything from wiping off deodorant marks to cleaning the oil off a toddler’s hands after pizza — they can be a household staple for years to come. One mom I know even cleans her floors with them when her Swiffer refills run out. Um, genius. And cost effective!
4. The Mommy Hook
This might be my favorite “mom hack.” The versatile carabiner ring can be used to eliminate extra trips to the car when carrying groceries. With two small children in tow, I go to great lengths to avoid trekking it back to the car. The self-proclaimed “stroller assistant” lets you haul multiple bags on the hook, leaving one hand free. So, buy those 3-for-10 gallons of milk, mama. Get wild!
5. Changing Table and Baskets
Typically two or three-tiered, changing tables can be easily converted into toy storage central. Things like blocks, doll accessories, and puzzles can be placed in wicker or canvas baskets underneath the sturdy top. I even use them to store clothing so I don’t have to run up and down the stairs when my son spills something on himself.
6. Crib to Desk
Most cribs come with the option to transition into a toddler bed, but only if you buy the conversion kit while they still manufacture your crib’s specific make and model. If you missed the boat, don’t fret — there’s still a way to use this pricey piece of furniture for years to come. All you have to do is remove the front, adjust the base to its highest (newborn) setting and cut a piece of particle board for the table top. You can even add flair by covering the top in chalkboard paint and adding suction cup or hook storage units to the sides. Bonus points if you hang a behavior chart or dry erase board!
7. Baby Powder
Truth be told, this is one baby item that I skipped entirely when my kids were small. With plenty of butt creams on the market, the 16-oz. bottle of powder that came in a basket of goodies from my baby shower had been rendered pretty useless. Luckily, a friend tipped me off to the magic of bringing this old-fashioned baby staple to the beach to combat the mess that sand makes. Simply rub some on your child’s skin and watch the sand roll right off. Added bonus: Everyone will smell better on the drive home.
8. Train Table
If you have boys, chances are you’ve owned a train table at some point. Mine held a special place in my son’s heart — and in our living room for years. Once the wooden tracks broke apart and the steam trains stopped chugging, it almost became just another childhood relic, collecting dust and taking up valuable space. I didn’t want to let go, and despite the urge to purge, decided to transform the table into his very own LEGO-building headquarters. All it took was a few classic green “baseplates” and some wood glue. As this next hobby took center stage, I smiled at the tiny city my son had built and felt a major sense of accomplishment.
9. Baby Clothes
While there’s good reason to keep the Penn State onesie your college roommate gifted you, chances are you’re also stuck with quite a few hundred you no longer need. If kept in relatively good condition, there are a number of online marketplaces that specifically cater to selling your kids’ old stuff. I like the simplicity of Poshmark and end up selling a few items in my virtual closet each month. Brick-and-mortar locations like Once Upon A Child also offer this service, but I’ve found that you get more value from the wider online marketplace.
10. Pack ‘n Play
Once your kiddo learns to climb, the versatile Pack ‘n Play loses its charm. Goodbye naptime, hello danger! Enter the “Book Nook.” With breathable mesh sides and its own custom-fit sheets that you can pull over the top, it makes the perfect fort for your tot where he or she can read those board books … or maybe fall asleep in, after all.
While these ideas will surely save you money — as well as the hassle that comes with purging kids stuff – the best part of upcycling is getting to hold onto to the products that once brought you and your baby closer together. Now, onto those closets …