Reduce & Reuse…useful things you probably never thought about…

I am always trying to reuse things.  I hate throwing things out that seem perfectly good even if you can’t use them for the intended purpose anymore.  If you know someone with kids, you can always ask them for the things I am going to list related to children.  Chances are if they have smaller children then they probably get so much of this stuff that they can’t possibly use them all and it will be a relief to not fill up their trash cans with all of them. Worst case you get some ideas here how to create your own solutions.

Being a mom/parent means you often look for solutions to everyday problems on the fly.  Some parents may spend money on things to help organize, and granted those things may look better than my solutions…but then I am all about finding uses for things so I don’t have to dump them in a landfill.

  • Baby wipe boxes – Any kind as long as they have a lid.  I use them to keep the kids cold/flu stuff in one place.  When you have a baby the hospital usually gives you one of those bulb syringes (aka booger sucker) for your baby.  Also, when your baby has a cold the first thing they are going to tell you is to use that booger sucker since you can’t really give kids cold meds.  They may also tell you to get some plain saline nose spray. In an effort to try to keep contamination to a minimum I got 2 wipe boxes (Huggies used to put a new wipe box in every case so I had STACKS of them, but they don’t do that anymore…shame) and put Baybhead’s booger sucker in one along with saline spray  and for a while his Tylenol before he moved up to the bigger bottle.  Same with Podling…her booger sucker, Tylenol, gas drops, thermometer, and nose spray is in a seperate box.  I labeled them with a Sharpie marker and so I know whose to use when one of them is sick to help prevent cross contamination. Of course, doesn’t really matter too much since Babyhead likes to stick his fingers in his nose…
  • Baby wipes – They are the most versatile things you can get.  Now, they aren’t good for disinfecting the kitchen or anything…but they are great to have around for sticky hands, crusty noses, or even a sticky table at a restauarant.  They are also great for those hot, sweaty days to wipe off with and freshen up.
  • Baby food jars & Toddler food Trays – Not just jars, but the little trays that Little Entrees come in.  The jars I actually used to mix cereal in when Babyhead was little.  It helped me control how much I was making him.  They are also good for arts and crafts…like mixing paint. The trays were nice because I could use those as little plates for him for other things like when he started eating regular food or for snacks and if I didn’t feel like washing them or if they got really nasty or stepped on I just threw them away.  There was an almost endless supply.
  • Diaper boxes – The big ones.  I use them to help control all our junk mail!  I put it in the hallway by the door and when we get junk mail I just throw it in there.  When it is full the whole thing goes out and the newest box takes it’s place.  They are also good to help corral toys to be put away.  Not that you should keep them indefinitely…but they are a good in a pinch.  You can also just cover the box with old wrapping paper if you intend on keeping it for a while.
  • Disposable plastic table cloths – Usually when you use them at a party there isn’t anything wrong with them and I hate throwing them out, so I tend to save them.  These are great for drop clothes for painting.  I mainly use them for Babyhead to finger paint (right now he has a Transformer one that he had for his birthday)…but they would be good for any kind of paint job I think.  They are also good to put on wet chairs or the ground if you need to (like just after a rain and you want to sit outside, but forgot to bring in your cushions or something)…then just toss them when you are done.
  • Vinyl shower curtains –  Same as the table cloths…drop clothes and to cover wet outside furniture when needed.  I tend to keep these longer than the table clothes though…usually at least until I replace the one in the bathroom.  I use one to put on my outside swing because the cushion isn’t removable.
  • Used water/soda bottles – Start flowers in.  I have a spider plant and when it hatches babies I usually cut the bottom off of the single serving bottles and start them in there.  I also put a little dirt in there and they serve as a small, temp pot if I am giving the plants away to someone.
  • Old Ice Cube Trays – I also use these to start the smallest spider plant babies.  Just put some water in there and plop the little ones in and stick it in a window and when they are bigger I stick them in the bottle bottoms above.

Ok, I think that is all for now, though I might write another post later if I find some new things and get another list going!

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