It’s a multi-tasker’s world. Even common baby essentials are being put to work in a whole new way.
Everyone warns you how quickly the baby phase is over: ‘Blink, and you’ll miss it,’ they say. And how right they were – your preschooler is now off to school, your toddler is now a preschooler, and suddenly your cupboard and garage is full of redundant baby equipment and products that you were not quite sure what to do with – until now!
Wipes. I personally wonder how I got by without wipes before I had my babies. They are useful for so much more than baby’s bottoms. They make quick work of spills – whether it’s on the couch, the carpet, the kitchen floor or the little mark on the outfit that you really want to wear, but don’t have time to put through the wash. Once you realise how handy and effective they are you won’t just be using up supplies but stocking up on them for your cleaning cupboard, hand bag and the glove box of your car.
Baby oil. Children and adults like massages just as much as babies, so this is a product they don’t really grow out of. It can also be used to treat dandruff, and for eye make-up removal, and to cleanse and condition make-up brushes.
Nappy bags. These are another glove box essential, especially for long car journeys. They’re also really handy in the pocket of for dog owners as they go for a walk in the park.
Cloth nappies. I’m talking the good old fashioned type, about 12 inches square, with a pink line along one border. The fabric is so hardy they make brilliant cleaners, especially for windows and cars.
Baby shampoo. This stuff is liquid gold. Not only can it clean and polish leather shoes, wash your delicates, and function nicely as a liquid hand wash, it’s also perfect for shampooing the dog.
Disposable change mats. These plastic squares make handy table-cloths for kid’s craft tables, and if you’re still toilet training they’re just what you need to protect your little one’s car seat.
Formula tins. Get your craft hat on and source some rope and fabric, and these will easily transform into stilts and drum kits.
Baby-food jars. The labels easily peek off and you’re left with dainty little glass jars that lend themselves to herbs and spices, buttons, tacks, nuts, bolts and all sorts of little odds and ends.
Baby bath. When I was growing up we used ours to keep our pet tadpoles. Slightly less randomly, they can also double as an emergency mini paddling pool or sand pit.
Sudocrem. You may have simply thought of this product’s capacity to soothe and protect baby bottoms, but it’s actually a legitimate antiseptic healing cream, effective of cuts and grazes, minor burns, bed sores, chilblains, eczema and acne. I’m in awe.
Baby coat hangers. Keep the nice little wooden ones for hanging scarves, belts and accessories in your own wardrobe.
Baby clothes. It can be hard to part with your child’s baby clothes, even when you can see no future use. One way to keep the sentimental attachment is to cut a square out the fabric of your favourite items, and use the squares to make a patchwork memory quilt or cushion. For other ideas on baby keepsakes, check out our article, baby keepsakes: what’s really worth keeping?
Change table. Wooden change tables can easily be repurposed into bookshelves or toy holders. You may just want to update your storage baskets or give it a fresh lick of paint.
Bassinet mattresses. These little guys can be placed together for emergency bedding in a full-house scenario, and have been used in countless ways by my three children while making play-houses, huts, even tree houses.
Crochet/woolen blanket. Baby blankets with a bit of give can be repurposed into ‘hammocks’ for children’s soft toys – there are often so many of these with no set place to call home. Fasten the ends of the blankets to a corner of your child’s room, allowing a little slack, and full it up with the full menagerie of animals.