Becoming a parent is a highly personal and unique experience that no two individuals will feel the same about. However, one thing common to all new moms and dads is the amount of stuff they will suddenly amass. Space becomes a precious commodity when suddenly invaded by baby items. Visit any new parent and it’s obvious - living spaces are a tornado of toys, kitchens are glutted by plastic bottles and storage space is crammed to the gills with items no longer needed or not yet used.
Many new parents are hesitant to purge until they are confident their family is complete. When that point is reached and the final baby begins to outgrow specific gear, parents often breathe a sigh of relief as they toss these items out of their lives forever. But it may be worth thinking twice before doing so.
It goes without saying that certain items are exempt from disposal and for good reason. Special toys, stuffed animals and baby blankies - anything parent or child is attached to or things fraught with sentiment should definitely remain. Significant gifts like jewellery or keepsakes, things that may be worthwhile to pass down to another generation should make the cut as well.
However, there’s an entire realm of baby items that can easily be upcycled, reused or even repurposed in surprising, interesting and creative ways so it just makes sense to hold onto them. Continue reading to discover 16 baby items definitely worth keeping.
16 Hold On To Those Baby Monitors
They may have served their purpose well by providing parents with peace of mind and much needed comfort and security during that brief yet harried window of new parenthood. If parents aren’t in the same room as their baby or toddler, having a monitor nearby is basically the next best thing. Parents can keep track of their infant’s sleeping, hunger and comfort level all thanks to this high-tech gizmo.
Once babies become children, the monitors can go out the window, right? Wrong. As the kids get older, baby monitors can be repurposed in a number of clever and innovative ways to continue to monitor their safety and comfort.
Who needs sophisticated and expensive spyware to keep track of teenagers’ comings and goings with baby monitors available? Some of these devices are even all tricked up complete with state of the art cameras, web services and remote access. All it takes to keep track of a sneaky teen and ensuing hijinks are a couple of strategically placed monitors and parents can remain one step ahead of the game at all times.
15 Don't Give Booties the Boot
Go on any new parents’ social media and chances are there will be photos galore of teeny tiny runners or hiking boots or sparkly ballerina flats. And why is that? Maybe because the shoes are just so small and sweet and cute. And the fact that they are lined up perfectly in an immaculate foyer is irresistible to social commentary.
However, one day those shoes are going to grow up. They’ll be gigantic and muddy and smelly. Chances are they will clutter up once immaculate foyers making them look like unearthly and dusty shoe graveyards. Said shoes will be the cause of many an argument as well as frenzied search - usually seconds before the school bus is expected.
Hold on to those innocent little booties and pint-sized sneakers and minuscule moccasins because one day soon, they will be the perfect reminder of a stream-lined and simpler time in the life of a busy parent.
14 Baby Powder - a Product Extraordinaire
Often considered a staple of any newborn’s nursery, baby powder is actually a product extraordinaire that has a ton of uses. So it keeps diaper rash at bay while also helping little poop monsters smell absolutely wonderful — but that’s not all. This inexpensive product also works wonders in a myriad of other ways including:
- As a dry shampoo for both adults and pets - Just sprinkle a bit and work it through the scalp area where it will soak up oil and grease and leave hair looking freshly washed.
- Bring it to the beach - A sprinkling on sandy feet, hands and clothing will make it all the easier to brush off before heading home from the seaside.
- As a jewellery untangler - A dusting of talc onto a hopelessly knotted chain will loosen it up enough to straighten it out.
- A gardener's delight - A few sprinkles onto pre-planted bulbs will help protect them once underground.
- As ant deterrent - A light layer of powder around window panes and doorways will ward off ants which is a preferable method over toxic substances.
13 From Destruction Comes Invention
Once a new baby is in the picture, nothing piles up faster than dirty diapers and mountains of laundry. Although a close second will be the amount of destroyed clothing that suddenly begins to assemble. For each laundry load comprised of hopelessly stained onesies, drool-soaked bibs and soiled outfits, don’t be surprised if several items don’t make it back alive.
This goes for the parents (and sometimes unfortunate guests who happen to hold the baby when disaster strikes) as well. It’s only inevitable that exhausted moms and dads will miss a couple of poop stains, breast milk spots and spit-up crust and once those suckers are set they are pretty much there for life.
However, before simply tossing the ravaged clothing into the trash, consider repurposing it first. Material can be saved for future sewing or craft projects or to be used as patches for other clothing. Consider finding a local program within the community that will recycle used clothing into carpet padding, rubberized playgrounds or home insulation. And of course, anyone who cleans a house knows that rags always come in handy. So take that beautiful blouse now rendered useless by baby poop and stash it with the cleaning supplies.
12 Save Baby Stuff For Fur Babies
In most households, they may be second-tier citizens, just below human baby status - or maybe not. But when it comes to the house’s fur babies, a lot of that outgrown, stained and no longer useful baby crap can come in handy.
Remember all that stained clothing that needed getting rid of - well here’s a solution. Parents can don their DIY hats, roll up their sleeves and get to work spinning some baby straw into pet gold. Take stock of all the soft and cozy items like crib bumpers and fuzzy blankies and gather up other items such as hopelessly stained clothing and change table pads and let the upcycling commence.
The sky’s the limit here - if an animal will get some use out of it, then it’s a winning idea. Transform a change table pad into a comfy pet bed with some fabric and a stapler. Deconstruct a floor mat jungle gym, make a few strategic changes and say hello to a new feline playground. Tie some knots into a frayed blankie and create the perfect chew toy.
11 Keep Liquid Gold In The Deep Freeze
There’s a reason that breast milk is often referred to as “liquid gold” - that stuff takes effort to pump and store. Just because baby has graduated to regular milk doesn’t make it easy to flush all that hard work down the drain. And thanks to a number of options available, it may be worthwhile to hold onto the stuff.
Perhaps only common knowledge among breast feeding experts, there are a host of reasons to keep breast milk at the ready including:
- A few drops of mother's milk is nature's remedy for clearing up minor irritations in a baby's eyes, ears or skin.
- Get crafty and keep it as the secret ingredient for a homemade specialty lotion or soap that will be perfect for even the most sensitive skin.
- Toddlers are still required to consume a lot of dairy in their daily diet so use the stored milk to make a tailor-made yogurt packed with nutrients and antibodies.
After all this, if anyone still has a freezer stockpiled full of liquid gold, consider donating the remainder to a breast milk bank. Many women unable to nurse or whose babies are premature or vulnerable to infection turn to donor milk.
10 Preserve The Playpen
Playpens are a versatile item that can definitely be put to good use even after a baby has outgrown them. For example, company’s coming to visit and a baby is in tow. The playpen can double as a bedside bassinet for guests.
It’s also the perfect environment to introduce a somewhat unruly toddler to the concept of a timeout. Timeouts can be a difficult method of discipline to master - for both child and parent. If the brat in question refuses to sit still for the two minutes of quiet contemplation, consider rebranding the playpen as the timeout zone. Place the playpen in a quiet room and when a timeout is required, place baby inside and let them scream their lungs out for the mandatory time before retrieving them. They will eventually get the hang of it.
The playpen is also a perfectly-sized container to aid in a last minute clean-up before company arrives. Jam dirty clothes, toys, stuffies, shoes and whatever else happens to be cluttering the living room inside and then hide it in another room. Problem solved.
9 Save The Baby Shampoo
For some reason, as most new parents will attest to, baby shampoo bottles often appear out of the woodwork once a new baby is born. Without even making the purchase themselves, bottles will overflow the bathtub ledge and spill from gift baskets and free give aways. Before even getting through half of these bottles, baby will have sprouted thicker hair requiring regular children’s shampoo. Then the question becomes what to do with all these extraneous bottles cluttering up the cabinets.
Of course, one idea is to regift them - pack them up into gift baskets to be passed along to other new parents who will be needing them. But they may actually be worth saving as baby shampoo has plenty of alternative uses including:
- A dab of baby shampoo is the perfect antidote to dull and scuffed up leather items such as shoes, purses and jackets.
- In lieu of buying specialty laundry detergent for delicate items like lingerie - simply use baby shampoo.
- It's also a terrific spot cleaner for carpet or furniture.
8 Don't Ditch The Diaper Genie
No nursery is complete without the magical contraption better known as the diaper genie. These creations do the impossible: take a dirty diaper and gift wrap it into a sweetly scented little package all ready for disposal. No one’s arguing that poopy diapers can be some of the most foul-smelling items found on earth - however they ain’t got nothin’ on dirty kitty litter.
For any new parents out there who happen to have the space, consider holding onto the diaper genie even after baby is completely potty-trained. Stow it somewhere safe and use it when discarding pet waste.
It’s actually the perfect trash receptacle for any rancid garbage. As your babies slowly transform into disgusting teenagers, the genie may be the solution to dealing with smelly socks, repugnant sneakers and sweat-soaked tee-shirts. Stash it all deep into the bowels of the diaper genie before tossing it curbside.
And though genie refills can become quite expensive, luckily there are plenty of alternatives such as regular plastic bags or even dollar store garbage bags. Sprinkle a bit of leftover baby powder into the bags first to achieve the fresh diaper genie scent.
7 Hold On To The Cache Of Cards
Not only can it be a nice nostalgic stroll down memory lane to flip through greeting cards given to a soon-to-be mom at her baby shower or from when her baby was first born, but it can be a sometimes much-needed reminder about how exciting and hopeful a time it was. New babies can wear down even the most seasoned and prepared parents. Sometimes a brief read-through is all a new parent needs as a pick-me-up to help remember how happy they actually are.
The kind words and well-intentioned snippets of advice can be heartwarming and even hilarious to re-read after the new baby has turned into a kid. For the kid in question, the saved cache of cards is proof of how much they were wanted and loved even before they arrived.
These cards also serve a much more significant purpose - there may be written promises of babysitting services offered. While they may not necessarily hold up in a court of law, it definitely won’t hurt to have the card at the ready when attempting to cash in on some much needed babysitting.
6 Get Creative With Left Over Diapers
Leftover diapers can always be handed off to another parent in need, however after checking out some alternative uses for these absorbent wonders, parents may think twice before passing them along. Extra diapers are a dream for anybody who gains a real sense of accomplishment from repurposing and reusing. Check out these ideas:
- Grab a diaper in order to transport a fresh bouquet of flowers from Point A to Point B both efficiently and effectively.
- Next time a major spill occurs, forget about a paper towel and reach for one of those extra diapers laying around. If they are capable of containing poop explosions, then chances are they're fine to absorb the carton of milk now seeping into the hardwood.
- Keep a couple of diapers handy near the gardening supplies. Soak and plant them alongside those wilted begonias and prepare for full green thumb status. The sodium polyacrylate crystals that usually aid in soaking up baby urine will absorb soil moisture, delivering it to the roots of nearby plants.
- Of course, for any DIY experts out there, feel free to jury-rig extra diapers into a spongy workout short. As most new moms will corroborate, jumping jacks can be a leaky activity after experiencing childbirth.
5 Hang On To The Potty
Passive aggressive behavior is the cornerstone of any parenting technique. Save the potty and after thoroughly bleaching and disinfecting the bowl, hold onto it. One day in the near future when the once agreeable child turns into a know-it-all, mouthy brat simply serve some chips in said bowl.
So the child may not realize the significance attached to the bowl they are eating out of but just imagine the parental satisfaction experienced from watching them reach their hand in and out of the bowl that once collected their toddler poops.
The “coup de gras” comes later when parents show their child a photo of them on the potty. When the connection between the potty and current chip bowl is made, be sure to enjoy the look on their face. It will be reimbursement for all those times parents were pulling their hair out when faced with typical teen attitude. The sooner the kids realize it - the better: Do not mess with parents.
4 Don't Scrap The Lullaby Playlist
What new parents may not realize is that those lullaby mixes that work wonders keeping their offspring slumbering through the night can work miracles later on in life as well. Who needs a time machine when a frazzled mom or dad can pop in some earbuds and listen to the music that will instantly fling them down a portal and back into time where happiness was nothing more than a sleeping baby.
In times of stress or sleeplessness, scrap the whale song CDs and opt for the personalized lullaby mix instead. Prepare to be transported back into a darkened nursery with a sweet smelling infant breathing rhythmically in a crib as moonlight streams through the window. At that point in time, be prepared to fall into a deep and soothing slumber yourself.
3 Hoard The Handmade Items
This is especially important for new parents who don’t have a sentimental bone in their bodies: do not toss handmade items. No matter what. In this disposable day and age, it takes a lot of effort for someone to take the time to actually sit down and hand craft a special outfit or keepsake for a new baby. Even if it’s hideous, please respect the time and effort exerted by someone and store it instead of trashing it.
Even if those crocheted blankies, hand-sewn teddies or wooden trinkets don’t get all that much use, pack them up for the future. One day soon, it may actually be fun for parent and child to go through the stuff either for a good laugh or just to be reminded of a much too brief time from the past.
2 Don't Toss Baby Oil Just Yet
Bottles of baby oil - scented, unscented, for sensitive skin, for bedtime, for bathtime - are just one more item that seems to sprout in bathrooms and bedrooms of any house containing a baby. Where they come from is anyone’s guess but here are some engaging ideas on how to get rid of them without actually throwing them into the trash.
Baby oil also doubles as an excellent makeup remover which is inexpensive and easy on the skin. When attempting to clean paint brushes or remove paint from skin, skip the harsh turpentine for now and try to make do with baby oil. And for any adults suffering from extremely dry skin or eczema, baby oil makes a soothing ointment for these particular maladies.
And however consenting adults decide to put baby oil to good use is between them . . . literally.
1 A Vintage Gift For The Future
When it comes to the relationship that develops between a woman and her maternity wear, a complex range of emotions are typical. Feelings may be ambivalent or fall under the wide umbrella of love/hate.
By the end of a pregnancy, most women are excited to see them go. And feelings of joy and elation are normal when at long last they can fit into their skinny jeans again and kiss the elastic waistband slacks goodbye. Many send the clothes off to family members or friends who can use them or box them up for the local thrift store.
But holding onto that one special outfit may be worth considering. Perhaps the one that cost an arm and a leg or the one that accentuated all the right curves. It may come into use for an upcoming Halloween or for any forward-thinking women out there, it may even be the perfect vintage gift one day for a grown daughter or daughter-in-law who is expecting.