How to Get the Most Mileage Out of Baby Gear
If you’ve ever shopped for baby stuff, you know that it’s very easy to see your paycheck disappear in a flash. So. Much. Stuff!
Do babies really need all of these things, you might wonder? Probably not, but you ultimately buy everything anyway because you want your little ones to have every new high-tech bouncy seat, fancy teething toy, and designer baby cuteness imaginable.
And then there are the bottles, baby food, wipes, diapers, and other daily essentials that have doubled your grocery bills.
While you wind up kicking yourself for spending so much on things that baby will outgrow in mere months, or probably didn’t need in the first place (we’re looking at you, baby food processor and wipes warmer), there are some ways to get more mileage out of your baby-related purchases for years to come.
First, some tips to get the biggest bang for your baby buck if you’re newly pregnant and still shopping:
- Try to choose gender-neutral items for the bigger purchases, like snowsuits, car seats, strollers, or even the nursery room color scheme. You don’t want to be faced with having to push baby number two around in his big sister’s pink jogging stroller.
- On the other hand, if you’re not planning on having any more bundles of joy join your family, you should consider choosing furniture and nursery décor that will have some lasting power, such as a crib that converts into a toddler and/or full-sized bed as your baby grows.
- As for additional furniture, you won’t likely be rocking your baby to sleep for more than a year (at least we hope not), so see if any of your mom, other relatives or friends are willing to sell you or let you borrow their used rocker and glider.
If your baby is entering toddlerhood already, it’s likely that you’ll be looking to unload some of the things he or she has outgrown. As you clean house, keep in mind these ideas for repurposing your baby stuff:
- If you or someone in the family is handy, cribs can also be transformed into a number of things, from a porch bench to a kid’s work-station to a chalk board. Just head to Pinterest, and you’ll find all kinds of creative ideas.
- Save those containers. Baby food jars and plastic wipes boxes are the perfect sizes to store art supplies, Legos, card games, and other preschooler stuff that typically end up on the living room floor. You can also use them for your own storage in the garage (nails, screws) or kitchen (spices and salad dressings in the jars, and the wipes dispenser as a plastic grocery bag dispenser). Baby bottles also make good measuring cups, piggy banks, or another place to store craft items.
- Recycle burp clothes and bibs into cleaning supplies (except the ones with baby puke stains on them). Rags and dust clothes always come in handy when you’re cleaning, so why let those pricey spit-up collectors go to waste. Unused cotton nursing pads can be used for makeup removal as well.
- Don’t chuck all of those receiving blankets. They make perfect toppers on a changing pad, provide shade when draped over a stroller top, or can be attached to the bottom of a Swiffer for quick dusting. And, if your toddler likes playing with baby dolls, then they can be incorporating into the pretend play sessions. You can also find a bunch of uses for unused waterproof changing pads, such as a liquid catcher under your pet’s water bowl, or for when your older kids want to have some fun with watercolor paints.
- If you decided to purchase one of those stroller frames (the ones in which you pop in an infant carrier), you’ll get less than a year’s use out of it. However, if you have room to spare in your trunk, keep it for use as beach buggy to carry your blankets, towels, snacks, toys and more.
- Before you toss out all of those freezable teething toys, keep a few that are clean and in good condition to use as ice packs (aka boo-boo buddies), or to throw in an insulated bag when toting snacks or drinks to soccer practice.
For items that you can’t find a way to reuse, you can always try selling them to expecting parents, or donating them to someone in need rather than putting them straight into the trash.
Knowing that someone else can put the items to good use might even help ease the emotional pangs of saying goodbye to the baby stage.