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Fighting the Urge to Purge | Reusing Household Items

Since I found out that I was expecting baby #2, I have been on a real kick to reorganize and clean everything in my house (of course this is on the days where I don’t feel like crawling into my bed and hibernating).  The rest of the time I wind up chasing my toddler and wondering how I am going to survive two children under age two.

I have been fighting my urge to just purge everything in my house and am instead finding ways to reuse things. This has been fun and helps me ease my guilt every time I just want to take everything and pitch it.

So, here are a few tips I have for reusing stuff you may find around your house:

1. Old snack food boxes make great mailers for small items.

My brother visited us recently, and when I was cleaning out the guest room I noticed that he had left his shirt behind.  So, I folded it up and put it in an old Cheez-It box and stuck a few pieces of tape on it. Voila!  Instant mailer.  (Side note: Yes, I realize Cheez-Its aren’t particularly organic, but that was what the baby wanted.  Plus they have whole grains now.)

2. Use old baby clothes to make quilts, washcloths and “spit up” rags.

Speaking of baby issues, my son is almost seventeen months and is a rather large child (he wears a size 3T these days). While I do plan on reusing a fair amount of his layette for this child, regardless of gender, I have been wondering what to do with the clothing after this baby (who will more than likely be my last) is done using it.  While I will probably donate some of it, I was thinking maybe I would take some of my favorite outfits or the ones that had the most meaning, cut squares out of them, and make a quilt.  Another thought I had was that some of the softer, more stained items could probably be cut up to make washcloths. (Because, really, who doesn’t need more washcloths with a spitting baby?)

3. Repurpose baby wipe containers for storage or playtime. 

I have one or two baby wipe containers that I just buy the wipe refills and reuse the containers. However, my son enjoys putting smaller blocks and toys in them and taking them out.  They are also good storage for crayons or art supplies.

4. Save gift bags and gift wrap for reuse.

Gift bags and wrapping paper are easy to store, as they will fold flat, and then are easy to reuse.  I personally save every gift bag that I am given, tissue paper and all, unless they have a tear or a stain on them (in which case I usually just toss them in the recycling).  I am still giving away gift bags from my baby shower, which was well over a year and a half ago.  I haven’t had to buy a gift bag in years. 

5. Use old envelopes for “To Do” lists.

I got this habit from my mother, who saved and reused everything.  When I finish paying the bills I will take the envelopes that they come in and save them for making grocery or to-do lists.  (Of course, another way to eliminate this sort of waste completely is to go paperless, which is an option that a lot of credit card and utility companies offer these days). 

6. When you must purge, donate to a good cause.

I did mention donating clothes, and one thing I did was clean out my closet and fill two trash bags full of stuff to donate.  I know a lot of donations go to Goodwill and places like that, but I plan on donating mine to my local domestic violence shelter.  Clothing is always in need at these places.

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[author_info]About the Author

Amanda Romine Lynch is the Prime Parents’ Club’s Green Living Contributor.  She was forced to re-evaluate her lifestyle choices after her son had a reaction to disposable diapers, and has been finding ways to go green and save green ever since.  She is also an unpublished author who loves to read and write.  You can find her on her blog at, on Facebook, or on Twitter as @thebookprincess.



Amanda Romine Lynch is the Prime Parents’ Club Green Living Contributor. She was forced to re-evaluate her lifestyle choices after her son had a reaction to disposable diapers, and has been finding ways to go green and save green ever since. She is also the author of ANABEL UNRAVELED, which is available on Amazon and its sequel ANABEL DIVIDED. You can find her on Facebook at Facebook, or on Twitter as @thebookprincess.

1 Comment

  1. rockle

    July 12, 2011 at 8:40 am

    my mother is still — 30+ years later — using our old cloth diapers as dust rags. no, seriously. and i loved using baby wipe boxes to make a “travel box” for my daughter when we’d visit my parents, about an hour away — a couple of small toys and board books fit in there nicely. now we use them to store my little pony accessories.

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