When I was a kid, I lived about five minutes away from my grandma. When she’d come over to our house (which was pretty often, thankfully), she’d always try to tidy up. Her strategy for keeping things organized? “Just put it in a plastic!” (said in a high-pitched voice with a New York accent) She’d bring over random plastic bins and insist that if we’d only put our stuff in them, our playroom would be organized and everything would be right in the world.
All these years later, trying to keep my home organized, I find myself “putting things in a plastic” pretty often. For the larger spaces, yes, I purchase the bins, but for the smaller items, I almost never do. Many of the items we purchase come inside rigid, durable plastic containers. If we kept every single one of them, we’d likely have random containers filling every inch of our homes. But by keeping some of them and putting them to another use, we can do our part to keep these containers from going straight to the landfill, while saving some money at the same time. I mean, the stuff at The Container Store isn’t cheap, right?!
One of the easiest “single-use” plastic containers to repurpose? A baby wipes container! Strong and sturdy with a snap-top lid. Here are some ways to creative ways to put them to good use once you no longer need them to hold wipes:
FOR THE LITTLE ONES:
Holder for Small Toys
Want to stop stepping on Legos? Yeah, me too. And Shopkins, and Polly Pockets, and beads, and… The wipes box works really nicely for storing these kinds of things. One way to up the game is to mark the outside with the contents inside. Have a label maker? That’s a great tool to use for kiddos learning how to read. For example, you’d write “Star Wars Lego Set” if you’re in my house. Not learning to read just yet but still want them to learn to clean up their toys? Print a picture of what’s inside and tape it to the container to help them out.
Let your little one decorate it up with stickers and make it their own. I mean, stickers make all kids happy, right? Actually I’m not a kid and they make me pretty happy too. And let’s be honest, so does money. Stickers + Saving Money = WIN
Storage for Sidewalk Chalk
Inevitably the chalk will end up in little pieces because they’ll use them down to the nubs or break them. A closed container like this, as opposed to a wire basket or another one that’s open in some way, will keep those smaller pieces contained nicely.
Travel Art Kit
Nobody wants to get stuck at a restaurant without something to entertain the little ones. I mean, if you’re out at a restaurant, I’m just going to go ahead and assume that you’d like to enjoy yourself. Having a bored child on your hands is one way to ensure that you will not enjoy yourself. So fill that little wipes holder with crayons and stickers and small pieces of paper and maybe even one of those mini activity books they sell at the dollar store to make sure there’s always something entertaining to rely upon.
First Aid Kit for the Car
I’m a klutz, and unfortunately my little apple did not fall far from my tree. So band-aids, cleaners, and antibiotic ointment have to be with us whenever we go to the park. Or walk on a sidewalk. Or go to the grocery store. Ok, basically anywhere with a ground or walls.
“Neverending Wipes Box”
Activity Now this one is my absolute favorite and was shared by my friends at Curious Baby Cards. Please see the section below this list for how it works and how to make it.
FOR THE HOME:
Just take those lids off and use the bottom portions as organizers for deeper drawers. They’re perfect for a drawer in an end table where we tend to keep random things. For those who keep their sock and underwear drawers all neat and tidy (I am not one of those people!), these make great dividers for keeping the items in neat little compartments.
There are a couple of ways to go about this. I use one to store my everyday makeup. Not that I wear makeup every day, but you know the kind I’m talking about. If you have a Zoom and want to look like you’re actually rested—that kind of makeup. The I keep another container for my fancier makeup. That one just gets stored in the bathroom cabinet and taken out once in a blue moon, so I like to keep it separate. For those who have lots of fun makeup like multiple shades of blush, all different colors of eye shadow, and tons of cute lipsticks, you can use one wipes container for each category to prevent everything from getting all jumbled.
Nail Polish Storage
I never use the nail polish I have. 99% of the time my nails are sadly bare. But since I like the idea of having polish on my nails, I keep those pretty polishes on standby. The wipes container is a great keeper for them.
Hair Accessory Container
Hair elastics, barrettes, stretchy headbands, bows…whatever’s you jam. A wipes container holds them all nicely.
Yes, I know you’re probably saving recipes digitally these days, but you may have some old recipe cards that you just can’t bear to throw out. For example, my grandma used to write her recipes on index cards. While most of these recipes were copied out of the New York Times, she transcribed them. So those little cards have her handwriting on them, and for me, that’s one way to hold on to a piece of her. She passed away many years ago, and while I don’t need “things” to keep her memory alive in my heart and mind, I do love the smile I get every time I see her writing.
Does your baby like the wipes box…with the wipes inside them? I’d imagine yes. I’I bet you’ve caught them trying to pull out and waste perfectly good wipes. And while I don’t like waste, I do like encouraging babies to work on their fine motor skills (pincer grasp in this case) and learning object permanence (Where did the fabric go? Is it still there when it’s inside the box?). That’s what this activity shared by Curious Baby Cards does (4-5 months and up). Bonus: it’s super easy to create!
Fabric pieces (bandanas, scarves, fabric scraps, Clean Bees [wink, wink]
How to Make It:
Take the top of the wipes case off and cut the opening under the snap lid to make it big enough for your baby’s hand to reach through. Put the pieces of fabric into the box and put the lid back on.
Let your baby practice pulling them out. That’s it! GOLD. Related note, Curious Baby Cards are seriously awesome and so is their Instagram. I found this info on her feed, and I suggest visiting to find more.