How to Recycle Baby and Kid Items

Five Methods:Saving Baby and Kid ItemsSelling Baby and Kid ItemsDonating Baby and Kid ItemsRepurposing Outgrown Clothing and EquipmentRecycling Packaging Materials

Infants, toddlers, and young children seem to require so much special gear – clothing and furniture that get quickly outgrown, toys that get discarded after a few months, and equipment designed for specific developmental stages. Fortunately, there are many ways to give these items a “second life.” Start with Step 1 to learn more.

Method 1
Saving Baby and Kid Items

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    Consider keeping items in good condition. If you plan to have more children, you may decide to keep your clothing and equipment for the future. Even if you do not have more children, you can save certain items for your future grandchildren – particularly special articles of clothing, like christening gowns, and favorite toys and blankets.
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    Keep bigger, pricier items in storage. If you plan to have more children, it might be worthwhile to store larger items like cribs, highchairs, strollers, and infant furniture. If you have room in your house or garage, that’s great; if not, consider renting a small storage unit.
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    Store clothing carefully. Wash each article of clothing before storing, and then fold it neatly and sort it into a plastic tub or cardboard box, organizing by size and (if applicable) season.
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    Wash bottles, nipples, and pacifiers thoroughly. These items can carry bacteria, so it’s important to clean them thoroughly before storing.
    • Keep in mind that before you use these items again, you will have to inspect them carefully. Rubber can rot over time, and these items don’t always hold up in storage.

Method 2
Selling Baby and Kid Items

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    Choose items that are in good condition. Reselling children’s clothing and equipment is a simple way to make a little extra money while passing useful items to parents who need them. Keep in mind, though, that you should only sell items that are in good condition – clean and functional, with no missing parts.
    • A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself whether you would buy the item, if you were in the market for it. If not, it’s probably best to donate or otherwise repurpose it.
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    Check local ordinances regarding garage sales. If you have a lot of clothing and equipment to sell, you might consider holding a garage sale on your own property. Before you do so, you should check the laws and guidelines in your area. Some neighborhoods require you to purchase a permit; others might restrict the days and times that such sales can take place.
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    Advertise your garage sale. For the best possible turnout, you should advertise your sale at least a week or two in advance. Post clear, eye-catching signs in your neighborhood, or place ads in your local newspaper.
    • Keep in mind that buyers often plan their routes in advance, and they may show up very early to ensure they have the best opportunity to purchase your items. If you need to cancel or change the date of your sale, it’s polite to take down your notices and place an apology notice on your property.
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    Arrange your items in an organized fashion. To make your items as accessible and appealing as possible, organize them neatly and attractively. A few suggestions:
    • Organize clothing according to size and gender.
    • Place a sticker on each item, marked clearly with the price.
    • Alternatively, use color-coded stickers, and have a printed price sheet handy that shows each color’s designated price.
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    Consider secondhand stores. If you have only a few items to sell, or you have some items left after a garage sale, take your items to a secondhand store or consignment shop. You may have to try several different stores before you find one that will take your items. Store policies vary, but in general:
    • Consignment shops will take items likely to sell and have to fill out paperwork so that they can reach you if and when someone purchases them. You will only make money if an items sells.
    • Secondhand stores will often pay you a fair price up front, then sell the items at a higher price to make a profit.
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    Try selling online. In addition to garage sales and secondhand stores, you can put your items up for sale online. Various sites, including eBay, function to connect buyers and sellers. A quick search for “sell baby clothes online” will generate a list of these sites.
    • Some people will meet in person to make the sale – this is often the case on sites like Craigslist. However, it can be safer, easier, and more convenient to let a site serve as the middleman, handling everything by mail and making sure no one is cheated.

Method 3
Donating Baby and Kid Items

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    Give your items to needy friends and relatives. If you have friends or family members who are pregnant or have small children, consider passing your baby and kid items along to them. This way, the items can be used more than once.
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    Donate to a local charity. Another way to give a second life to your gently used baby and kid items is to give them away to a local charity. Consider local churches, food banks, and shelters, as well as the well-known national charity organizations.
    • One of the benefits of giving your items to a charity is that you can be sure they will go to a family in need. This is especially true after a national disaster or other emergency, when many people lose their homes or can no longer afford to purchase necessary clothing and equipment.
    • Contact organizations to find out what their policies are. Some will even pick up your items for you.
    • Don’t forget to get a receipt. When you donate valuable items to a charity, you may be able to claim a deduction on your tax return.
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    Find a child care center that can use your items. Another alternative is to give your baby and kid items to a local preschool, child care center, or home day care. Depending on individual regulations, these places may want your clothing and equipment.
    • Many child care centers have a need for baby and toddler clothing, as young children often have accidents and need to be changed.

Method 4
Repurposing Outgrown Clothing and Equipment

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    Make a patchwork quilt. Cut rectangular pieces of fabric from outgrown clothing and blankets, and sew them together to make a quilt. Some children really enjoy touching the various textures and seeing all of the different colors and patterns, even if they don’t remember wearing or using the items themselves.
    • If parts of the clothes are too small – like socks – sew them onto one of the other patches.
    • These quilts make excellent heirlooms. Consider keeping a record of which patches came from where.
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    Give outgrown clothing to your children to use for their toys. Baby clothes make excellent clothing for larger dolls and stuffed toys.
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    Sew new doll clothes. To make new doll clothes from outgrown baby clothes, simply measure the doll, cut a piece of fabric from the old clothing, and cut slits for the neck, sleeves, and pant legs. Then sew the parts together.
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    Clean the house. Old cloth diapers, cotton blankets, and t-shirts can be used as cleaning rags.
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    Use old baby bottles as measuring cups. Bottles are marked with measurements, so you can easily use them for liquids during cooking and baking.
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    Oil a squeaky door. Baby bottles can also be used to lubricate squeaky doors. Pour oil into an old baby bottle, and attach a nipple. Because it dispenses a small amount of liquid and easily fits into hard-to-reach areas, you can easily use this to lubricate door hinges. After doing so, move the door to the left and right to distribute the oil.
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    Convert your crib to a cot. If your child has outgrown the crib, you can repurpose it for a toddler. Remove the part of the crib with the bars, so that your child can climb in without any obstacles.
    • Be sure to remove excess parts and redundant screws, and don’t let your child use the bed until you have sanded it smooth and repainted it.
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    Turn your crib into a bench. You can also convert a crib into a bench. Remove only one side, and take out the mattress. Replace the footer with a stronger board, and repaint it all in one color.
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    Build a work table. Another use for an outgrown crib is a work table. Check to make sure the crib is the appropriate height. Remove the mattress and footer, and replace it with glass or a stronger board.
    • If the table is too low, you can extend the legs of the crib and place the work surface above. Use the space beneath for storage.
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    Repurpose wheels from your child’s stroller. You can use the wheels of a stroller to build a trailer for your children to play with. Use planks to build the trailer in the form of a box. Attach the wheels with screws.
    • Keep in mind that the length of the trailer must be sufficient for the wheels to rotate freely. The width can be any measure.

Method 5
Recycling Packaging Materials

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    Store crayons in old formula cans. Clean, empty formula cans make excellent storage containers for crayons (or markers or colored pencils). If desired, you can cut strips of paper or fabric and use them to decorate the can.
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    Make a piggy bank. You can also use a formula can as a piggy bank. Cut a slot into the center of the lid for money, then secure the lid. Decorate as desired.
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    Use baby food jars for storage. Baby food jars are transparent, so they make great storage containers for small items. Use them for buttons, beads, thumbtacks, paper clips, and anything else you can think of.
    • Baby food jars work especially well for spices. Be sure to label them clearly.
    • Alternatively, use them to store paints.
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    Use wet wipes boxes to store various supplies. The boxes from wet wipes can be used to store makeup, hair accessories, first aid supplies, arts and crafts materials, and anything else that fits.
    • Since these boxes are made from plastic, which is waterproof, you can also use them to store family photos or important documents.


  • Be creative! Even if you can’t easily sell or donate your items, you can probably find ways to reuse or repurpose them.


  • Remember that your child’s safety is paramount. If you use old baby and kid items to build new toys or pieces of furniture, you need to make sure that these new items are safe, with no choking hazards or other potential dangers.

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Categories: Reduce Recycle and Reuse