Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Repurposed Garage Sale Finds

I really wanted to give my daughter a dress up box, pretty and full of fun clothes to wear and imagine with. But, when I browsed the toy aisles, I couldn't find exactly what I wanted. Either all the clothes were princess-style, or they seemed to only focus on one style of dress up. Oh, and did I mention they were too expensive?!

So, I made my own. I found a gently used picnic basket at a garage sale and painted it a bright yellow. The color wasn't my first choice, but the can of paint only cost me $1 from Home Depot's discarded paint shelf.

Before and After

Then, I looked around consignment and thrift shops for things to fill the basket with. Her favorite items by far - the colored beaded necklaces and the blue tutu. In the picture to the right, she appears to be channeling an Arab woman, but notice the blue tutu is still there!

My total cost for the entire basket was about $6, once I included the dress up items. Plus, there is room to add a few more things that I might find along the way.

I was so glad I could do this inexpensively and still in a cute way. What have you been able to reuse or repurpose for your children?


  1. I'm sure there are things like that we have done - but I can't think of any specifics. Most of their toys/clothes/books all come from the thrift store or garage sales. They are both very creative so they tend to repurpose stuff on their own. Since the boy's obsession is war/soldiers/weapons - he will use anything to make one. He has a toy bow...the other day he made a paper quiver and used straws as arrows - they actually worked. So they tend to do stuff like that.

    One picnic basket we repurposed as a bicycle basket on my bike :) I wanted something large and heavy duty and with a lid for trips to the library or for a small grocery stop. It can easily be detached from the bike (it's on a rack at the back of the bike) and carried into the store. Works great! And I think it is large enough for 2 jugs of milk even :)

  2. I love the basket! So far Esme's dress up has consistly primarily of wearing Mommy's clothes and shoes! We're working on changing that, though.

    I did get a bunch of scarves (some silk) from thriftstores that work great as doll blankets or dress-up, and Esme loves beads and funky glasses, too. I'm looking for stuff with a range of ways to fasten - bows, velcro, buttons, snaps, etc. so she can practice that as well.

    And I think dress-up stuff is not only cheaper but better quality from thrift stores than you'd get in toy stores. Smart way to go.

    As for other stuff - I have been washing out the little applesauce cups and yogurt cups for Esme to use in her counting and scooping and craft sessions. Or to put paint in for painting, etc. And my husband is a general contractor, so I'm checking out his material scraps to see what we can use for toys/educational/craft there, too.

  3. I've been looking for a cheap, cute design for a homemade dress-up box and I love your repurposed basket! Thanks for sharing the idea!


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