Whenever I took my wallet out of my purse around friends or family, I used to get one comment: “You have a wallet like George Costanza.” It was stuffed with old receipts and cards (think Blockbuster membership cards, old New York Subway MetroCards and a 10-year-old gift card).
I haven’t heard such remarks in a bit, however. Why? I recently solved my overstuffed wallet problem, and created one of my daughter’s favorite toys in the process, using an upcycling trick that is today’s hint.
Here’s what I did: I took an old wallet that I haven’t used much and filled it with the expired and unneeded cards that were clogging up my day-to-day wallet. Then, I presented the “new” toy wallet to my daughter, telling her it was her wallet and her cards. She has loved it ever since, and it’s also a hit with her little friends whenever they come over.
To be sure, I’m not the first mom to think of this trick. Bloggers who are also advocates of the idea include Alice Callahan of Science of Mom, Suburbia Momma, Christie Burnett at Childhood 101, and Marketta Gregory at Simply Faithful.
Meanwhile, others have taken the concept a step further. Hellobee contributor Kaley Ann, for instance, shared the extremely clever “DIY activity wallet” idea, where you basically stuff an old wallet with activities for your little one like crayons and scraps of paper, and use it to keep your tot occupied when you’re traveling or on the go. The “DIY busy wallet” (like this one from blogger Acts of Grace) is a variation of the same idea.
In addition, as many of those mentioned above have noted, if don’t have an old wallet around your house, you can easily find a perfect one for the job at a thrift store or dollar store. And even a second hand wallet is likely to be cheaper than spending money on specially designed wallet and purse toys for toddlers.
Of course, my daughter’s new frugal non-toy toy is not without its downsides. For instance, while my daughter was recently playing with her cards, she started dropping the cards behind our couch. And once when she was playing with her wallet on the BART commuter train, we feared that pickpockets might think it was real and an easy target.
Finally, in case you’re wondering, the old receipts didn’t make it into my daughter’s wallet. They went into the trash. I don’t want to pass down the overstuffed wallet habit, though a wallet does make a great “organizer, a secretary and a friend.”
Share your experiences with toddlers and wallets below, as well as any other un-toy toy tips.