When my son was little, I used to encourage him to use things for what they were designed to do. This sounds terribly non-imaginative, or as if I were stifling his creativity, but children need to be limited. He’d use a piece of meatloaf as a
bookmark, or a pair of scissors as a pancake cutting tool. Particularly if he’d just used them to trim pyracantha plants (which are poisonous.)
Luckily, my son lived to become an adult and is leading a happy life in his own house. One of my joys in life is finding multiple, rational uses for tools or products. In this case, the product is something called a Pee Pad, which is a training aid for puppies. I have a cat who’s paper trained. Don’t ask.
I found a big box of the 20-inch plastic-backed pads for an amazing price, and have found great uses for them that do not involve cats or pee. These pads don’t smell, and aren’t treated in any way.
1. Put them in your lap to protect your pants/skirt/dress from glue, paint, or glitter. Tiny bits seem to adhere to the fabric-like surface.
2. Clip them around your kid’s necks with a clothespin (if you are older) or binder clip (if you are younger) to keep them clean during art projects or messy meals, depending on their age.
3. Just scrubbed the counters? Unpack your wet chicken packages, drippy berries, or leaking milk onto these to keep the counter clean.
4. Use as a big napkin for breakfast in bed. Catches drips, saves the percales. Also good for eating cookies or popcorn in bed. Just fold and put on the floor, you can shake it out and re-use the next day. No more crumbs in bed!
5. Use them for a lobster feast! The plastic backing keeps your clothes from getting buttered better than a napkin.
6. Take a few on trips. Budget hotel doesn’t have a bathmat? Use this. Eating at a park picnic table that hasn’t been scrubbed in a while? Use them as placemats. Going to eat in the car? Use as lapkins (napkins in your lap).
7. Wearing black this season? Pin one around your neck when you are dressed, but still need to put on your makeup. All that powdery foundation, eye shadow and blush won’t have to be brushed from your bosom.
You never know how useful something is until you have a lot of them.
–Quinn McDonald is a writer and artist. She has a cat who is paper-trained.