The steady stream of stuff diabetes care requires can seem endless! From ordering to organizing to upcycling leftovers, six moms share ideas for managing their stash.
“I use the plastic test strip vials for art supply storage. They’re great for keeping tiny beads and sequins under control. I’ve even used them as glitter shakers by filling the vials with glitter and then poking holes in the lid with a thick sewing needle so the sparkly stuff shakes out a little at a time.”
–Janet, Tulsa, Okla., mom of an 8-year-old daughter
“After my son Jake was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I couldn’t help but notice the amount of waste that came along with managing it — insulin syringe caps, test strips, test strip canisters, pump cartridges and more! Right from the beginning, I saved glucometer computer chips and the rest of the ‘garbage’ to potentially make into something more valuable. Once we got in the groove of managing Jake’s diabetes, I began making the landfill-bound beauties into jewelry to sell and giving 100 percent of the profit to the JDRF for type 1 diabetes research.”
-Jen, Washington, D.C., mom of a 3-year-old son
“Using a mail-order service to purchase ninety days’ worth of diabetes supplies has saved me so much time, since there’s no more waiting in line. Plus, I save gas by not having to drive to and from the pharmacy every few weeks. They even send the insulin in cool packs, which gives me peace of mind.”
-Lauren, Marfa, Texas, mom of a 4-year-old son
“Discarded plastic test-strip vials are great for geocaching — a treasure-hunting game where you use a GPS to hide and seek containers with other players. My son loves it! The vials are durable enough to withstand the weather all year round, and they’re the perfect size for creating a ‘microcache,’ which holds a small log sheet and a pencil stub.”
-Angelica, Bentonville, Ark., mom of a 9-year-old son
“After getting completely overwhelmed by the amount of supplies we had strewn all over the house, we finally designated an entire kitchen cabinet to diabetes supplies. There, we keep my daughter’s test strips, pump supplies, lancets, alcohol prep wipes, syringes, and glucose tablets. I even attached an emergency kit for severely low blood sugar to the inside of the door using Velcro® for easy access. Above that, I tape blood sugar logs or any appointment reminders or to-do lists. We would be lost without our diabetes cabinet!”
-Diana, La Mirada, Calif., mom of an 11-year-old daughter
“My daughter’s used insulin bottles make wonderful hummingbird feeders! They’re so easy to make. Remove the metal band, labeling, and rubber stopper from an insulin bottle. Clean the bottle in hot soapy water to remove all insulin. Put a small plastic flower with a center hole (sold as a hummingbird feeder replacement part) in the open end of the bottle and fill with about 12 ml of nectar. Wrap the bottle with copper wire and hang from a shady tree branch. The hungry hummingbirds in my yard drink the nectar so fast, I sometimes have to refill the feeders two to three times a day!”
-Janet, Plymouth, Minn., mom of a 14-year-old daughter
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring.
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