Friday, December 9, 2011

Declutter: Creative wrapping solutions

Gift wrap - what an environmentally unfriendly material!  Wrapping paper can't be recycled because of the coating they use on the paper.  I know it is so pretty.  I happen to love wrapping gifts, probably more than buying them or having them opened.  I just think they look so nice clustered together, like little bundles of loves.  BUT, I am sure that there are ways to create beautiful gifts without using gift wrap. 

I got the first idea from my client, Jodie Wilson, who, like many of us, is overrun with reusable bags.  When she mentioned this idea I thought: "What a wonderful way to create some holiday cheer, save money and declutter your home all at the same time!"  I then put my thinking cap on and came up with a couple of other ways of green-wrapping your gifts this holiday season.
  1. Broken reusable gift bags - Who doesn't have a pile of reusable shopping bags?  That's what I thought - no one.  They are becoming worse than plastic bags.  And then they break, but you don't want to throw them out because that undermines their "reusable" spirit.  So they are consigned to your junk closet shoved into a pile until you finally get fed up and throw the whole lot out.  Instead of doing this, cut the sides open so they lay flat and use them for wrapping paper.  Tie your package up with some pretty ribbon and voila!
  2. Leftover wallpaper - Wallpaper suffers from the same problem as wrapping paper - the various coatings used to increase the strength of the paper make it challenging to recycle.  Chances are that if you have wallpapered anywhere in your home there is a roll or two hanging around, and probably not enough to use again as wallpaper.  Take that old roll and repurpose it as gift wrap!  To make your wrapping extra green, attach a little note to your present letting the receiver know that the wrapping material is great for a scrapbook cover because of its durability. 
  3. Old t-shirts - Who doesn't have an old t-shirt lying around?  Every time I volunteer for a fundraiser I get an extra large, mostly white, sponsor logo covered shirt that I will never wear.  A great use for these shirts is to cut them open and wrap presents in them.  Again to increase the green credit, instruct the receiver that they can cut the t-shirt into smaller squares and use the resulting rags for polishing appliances, silverware, and electronics.  Cotton t-shirts do a wonderful job of this.
  4. A present in a present - The best and greenest wrapping choices are to wrap a present in a present.  For example, if you are giving someone an apron, wrap the rest of their present in the apron!  If they are getting a pair of oven gloves, shove the rest of their present in the oven glove!  Figure out how to use the present to wrap the present, wind some ribbon around the whole deal and off to the races you go!
I would love to hear other ideas people have about green wrapping!  How do you celebrate the color and sparkle of wrapping while keeping the planet in mind?  Send me an email with your ideas to