Gift Wrap Declutter
Gift Wrap Declutter
Now is a good time to think about gift wrap and what you will be using this Christmas.
When I’m decluttering peoples homes I regularly come across stashes of leftover festive wrapping paper, tags and assorted bits of gift wrap that’s been completely forgotten about. Often the stash has been stored for years – even though it will probably never be used. Clients say that disposing of it feels wasteful. My view is that if it is not going to be used it is a waste anyway. If you also let it take up precious room in the bottom of the wardrobe, it means you are creating a double whammy for yourself!
My advice is to start from scratch. Pull out the stash, sort it and use up as much as you possibly can to wrap gifts this year. Anything that is left over – let it go. This means that next year you can enjoy wrapping presents without being surrounded by old bits of paper and gift tags you don’t really want to use anyway! If you really can’t bring yourself to dispose of it, then resist from buying any new wrappings until you have used up all of the old.
This Christmas give your wrapping paper the the ‘scrunch test’ to check if it can be recycled once it’s been used. Scrunch it in your hands. If it stays in a ball it can be recycled and put in the recycling bin, if it bounces back to it’s original shape, it can’t be recycled and will need to be put into general rubbish. Paper which contains foil, glitter or has lots of tape on it can’t be recycled either. Be mindful of this if you buy new paper – and buy recyclable wherever possible.
Each Christmas, 227,000 miles of wrapping paper ends up in UK rubbish bins
Gift wrap alternatives
There are alternatives to using shop bought paper. I sometimes use fabric to wrap presents as it’s fun, creative and if used responsibly, is a sustainable option.
Furoshiki is a Japanese art and involves using squares of fabric for carrying, storing and wrapping things. It’s a lovely way to wrap gifts, especially if you don’t have too many to wrap or for a special gift. It’s also perfect for wrapping oddly shaped items! If you do use fabric, make sure that it will be reused. If it is used once and discarded, the footprint is higher than using paper. So I either gift fabric to someone I know will make use of it, or it is given back to me for reuse.
Good old brown paper is another great alternative. It’s recyclable, compostable and can also be used to wrap presents throughout the year. A gift wrapped in brown paper is a blank canvas that can look beautiful with the addition of raffia and a sprig of festive foliage or good old string with a colourful button threaded through. A good excuse to put that button stash to use!
Old cards are another frequently saved item I come across. New ones are bought each year year without using up the excess from previous years. So they are left to take up much needed space in drawers and cupboards. My advice is the same – either use them or let them go.
Most Christmas cards are paper-based and can be recycled, along with envelopes. Embellishments such as ribbon cannot be recycled and should be removed first.
Cards that have been received in previous years are also saved by many people, even though they are seldom looked at again. When you take down cards at the end of the festive period, be really honest with yourself. If you are not going to look at or make use of them again – let them go. There are some people that will get creative with old Christmas cards but in my experience, they are few and far between. Many people have good intentions that are rarely put into practice – don’t be one of them!