Happy Thanksgiving, Reduction Rebels! Just wondering, are you contemplating going out shopping tomorrow? I thought about doing a post on how to avoid Black Friday, but the people who moderately participate in Black Friday, for the most part enjoy it. I know because it’s a tradition I have with my mother. We head out around 7am with an itinerary and a hot beverage. Around 9am we stop for breakfast and regroup. Then we finish off around 1pm.
Then I lug my reusable bags full of presents into my house. My boys are so very eager to help, hoping to catch a glimpse of something for them.
All that’s left is wrapping…because there is no way I’m going to stand in line to get my purchases gift wrapped even if it’s free. So this brings me to the real challenge of the season: wrapping all those presents. Since gift wrapping can be such an effort of storing, organizing and looking for eco-friendly alternatives, I called on some expert organizers to share their secrets!
Reduce Gift Wrap with these Green Alternatives
Bob Sadowski from At A Glance shared the clever idea of “recycling” calendars. You can use two elements of the calendar for this purpose. First, you can tear off the numbered days pages and creatively circle or highlight particular dates on the wrapped gift. Plus, it simply looks unique and inventive even without calling out a day. Second, if you have a decorative calendar, you can use the actual photos or graphics pages for exterior wrapping paper. This would be much more detailed and special than store-bought themed paper. (e.g., you have a Harry Potter fan—the roll of Harry Potter paper from the gift store is nice, but when put next to the glossy, high-resolution print of a Harry Potter decorative calendar, there’s no comparison). This helps ensure more storage space, less clutter and the good feeling that you’re recycling.
Susan Sant from Organize 31 uses a lot of fabric gift bags that are reusable and I reuse paper gift bags and cloth ribbon and that she was given. She also repurposes cards that we are given and make gift tags from them.
To reduce gift wrap clutter, Susan is moving towards solid color and generic wrapping paper that can be used for multiple ages, genders and occasions. “I have the general occasion paper on one side of the bottom tray and the Christmas paper on the other side. I recommend choosing 2-3 solid colors for wrapping paper.” You can use different ribbons to personalize the gift.
How to Organize Wrapping Paper, Ribbons and Bows
Jamie Shaner from Home Solutions of WNY said the biggest tip she has for people is to gather “like with like” and keep it all in one place – tissue, gift bags, ribbon, bows, paper – and create a system that will store all your wrapping needs. The one exception she’d make is for Christmas – often those supplies are in greater quantity and can be stored with holiday decorations rather than in with the rest of the gift wrapping supplies.
Another helpful idea from At A Glance is to set up your “craft” room as a wrapping station. Get the look and feel of a department store wrapping department using a pegboard and heavy twine or string to hang rolls of holiday paper on the wall, enabling you to pull out and cut how much you need. This leaves less clutter on the floor and a clear table for you to wrap gift after gift.
Best Storage Solutions for Gift Wrap
To reduce waste when storing your wrapping paper, Jamie Sharer suggested slitting a toilet paper tube and using that to keep a roll of paper from unrolling. It works so much better than a rubber band or tape, because those tend to rip or otherwise damage the wrapping paper.
Use an expanding file to store wrapping accessories, says Bob from At A Glance. You can create separate tabs and arrange items like gift tags, small and large holiday cards, and gift lists so that they are all easy to find and access.
Both Jamie and Susan are fans of long, low, under-the-bed storage bins that can also be used in the bottom of a linen or hall closet. You can compartmentalize bows, ribbons, tags, tape, etc. using smaller bins within the larger bin then slip it out of the way when not in use.