The holidays are just around the corner, and with that comes the stress of thinking of gifts for every person on your list, buying all those gifts, entertaining obligations, mountains of trash, and the clutter of more toys and things in the house after the holidays.
And yet the holidays shouldn’t be about clutter and stress, right? They are really meant to take a moment and spend more time with our family and friends.
So let’s change things this year.
We can make a conscious decision to not get sucked into the stress of the holidays, and the stress of buying things that just add to landfills later.
Do you want to live a more sustainable, stress-free life?
6 Tips to Declutter, Reuse, and Live a More Sustainable Life
1. Declutter your linen closet
Donate old towels and washcloths to an animal shelter or drop them into a clothing collection bin.
2. Declutter your closet
Cut up old and stained T-shirts to use as rags.
3. Reuse toilet paper rolls for kids crafts
If you need time to get some of your holiday chores done, and need to keep the kids occupied, fill a table full of markers, cardboard, toilet paper rolls, tape, stickers, and any other crafts supplies you have at hand.
Make it a game: ask your kids to come up with something creative, and tell them they can’t ask you for help for half an hour. Even better, have them make gift cards or tags you’ll use for holiday gift wrapping.
4. Declutter your mailbox
Save resources and gain valuable time from not having to look through junk mail anymore:
- opt out of junk mail via the Direct Marketing Association’s mail preferences service
- opt out of prescreened credit and insurance offers at OptOutPrescreen.
5. Reuse fabric, newspaper, wall paper, and string for gift wrapping and crafts
Here is a little challenge for you: don’t by any new gift wrapping supplies this year — use or reuse what you already have in the house.
If you are not into gift wrapping, just cover the gift with tissue paper and reuse gift bags, or use brown paper bags and pretty ribbon.
I love wrapping gifts and don’t throw away supplies I might be able to reuse. I have extra wall paper, magazine ads, a vintage Sears catalog, old children’s books, and ribbons to wrap gifts.
6. Eat a mostly plant-based diet
A mostly plant-based diet is another way to live in a more sustainable way — raising cattle and chicken is a huge drain on our environment, adds high amounts of pesticides to our lives and antibiotics into our diets and water supplies, among other negative effects.
We drink almond milk in our home as part of our vegetarian, plant-based diet, and Landon and I recently reused a carton to make a lantern for him.
We cut off the bottom of the carton, leaving an inch of the sides, and another 1-inch strip for the top of the lantern. Then we took parchment paper and clued on tissue paper pieces.
We glued that paper around the bottom part of the carton and the extra strip to the top of the paper, and I reused one of those ties new toys come with sometimes to use as a handle for the lantern.
After we added a stick from our yard and a flame-less candle, we had a handmade lantern.
We can all make an impact on our environment with small changes like eliminating waste and reusing and upcycling materials.
How do you make a difference? I’d love to hear your tips.