Decluttering Gift Wrap


This is also an excellent time of year to look through your gift wrap. I frequently come across large stashes of paper, ribbon, bows and labels that will not be used, but that the owner does not want to get rid of because they feel it is wasteful. If you are not going to use it, it is a waste regardless of whether it clogs up your home. Let the excess wrapping go and enjoy the experience of wrapping without being buried by paper. If you truly cannot bring yourself to do this, then put a moratorium this year on buying any new paper until you have used what you have already and if this makes you sad, you know what I am going to say! With wrapping paper, it’s worth making sure that you buy paper that passes the “Scrunch Test” which means that it can be recycled once it is used. I have friends who use fabric to wrap rather than paper and they do this for environmental reasons. Do make sure if you are going down this route that the fabric will be reused as if it is just used once and discarded, then the footprint is much higher than for paper – better just to use recyclable paper in that situation. The people I know who use fabric successfully send the same piece of fabric back and forth between them each year, or simply gather the fabric up once it has been used and take it back to use it again.


On the subject of wrapping paper, with 4 children in this home, Father Christmas is rather clever and wraps each child’s stocking presents in a different colour of paper. I’ve always rather admired the way that this means that there is no need to use lots of extra labels and I wonder whether it’s because he probably wraps presents with a glass of mulled wine in hand, so the different colours prevent any confusion… The wrapping paper colours have been kept consistent over the years too, so often there will be two different types of paper in a stocking, where one has been run out of, and the other started, but so long as they are the same base colour (red, green, purple and white), it is all good.


Christmas cards are similar to wrapping paper in the stashes that I find. Every year, people buy new ones and the excess from last year lies unused for the next decade. Either use these cards, or let them go. When it comes to cards that people have received, again, it is not that unusual for me to find stacks of them reaching back into the past. Please be honest with yourself when you take the cards down at the end of the Christmas period about whether or not you are actually going to look at these cards again, and if you are not, then let them go. I know that there are people out there who make beautiful tags or art out of their old Christmas cards, but the people who actually do this (as opposed to just intending to) are vanishingly rare. Please don’t let your legacy be piles of old Christmas cards!