10 Tips for Reducing Holiday Waste + Holiday Gift Ideas

10 Tips for Reducing Holiday Waste + Holiday Gift Ideas:

1. Visit a local thrift store or reuse center for creative holiday gift wrap and decorations.

Check out places such as the East Bay Center for Creative Reuse in Oakland, California for fun holiday decorations and creative gift wrap ideas & supplies that were once loved and are ready for another round.

2. Reuse gift wrap & packing or mailing materials.

When unwrapped carefully, gift wrap can be used more than once. You can also reuse and repurpose delivery boxes and packing materials. If you don’t regularly receive packages yourself, go onto your local Nextdoor.com and check around for unwanted packing or mailing boxes and materials.

3. Make a phone call.

Instead of buying cards, stamps and taking time to write and mail notes each year, make a quick telephone call to friends and loved ones to wish them a happy holiday. Save paper, a stamp, and rediscover why they’re special in the first place.

4. Compost holiday food leftovers.

It’s easy and turns into great fertilizer. Most outdoor green waste bins are also for food compost. Here is a recycling and composting guide for Alameda County residents living in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Check with your local waste management department for more information if you are not within Alameda County.

5. Wrap creatively.

Use newspaper, old maps, pages from your college notebook (it’s about time you let them go,) fabric scraps, cereal boxes. It’s finally cool to reuse and recycle.

6. Give the gift of time or talent. 

Make your own gift certificates and offer a personal or professional skill.

7. Keep it simple and useful. 

Prevent your gifts from being re-gifted! Give a gift card to their favorite market or restaurant, or a pre-paid cash card and let them choose exactly what they want from wherever. They will think of you every time they use it.

8. Service-based gifts create less waste than product-based gifts. 

Very few people want to clean or organize their own home and would prefer someone else to do it. Give your child and their room or your partner or friend and their clutter a gift certificate for a professional Bella Organizing half or full-day organizing session. Call (510) 229-7321 for more information and ideas on how to pick a gift card amount for the services they would appreciate.

9. Plan previously-loved or homemade exchanges.

Set up a swap with friends, family or co-workers with a focus on re-use, re-purposing or homemade gifts: used books, a garden plant in a tin can, COOKIES!

10. Bring out the fancy dinnerware.

Yes, this is the time. Do not be afraid to use the nice dishes, glasses and inherited silverware instead of disposable ware. Otherwise, why are you keeping it around?

Isabella Guajardo, also known as Girl With A Truck™, is a professional home organizer and a member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO). Based in Oakland, California, she travels in her truck to work with clients throughout the SF Bay Area, sharing simple and creative ways to stay organized while reducing, recycling and re-purposing. Join Bella Organizing on Facebook and Instagram. Gift certificates are available.

Call (510) 229-7321 to schedule a complimentary telephone consultation.