Are you on the Holiday Clutter Monster naughty list? Get back in Santa’s good graces by being thoughtful and mindful about reducing the waste you generate this year.
Household waste increases by more than 25% from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, according to Stanford University's Waste Reduction, Recycling, Composting and Solid Waste Program. Here are a few things you can do to help the planet -
Make room for new gifts. Take a good look at things you really don’t use! Sort through and purge things like clothing, kitchen pantry items, old coats, stuff hidden in the back of your garage or attic. Donate early to make room for the treasures still to come.
Gift Giving with Intention. Be mindful of the gifts you give to friends, family, and
colleagues. Consider experiences, consumables, or items that are genuinely needed or wanted to avoid unnecessary clutter. Here are some great Clutter Free Christmas ideas.
Digital Gifting. Instead of a physical present, consider giving digital gifts this year and reduce the clutter associated with traditional gifts. Look at this bunch of gift ideas, ranging from cooking classes, guitar lessons, a mindfulness app, an audiobook subscription, or even a Costco card.
Also great for those last-minute shoppers or anyone who hates dealing with the crowds and traffic in retail stores.
Trees. The National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) estimates that around 25 to 30 million real Christmas trees are sold annually in the U.S. The majority are used for holiday decorations and are eventually discarded after the Christmas season. How to recycle trees, according to the NCTA.
Create Designated Storage Areas. Designate specific storage areas for holiday decorations, wrapping supplies, and seasonal items, so you know where to find everything painlessly. Clearly label containers to make it easier to find items in the future and remember to get containers that are easily stackable.
Here are some great organizing products (scroll to bottom), selected for their durability, good design, and ease of use.
Streamline and Reduce Gift Wrapping. Americans spend $2.6 billion on gift wrap each
year, much of which can’t be recycled because it has a plastic coating for sparkle and shine.
Here are some Zero Waste gift wrapping ideas. If every American family wrapped just three presents in reusable materials, it would save enough wrapping paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
Share the Love. Reduce the influx of “stuff” during the holidays by making charitable contributions instead.
Make a Charity Choice helps you give a gift card to the charity of your choice, and Charity Gift Cards let a gift giver to make a charitable donation that the recipient can direct to the charity of their choice.
Leftovers. Many local shelters, food banks or charities will accept leftover food from your holiday feasts and parties. The Shadow Chef has several suggestions on how to find a place near you. Any leftover ingredients that were unneeded in your meal preparations can be donated to community members in need.
Practice Gratitude. Take a moment to appreciate what you have and express gratitude for the gifts you receive. Being grateful for what you have helps you be more thoughtful and mindful about new items you bring into your home.
Check out some more ways to reduce your environmental impact this holiday season.
Remember, the holidays are a time for joy and connection, so finding a balance that works for you and your loved ones is important. Enjoy the season by being intentional about how you celebrate and feel good about knowing you’ve done your part to reduce clutter and waste.
By making small, incremental changes, we’re not only acting on our values, we’re also creating new traditions to pass on to the next generation.
Wishing You and Yours a Very Happy Holiday season!