T’was the week after Christmas, and in every room, piles of used paper and empty boxes did loom. The stockings were poured by the chimney with abandon, while the new toys the kids got were strewn about at random.
Does this sound like your house right about now? The frantic rush to acquire new things in the lead-up to the holidays too often results in the need for a post-holiday purge. Before you succumb to the temptation to throw all of that clutter into one giant dumpster, though, don’t forget that timeless maxim of frugality: waste not, want not.
Instead of doing your part to pack a landfill this holiday season, consider ways to repurpose your waste. Here are some suggestions:
– Recycle. Most communities now have recycling centers, and some even provide a separate curbside pickup for recyclable waste. The types of materials accepted varies from town to town, so be sure to check your community’s website, or call your local department of public works, to find out what they will and won’t accept. Wrapping paper, gift boxes, plastic containers, cans and bottles from your holiday meal and more can all be saved from the landfill with very little effort.
– Give your Christmas tree a second life. If you bought a real tree this year, don’t toss it to the curb once the holidays are over. Have it chipped into mulch. If you don’t have use for mulch, you can donate it to your local park or community garden.
– Freeze your leftovers. Chances are, you don’t want to look at that special Christmas meal after eating it for three days solid. Before shoveling it down the garbage disposal, though, set some aside for later. Most prepared foods will keep for a few weeks, or even months, in the freezer. What you don’t want now may be just thing some night in February when you’re too busy to cook.
– Donate your old things. If your closet, or your child’s toy box, can’t fit one more thing, it may be time to weed out some older, unused items. That sweater you haven’t worn in years, or that toy that’s sat collecting dust since last Christmas may be just the treasure someone else has been looking for. And, if you donate your unwanted possessions to a charity store, the money the new owner pays for them will go to help other people in need. What’s more in the holiday spirit than that?