I have a problem paying money for things that are meant to be thrown away.
For instance, I conserve draw string trash bags. In fact, when I was single (and generated significantly less trash, and lived in a complex with a dumpster I could add to anytime, instead of once a week trash pick-up), I used to use a paper shopping bag inside a plastic shopping bag- which was totally free. Now that I’m married, with a kid, in a neighborhood with one a week trash collection, there is more trash and it can’t go out as often. So, now, if it is trash day, I cram as much as I can into the single trash bag in the kitchen garbage can. I’ll gather the trash in the other parts of the house into a plastic shopping bag and cram it in there. If it’s the day before trash pick up and the bag is getting full, I’ll just pack it down in there rather than “waste” a new bag by not filling it completely before putting it out on the curb.
My husband, on the other hand, plays it free and loose with the trash bags. If the kitchen bag is kind of full, he’ll just get out another trash bag, even if there isn’t enough trash to fill a second bag. This drives me crazy. I think it’s a waste of money. As it is, I find it bizarre/useless/wasteful/silly/ironic that we pay money for a bag whose sole function is to be thrown in the trash.
So, you can imagine my opinion of wrapping paper. It’s sole purpose it to briefly conceal the nature of a gift before being shredded and rapidly tossed in the trash. Wasteful. Expensive and wasteful.
I’m a big fan of gift bags because they can be reused again and again. There are Christmas-themed gift bags that have made an appearance under my parents’ Christmas tree for a decade. Thrifty, resourceful, practical.
However, there are some gifts that don’t really lend themselves to a bag. When a bag doesn’t seem like it will work, or I don’t have one of the right size/gender/theme, I do use wrapping paper. I’d use newspaper/the comics, but we don’t get the paper- and I’m not buying a newspaper just to wrap a gift (see reasoning above).
I’m not a pack-rat, by any means. There is nothing better than a good purging of the closets/basement/attic. However there are some things I can’t throw away. For instance, the Mary Engelbreit calender that I get every year from my best childhood friend. She and I exchange ME gifts pretty frequently- it’s become our “thing” that we share- particularly because ME has so many works dealing with friendship. The calenders are basically 12 pieces of artwork. How can I throw that away?
So, this past Father’s Day I found myself in the position of having a gift for my husband- this book– that didn’t lend itself to a gift bag. I really felt it should be wrapped. So, I got down my stash of gift wrapping paraphernalia. In it I had stashed several old ME calenders. When I opened the stash and saw the calender, I thought to myself, “That size will would work for the book,” and I began flipping through the pages. Lo and behold, June of some year past was a Father’s Day themed drawing! So, I tore it out, and wrapped up the gift!
I thought it came out really well, and I was proud of myself for reusing the calender page, not spending money on wrapping paper that would be tossed in the trash, and I thought the gift looked great!
What do you think? Any creative, non-wasteful gift wrap ideas? Is there something you refuse to spend money on?