Before the season winds down, develop a plan to reuse as much of the holiday cheer that has made it into your apartment as possible. Whether seasonal items need to be carefully disposed of or stored for re-use next holiday season, we’ve got recycling tips for your decorations to help you start your new year in the green!
Disposing of a tree
Most cities and counties have services that will help you properly dispose of a live tree. Check your local government’s Web site, or with scouting or non-profit organizations. Often, municipal yard waste pick-up is expanded to include trees for a specific period of time. If you can’t get curbside service, look for a post-holiday chipping service, perhaps at a nearby home improvement store.
Candles are a big part of holiday atmosphere. If yours still have plenty of life left in them, store them in tissue-paper-lined boxes. Place large candles inside discarded hose or stockings first. For scented candles that have burned their last, break them up into small pieces and place the shards in a tea diffuser for an instant sachet!
To keep strings of lights from getting tangled en route to next year’s festivities, wrap them around the outside of a metal coffee can. If the lights are no longer usable, label them as such and hold onto them for a light swap next year. Home Depot, for instance, may accept your broken strings of lights toward the purchase of energy-efficient LED lights.
Paper, ribbons and bags
Bows and other decorative items for presents can easily be recycled for next year. Adhesive bows will need tape to stick next year, but will look just as pretty, if you store them carefully. Collect them inside a gift bag or plastic grocery bag for storage.
Gift bags usually fare well through multiple gift-giving. Keep yours in good shape till next year by folding them flat and storing small bags inside larger ones. Wrapping paper is often shredded during a gift-giving frenzy, but if you have a large sheet that made it through the ripping unscathed, you can roll it around an empty paper towel spool and fasten with a paper clip on the end to save it for use next year.
If you use an artificial wreath, take time to stow it away, dust-free. Wreath bags are handy and often go on sale around the holidays. For a quick and free version, use a dry-cleaning bag, making sure to tie the plastic under the bag to seal the wreath inside. Now you can hang it safely in a closet until next holiday season.
Ornament boxes are a convenient way to store delicate tree decorations. You can also make you own: start saving paper coffee cups with their tops, rinsing and fully drying them. Once the season is over, place a breakable bulb or other delicate ornament inside a cup and secure with the top. If you’ve saved a cardboard cup carrier or two, place your ornament cups inside them, and store everything inside a plastic bin. For very small decorations, an egg carton is great for storage.
This year, plan how you will pack away the holidays before the fun is all over. With a little preparation, you’ll be able to reuse much of the season’s bright accents for many holidays to come.
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