Wow! Isn’t it crazy how much trash you have after Christmas day has come and gone? Even if you haven’t had a huge Christmas the leftover wrapping paper, cardboard boxes and even bubble wrap and Styrofoam can turn into quite a large pile. You can cut down on the mountain of garbage considerably, though, if you recycle some of that stuff. No, you don’t have to transport the trash to a recycling center; make new things for your house and family and never leave the house!
Bubble wrap has so many uses! Wrap the ornaments from the tree in it and you won’t have to make room for lots of boxes. One way is to lay it on the floor or table, place a line of ornaments across the edge leaving spaces between them, then roll the bubble wrap before adding the next and next row of ornaments. This makes a round package that can stand on its end in a corner. Another method is to lay the bubble wrap out, add the row of ornaments, then fold the end over them. Position the next and next row, folding each time. This makes a flat package that can be stacked on boxes or on top each other.
Bubble wrap can be made into all sorts of things for your pool. Roll it into a long, tight cylinder, use waterproof adhesive to hold it, and the kids have pool noodles to play with in the water. Wrap that has small bubbles is best for the noodles. Wrap with large bubbles can be used to make arm floats for little kids. Wrap a long, wide piece around the upper arm, glue it in place, then slide it off to dry. Get the arm floats wet and easily slide them onto the child. These will help the child stay above water while learning to dog paddle.
Cardboard boxes have many uses besides just storing things in the garage. Small ones with no lids can be turned into cd holders for kids. Cover them in fake fur or other cloth then stack them. Do the same for slightly larger boxes to hold your DVD collections. Stack them in a pyramid shape to create a unique organizer that’s fun and easy.
A shoe box can quickly become a wardrobe for a little girl’s doll. Glue a dowel rod inside, across the top, from one side to the other. The inside of the box can be left as-is or you can use decorative paper or adhesive shelf paper to decorate it. On the outside, use wallpaper, shelf liner or even fake fur to cover the box. Add smaller boxes to the bottom to store shoes and accessories.
Much larger boxes can organize your closet in no time. If you have two or three alike, stack them on top of each other, with the openings facing outward. Place a book between each box so that, when the project is finished, there will be a space between each box. Use a table runner or length of cloth to join the boxes together. Glue it from the bottom side area of the bottom box, up and over the top of the top box, then back down the sides of all the boxes. Attach a loop of cloth – or even a wire – on top. This will allow you to secure the hanging boxes to the closet dowel rod. After the fabric outer piece is dry you can remove the books and hang the organizer. Store sweaters, shoes, purses and other items in the box compartments.
There are no limits to the things you can make from Styrofoam pieces you’ve gotten in boxes at Christmas. Small, flat pieces can become pool floats for Barbie dolls. Cubes of Styrofoam can become pencil holders for a desk or even a fake flower pot. Cover the outside in fake jewels, buttons or other items. Place the fake flowers into the top of the Styrofoam and set on a shelf or elsewhere. Glue a picture to each side of a cube of Styrofoam to make a photo display.
Styrofoam slabs can be used to make anything from a planter to a jewelry tray. Glue rocks or gravel all over a thick slab to give it weight. Now you can set it on the railings of a deck or other area. Cover the top with Spanish moss then place fake plants in the top. Or, dig out a section from the top, glue fake jewels all over it, and use it as a tray to hold coins, jewelry and more.
Flat, square slabs of Styrofoam make great wall hangings. Simply glue the desired picture to the front of the Styrofoam then paint or otherwise embellish the sides. A wide piece of ribbon works well to do so. The finished piece is so lightweight it can be hung with a piece of double-sided tape. To cut Styrofoam pieces into the sizes and shapes you need use a serrated knife. Cut a piece of an old candle, or pull the knife through a piece of paraffin, and the cutting job will be even smoother. Use an emery board or sandpaper to shape the Styrofoam, if needed.
There’s going to be a lot of trash after Christmas, you know that, but there could be a whole lot less if you decide to recycle some of it. Recycling doesn’t have to be a huge job of separating, folding, stacking, bagging and carting away. Instead, make some cool new stuff out of the old. You’ll be happy to have less trash, thrilled with your new items, and looking forward to next year’s trash!