Storage, Storage, Storage.
Seems like everywhere we look there are people giving us storage solutions for all our stuff! The trend to consume more is affecting the way that we operate in our daily lives. So much so that many of us have to outsource our storage solutions to warehouses that are popping up across the globe. The folks over at Becoming Minimalist have rounded up a surprising collection of statistics (the sources aren’t necessarily the most scientific but they are thought provoking numbers regardless) about how much stuff we are collecting and hoarding. Here are a few of the stats on clutter:
- There are 300,000 items in the average American home (LA Times).
- The average size of the American home has nearly tripled in size over the past 50 years (NPR).
- And still, 1 out of every 10 Americans rent offsite storage—the fastest growing segment of the commercial real estate industry over the past four decades. (New York Times Magazine).\
- Shopping malls outnumber high schools. And 93% of teenage girls rank shopping as their favorite pastime (Affluenza).
- Women will spend more than eight years of their lives shopping (The Daily Mail).
- Americans donate 1.9% of their income to charitable causes (NCCS/IRS). While 6 billion people worldwide live on less than $13,000/year (National Geographic).
When it comes to Christmas, many of us are stuck with a great big collection of plastic, glass, and wooden ‘stuff’ that we have on show for just one month of the year and have to store for another eleven. Personally I can’t think of anything more annoying that having boxes of Christmas stuff cluttering my home for most of the year. This is why I opt to decorate DIY and use materials that I can up-cycle, recycle, or biodegrade at the end of the season. Here are a few holiday DIY’s to get you thinking eco this season.
Paper Decoration Ideas.
According to Clean Up Australia our nation send 1.9 million tonnes of paper to landfill each year 5 and most of it can be recycled. What better time than Christmas to use some of your unwanted paper to create some decorations that not only look the part, but can be recycled, up-cycled or composted at the end of the season. The beautiful DIY video above has a really easy and quick demonstration as to how you can turn a boring sheet of ol’ white into a pretty decoration in minutes. Be sure to have a google as there are loads of paper DIY ideas ranging in skill level from baby steps to origami mastermind.
Up-cycled Lanterns You Can Use Year Round.
Love the idea of having some christmas lighting that doesn’t involve bulbs and electricity. You can create a beautiful bohemian atmosphere at your Christmas party with a little bit of wire and some jars. The lady in the tutorial above uses a plastic coated wire. Try to avoid this option as it results in wasted plastic that can’t be recycled. Try for a really lightweight florist wire and some pliers instead. The best part about this kind of lighting option is that you can display it all year round either as lighting or used for vases or terrariums. No need for storage. Check out this pretty tutorial (that has sadly had the embedding options disabled) for a lovely lace covered lantern DIY if you want to up your lighting game one more notch.
Popcorn Garland- the biodegradable alternative to tinsel.
All the things we use in life have some kind of embodied energy. Using food as a decoration might seem a little wasteful but when tinsel, a nasty non-biodegradable landfill demon that you have to store all year is the alternative, popcorn doesn’t seem like such a bad option. Buying loose kernels from a bulk food store and popping your own is a great way to reduce the waste during the holiday season. Threading your popcorn onto a cotton tread will ensure that your garland is completely biodegradable, meaning that when you are done with it, it will naturally break down in your compost, or if you hand it outside the birds will likely help you out! Up to you if you want to use cranberries or other berries on your garland but doing so will turn a very cheap decorating idea into an expensive one quite quickly.
Why buy a pre made plastic wreath when you can DIY foraged wreath with such beautiful results! The tutorial above shows you how to make your own wreath using a little bit of wire, a walk around the neighbourhood to find some pretty plants, and a whole lot of creativity. This is a way to introduce the holiday spirit to your home without having to pack away a garish collection of decorations at the end of the season. When you are done with your wreath your foliage can naturally decompose in your compost, or you can contribute them to your green waste recycling. Then you can store the pre-cut wire until the following year when you make your next wreath!
The Cheap and Cheerful Tree.
You may have noticed that Sustainability in Style has already looked at Christmas Tree Alternatives this season but I couldn’t help but share this cute idea from the Free People Blog. This tree is ideal for those who want to decorate last minute. You can collect foliage from your local area and with a role of masking tape (that you can compost later) and some imagination you can create a pretty and bohemian tree in no time. If you skip the lights then there is nothing to store at the end of the season.
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