The Best Recycling is (Vintage!) Re-using


My husband, Darrick, and I have a bit of a thing for saving forgotten vintage items.

At an estate sale, people "ooh" and "aah" at the furniture or the jewelry. But you will find us in the basement, elbow deep in seemingly useless office supplies, outdated educational items, old photos, or tattered books.

These things have no monetary value to speak of, but we take them home and turn them into treasures...or at least that's the goal. Usually they sit on a shelf until inspiration strikes.

Most often the inspiration comes in the form of wrapping gifts, and so this week's challenge is near to my heart!

We wrap all of the presents we give from recycled materials. Grocery bags, newspaper, magazines, old ribbons, and pressed gift bags are common materials in our house.

And I would love to say that I store them all in an orderly fashion, but truthfully, they are most often crammed into a cardboard box in our office closet.

This week one of my dearest friends is celebrating a birthday, and so I'm using this post as a way to get ahead!

Her presents (above) will be wrapped four days early! This has NEVER happened before!

Paper bags make great wrapping paper!

When you cut off the bottom and then up one side, you're left with one long piece of paper, perfect for wrapping medium-sized boxes.


The only downfall is that it can be a little difficult getting the tape to stick.

You can use glue (this is what Darrick doesit takes patience!) or simply make an "X" with the tape at each seal so the hold is stronger.

Newspaper also makes for easy wrapping.

The printing looks like a decorative pattern, which can be really cool. And, of course, comics work great!

Please note, your hands WILL get ink on them!


After the gift is wrapped, our rescued vintage items come into play.

You could just give the gift in the recycled paper, but that's a little too "granola" for me.

I like to recycle, but I still want my presents to look pretty!


Because this is a birthday, I wanted to choose something that seemed festive, so I went with the pictures from an old Alice in Wonderland storybook.

The last 12 pages of the book are missing, so I don't mind cutting it up.

(For my Christmas wrapping, I'm planning to use an illustrated Christmas Carol book and a dilapidated children's holiday song book.)


I tape my vintage picture onto the wrapped package...

Add a bow, and TA-DA!

A beautifully wrapped gift with that touch of Extra Special!


And isn't that what we're all hoping for when we spend time wrapping a gift?

We want our loved one to know they're worth the effort!


To give you some other ideas, in the past, Darrick and I have used old black-and-white photographs (adding imagined names and lives to the people!), kids' flash cards, poems, recipes, and once we even drew holiday photos to add.

Truthfully, anything works as long as it breaths new life into something that would otherwise have been thrown in the trash.

It's like Mr. Rogers always said: "The best recycling is re-using."


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