Month: November 2017

A Gift Guide for Minimalists & Hoarders Alike

In this world, there exist two types of friends. Some friends live in tiny studio apartments and constantly complain about having too much stuff, scoffing at the idea of having to come up with something they’d like for Christmas. Other friends have 5 bedroom houses in the suburbs and are still drowning in baby toys and IKEA furniture from their bachelor days despite their kids and marriages being like 19 years old.

Neither of these friends really needs anything. If they’re like me, they kind of dread having to place whatever under $15 gift they get from the office Secret Santa on a shelf for a few years before disposing of it the next time they move. So, here’s a list of things I would not be mad about getting, and neither will your hoarder/anti-hoarder friends.

Experiences – this is an obvious one. We’re talking a gift card to a trampoline park, a cooking class, or, ya know, indoor skydiving.

Restaurant gift cards – Another obvious yet highly uncreative boring one. I am a helpful lady! But, I’m also a broke lady who doesn’t splurge on a nice meal very often. Plus, no useless future-trash for the shelf!

Sustainable clothing – Clothes have an expiration date, at least if your thighs touch as much as mine do. So, no one is going to complain about some well made, ethical and sustainable clothes that will last a long time and fight fast fashion. My suggestion is to stick to neutrals and basics to maximize versatility in a minimalist wardrobe. Two of my favorites are Pact Apparel and sweet home Chicago made Dearborn Denim.
Tools to help them upcycle – A pillar of minimalism (at least for those interested more in the environmental benefits than the zen) is making good use of everything you already own in order to waste resources by tossing old stuff and replacing it. Hoarders hoard because they think all of their old crap will come in handy one day. A great gift for both groups will be something that helps them upcycle old stuff into the modern era. If they’re ambitious, a sewing machine will be a game changer, but if your pal is just dabbling in crafts, I suggest starting off with a hot glue gun or some furniture paint in a sleek color.

Vegan nail polish – Nail polish is one of those things that is absolutely unnecessary yet feels so essential when you’re going for *glam.* So, a high-quality, eco & safe polish like LVX will make every broke minimalist feel like a manicure is something they can indulge in again.
Plants – You can never have too many plants. They’re versatile decor that also happen to tame your maternal instincts and prevent you from cutting holes in condoms or impulse buying a cat you’re allergic to. Choose from orchids to succulents based on the recipient’s commitment level to watering. (Disclaimer: cutting holes in condoms is a terrible idea, please don’t do it – get an herb garden, trust me.) Read more

How do I minimize waste when gift wrapping?

I am a huge fan of gift giving. I’m that friend who drives you to extreme social anxiety by showing up with presents for everyone when we had previously agreed not to exchange gifts this year. I don’t care. If I see something you’ll like, you’re getting it for Christmas. So, here are a few strategies I use when trying to keep presents a surprise without sacrificing any more trees than our corporate American Christmas tradition already does. 

  1. Procrastinate – I usually do this anyway, no matter what my goals are. But, when it comes to reducing waste from holiday gift-wrapping, procrastination can actually be a good thing. Wait until the last minute to wrap gifts, and only buy as much paper and as many bags as you’ll need for the first few gifts. After that, hopefully you’ll have a ton of wrapping supplies laying around the house from overzealous retail workers or leftover from gifts YOU got at your office party. Who cares if not all of your gifts are wrapped in the same type of bag or paper? Pack hard-to-wrap gifts in boxes you got from Amazon or Harry and David as a gift.
  2. Use the tissue paper that the store gave you – So you might not have a bunch of extra wrapping stuff leftover from gifts you’ve received (not everyone can be as *lovable* as I am), but you probably do have packing materials from things you’ve purchased for other people. Last year, I got a bunch of tissue paper from Blue Mercury to keep something I bought safe, and no one noticed that I used that same paper to make all of my gift bags look nice.  Sephora did the same thing. (FYI so did Pleasure Chest, but you really don’t need to know that yes, I did do some gift shopping there.) You know I’m all about bringing reusable bags, but frequently stores will wrap stuff in tissue for you anyway, even if you protest.  

    Shout out to thredUP for giving me enough tissue paper to giftwrap for the whole family.   
  3. Be creative with wrapping paper scraps – I like to cut the useless strips of extra wrapping paper into little rectangles, fold them in two, and use them as tags for presents, writing a little message on the back side.    Read more