Christmas is over, all the gifts are unwrapped, and if you’re anything like me, you have a pile of boxes sitting in your garage just taking up space.
This not only looks terrible, but can also be extremely dangerous and detrimental to your survival plan.
Many people keep the vast majority of their survival supplies in their garage and if your garage is cluttered and otherwise inaccessible, you will lose a lot of time if you have to evacuate your home.
Having all that clutter around makes it much more likely that you will trip and injure yourself. Cardboard and paper are also a major fire hazard as they will take a spark easily, burn hot, and fast.
It is extremely important to keep your garage and any working space uncluttered and in proper order.
But the holidays often leave our trash bins overflowing and require multiple trips in order to get rid of all of that excess packaging.
So what are we to do with all of this cardboard?
The first step you want to take is to make sure that you have all of the boxes properly broken down. Cut all of the tape, fold the boxes flat, and stack them in like-sized piles. Once all of the boxes are broken down and stacked you can tie them off with twine in order to keep them neat and ordered.
This will drastically reduce the amount of floor space that is taken up and make them much easier to transport.
Your garage should now be a bit more manageable than before.
Unfortunately this still leaves you with more boxes than could possibly fit in a single trash bin.
Before you make a midnight run to a business dumpster ( which is illegal anyway) or take a trip to the city dump, you may want to consider these options:
1. Place the smaller boxes in a plastic storage tub and store them in the attic or an out of the way corner. The plastic tub will keep insects and rodents from making a home in the cardboard (spiders just love the stuff for some reason) and will also keep it from getting wet which would make it unusable.
These smaller boxes can be used the following year for gift wrapping, which will save you a ton of money. I would also store any left over gift bags in the tub to keep them all together. Just be sure that the tub is clearly labeled.
2. If you find that most of your boxes fit into the “standard shipping” size category, you may want to try finding a business that buys used boxes. EcoBox is a chain that I use to offload any excess boxes. They don’t give you much and they don’t take all box sizes but if you are going to be tossing them anyway, you might as well make a little extra cash on them.
3. Compost them. Cardboard boxes make great compost! The key to using it in your compost pile is to make sure that it is broken down into small pieces. The smaller the pieces the quicker it will compost. Also, soaking the cardboard in water with a bit of liquid detergent will help to speed up the decomposition process.
4. Add them to your survival supplies. Cardboard is a great fire starter especially corrugated card board. It doesn’t take much to set it alight and the corrugation increase the airflow allowing it to burn very hot and very quickly. Keep a container of thinly cut cardboard strips in a dry box with waterproof matches to make an emergency fire kit. As a tip you can dip the strips into wax to make them burn slower, hopefully giving you the time you need to get a roaring fire started.
5. If all else fails recycle it. Cardboard makes up roughly 31% of all landfill waste. So if you have a recycle bin use it, even it if takes a few weeks to fully rid yourself of it. Also look at grocery stores near you as many of them have public use recycle bins on site.
Can you think of anything else that you can use your leftover gift packaging for?