You know the feeling: you’ve just moved into your place, unpacked all those boxes, and you’re eager to start making it feel like home. But everywhere you turn are piles of cardboard, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, packing paper, and all the other by-products of a big move. It’s frustrating, but resist the impulse to chuck it all in the dumpster (first of all, most of it is recyclable), and think about a few unconventional ways to re-purpose those packing materials.
They are the most annoying of all moving residue. You’ll no doubt be finding the insidious buggers around your house for months afterward. However, they do possess a few redeeming qualities that will keep them out of the landfill. You can add filling to or create your own beanbag chair. They’re also great for kids’ art projects. When dabbed with a wet cloth they stick together, so the stacking and building possibilities are endless. They can be painted, glued, glittered, or decoupaged.
The kids can also use their imaginations with these. As many parents will attest, an empty box often holds more interest for the child than the toy it came in. Turn them into forts, school buses, rocket ships, or anything else they can dream up. Boxes are also useful for continued storage around the house, as well as shipping gifts and other items. If you plan on painting any walls in your new home, flatten the boxes and use the cardboard to protect your floors.
Again, think of the kids. Popping those bubbles can be hours of fun on a rainy day. It can also be used to cover fragile plants in winter. Keep a few sheets of bubble wrap in the car along with an extra box for times when you need to transport breakables or perishable foods.
If you ended up purchasing these for your move, you’ll probably want to make use of them. Consider placing a folded quilt under you TV or other large item if it’s on a surface that can be scratched or damaged. Use them to protect fragile items like fine china that you plan on storing. These quits tend to be thick and padded, so they make great blackout curtains in a pinch.
This paper is great for various uses because it is perfectly clean—it has no ink or other substances that may harm your belongings. Wrap and pack delicate items for shipping or storage. Use it to protect your table while you or your kids craft, or cover the entire table with it and let the kids color, paint, and stamp all over it. You can also shred this paper for filler in a gift bag, or crumple it inside boots to keep their shape.
The hard part is over: you’ve schlepped your way into a new home! Don’t get discouraged when you see all those leftover packing supplies. Someone else (with time to spare, apparently) has thought of ways for you to cleverly reuse them, so get to work!