Before you throw all of that cardboard and paper into the bin, it's worth thinking for a minute if it can be of use. Fortunately now most of our waste is recycled rather than thrown in landfill or simply burnt, but it's still often better used instead of buying something new.
It's 12th night and my decorations are coming down, and I've miles of Amazon delivery brown paper and torn used wrapping paper that is perfect for wrapping up those precious glass Christmas baubles. Don't have printed sides of brightly coloured paper next to decorations in case they get damp with condensation and stain. Brown paper works brilliantly and will also help if your loft or storage isn't the driest environment in the world, as it will help to keep your treasure moisture free.
Sachets of silica gel that are found in all kinds of boxed and bagged gifts can be re-used to protect your valuables - they're dangerous when dry as they absorb an immense amount of moisture, so make sure they're well away from anyone or anything who might try to eat them.
Bubble wrap that came with deliveries before Christmas is also useful for lining boxes of precious things, and creating layers between glass baubles.
Don't recycle your cards! Put them away with the decorations and next December get them out and cut into strips to make paper chains. You can glue them, or you can cheat and staple them. Because they're card they last far better than paper and can even be reused for a couple of years. Some cards can be cut into amazing strips, with fantastic festive pictures, bright colours, glitter and even Christmas messages. It also has a level of nostalgia, I can look at our paper chains and remember who sent a few of the cards they were cut from.
It goes without saying that all of the sweets, biscuit and cracker tubs and tins can be reused. Perfect for biscuit and cake storage and all manner of other things, they can also be great outside the kitchen. We've used some for Children's toys - my young sons cut out pictures from a Christmas catalogue so that they know what is inside.
The colourful streamers in party poppers can be used as pretty padding for breakable gifts next year.
Nut and egg shells can be used to discourage slugs and snails from crossing your vegetable patch or eating your flowers.
Cardboard boxes from food, egg boxes, cardboard tubes from foil and a host of other things are great for junk modelling and nurseries are often very pleased to take them off your hands if you can't use them.
Mince pie foil trays can be strung together and make an impressively
noisy garland - or a bird scarer for the garden to protect seedlings.
I've left out the obvious.....regifting.....because none of us would do that now, would we?
At a time when bin space is at a premium, it's very satisfying that rubbish doesn't always have to be thrown out...and whenever you don't buy something new you save money and do a tiny bit for our planet...