A Guide To Zero Waste Gift Wrapping

Zero Waste Gift Wrapping Ideas To Reduce Holiday Waste

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In the United States alone, billions of dollars are spent on wrapping paper each year—and unfortunately, the majority of it is not recyclable, especially the variety that contains specs of glitter, foil and other embellishments.

But the good news is that zero-waste wrapping methods are becoming increasingly popular, and more people are gravitating toward eco-friendly alternatives to minimize holiday waste.

Below are several zero-waste gift wrapping techniques that blow traditional gift wrap methods out of the water.

We’ve also included a video on how to make dried orange slices to use as garnish, which will make your gifts look even more impressive .

Source: The Nordic Wife | YouTube

Zero Waste Gift Wrapping Ideas

1. Furoshiki Fabric

Furoshiki is the art of Japanese wrapping using traditional Furoshiki cloth, which is made out of various materials such as silk, rayon, cotton, nylon and other fabrics. Furoshiki cloth also has hemmed edges to prevent fraying and can cover any shape from boxes to cylinders and more!

Furoshiki is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional gift wrapping paper, and is one of the best ways to wrap a gift because Furoshiki cloth is beautiful and can be reused and repurposed into many items such as: a table cloth, a handbag, a shawl, scarf and more.

If purchasing a Furoshiki cloth is not in your budget this year, you can sew your own Furoshiki wrap using fabric from the store or using an old bed sheet. Repurposing an old baby muslin blanket for Furoshiki works wonders as well!

2. Brown Kraft Paper

Another eco-friendly alternative to traditional gift wrapping paper is brown kraft paper, which is not only extremeley durable, but also 100% biodegradable and can be recycled up to seven times—no wonder kraft means ”strength” in German!

Gifts wrapped in brown kraft paper look absolutely elegant and the solid color pairs incredibly well with “garnish” such as pine cones, small pine tree branches, dried fruit, and other dried plants that are secured in place with some twine—resulting in an all-natural and organic presentation.

You can buy large rolls of brown kraft paper in stores and online, or, you can repurpose some grocery store paper bags and use them as gift wrap as they too are made from brown kraft paper!

3. Burlap Fabric

Burlap is a biodegradable fabric that is woven from the fibers of a jute plant. And just like bamboo, jute requires little to virtually no intervention in order to grow and replenish—which makes burlap a 100% sustainable and eco-friendly fabric.

Just like brown kraft paper, burlap looks incredibly elegant when used as a zero-waste gift wrapping alternative. you can likewise garnish this fabric with some rustic accessories such as pine tree branches, pine cones and cinnamon sticks for some rustic charm.

Burlap has many uses after it serves its purpose as gift wrap. It can be reused by the gift recipient as gift wrap for someone else later on, or it can be repurposed in the garden as a covering to protect plants from frost.

4. Cookie Tins

Cookie tins are one my favorite zero waste gift wrap methods because just like furoshiki cloth and burlap, they serve a purpose beyond gift giving. And just like brown kraft paper, they are recyclable.

Cookie tins aren’t limited to just cookies and other food(s). This eco-friendly gift wrap method can hold a charming presentation of socks, beauty products and really anything else that can fit. And just like fabric, can be garnished with some twine and dried plants or flowers.

Cookie tins can be reused as pantry containers—used to store items like rice, beans and mom’s secret candy stash. You can find some nice and inexpensive tins at your local dollar store or buy in bulk online.

5. Cardboard Shipping Boxes

Yet another eco-friendly gift wrap method is to use old shipping boxes that you collect throughout the year. Shipping boxes are made from cardboard, which is both recyclable and compostable, so the next time you receive a package, break the box down and keep it someplace like the garage, until it’s time to use it for gifts.

Shipping boxes can be cleaned up a bit by removing labels and securing the contents with twine. You can even ”double bag” by wrapping over it with burlap or brown kraft paper—especially if it looks beaten up.

And don’t forget about the fact that you can get free shipping boxes to use for your gifts from the post office! You can pick some up in person or request to have some dropped off at your residence by going online!

6. Maps, Newspaper & Magazines

Credit: @erinvfdesign |TikTok

Maps, newspaper and magazine pages are excellent eco-friendly wrapping material because they’re all recyclable and biodegradable—plus, it makes your gift look unique. This is especially a good solid ecofriendly alternative if you are on a tight budget.

You can acquire much of this reading material for free. Places like nursing homes, medical facilities, libraries and schools often subscribe to newspapers and magazines, which tends to stack up over a period of time, and these facilities dispose of them. You can contact these places and ask if you can take it instead!

Eco-Friendly Tying Material & Garnish

When it comes securing gift wrap, tape isn’t always necessary, and a wonderful eco-friendly alternative to ribbons and tape is to use twine, which is a thin compostable rope made from various organic material such as plant fibers (hemp, cotton, etc) and sometimes even animal hair.

When it comes to zero waste gift wrap, you certainly do not have to add any accessories to your wrapping other than twine, but if you want to give your gift that rustic holiday feel, you can certainly add some natural items like dried oranges, pine cones, cinnamon sticks, pine branches and many more earthy items.

The best thing about this natural and biodegradable garnish is that you can go out into your neighborhood park and forage for free. Foraging is a great way to acquire free gift wrap accessories!

Best Non-Toxic Nail Polish Brands For Kids

A Guide To Water-Based And Non-Toxic Nail Polish For Kids That Are Mom Approved

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Little kids copy everything we grownups do—which means they want to paint their nails to look pretty just like mommy.

But, as we all know, conventional “grown up” nail polish isn’t safe for little ones to use. Nail polish is full of unhealthy chemicals and toxins that can harm your little one via fumes and accidental ingestion (kids like to put their hands into their mouth a lot). And it’s not worth risking their health and safety.

We recommend water-based nail polish instead. There are quite a few nail polish brands that make baby and kid-friendly peel-off nail polish that’s made with non-toxic ingredients and is completely safe to use.

A Little Nail Polish History

Nail color has been around for quite some time. In fact, you’ll be pretty surprised to know that the trend dates back all the to way to 3,200 BC, where the Babylonians engaged in nail painting prior to battle, in order to distinguish rank.

Likewise, the practice was used by the Chinese dating back to 3,000 BC to distinguish class and dynasty. And ofcourse, by the Egyptians.

Only, nail color wasn’t made of the same toxic ingredients that we’re familiar with today. Not even close.

Ancient nail “polish” was made from natural ingredients such as kohl (a dark powder similar to charcoal), beeswax, and plant dyes—there was no formaldehyde, acetone or sulfates.

Nail polish today, on the other hand, is formulated with harsh and harmful chemicals, animal products and embalming fluid—check out 16 of the most common chemicals used in nail polish today:

1. Formaldehyde, 2. Formaldehyde Resin, 3. Toluene, 4. Xylene, 5. Acetone, 6. Phthalates (including DBP), 7. Camphor, 8. Parabens, 9. Ethyl Tosylamide, 10. Triphenyl Phosphate (TPP), 11. Animal-derived ingredients, 12. Styrene, 13. Bisphenol A, 14. Glycol Ether of Series E (Glycol ethers derived from ethylene oxide), 15. Nonylphenol ethoxylate, 16. Sulfate

Animals are also used to create certain shades of nail polish. You know that really pretty, pearly shimmer in nailpolish? That, unfortunately, is a result of fish scales. Then you have certain colors, like red shades, which require the need for boiled beetles, and animal fat to achieve a preferred thickness.

Reasons To Use Water-Based Nail Polish

  • Water based nail polish is non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and are void of harmful fumes.
  • Nail polish for kids is also cruelty-free and does not contain any animal products.

If you’re considering purchasing water-based vegan nail polish for your child, then take a look at our recommended list of non toxic nail Polish brands below!

Safe Nail Polish For Toddlers And Kids

1. Nailmatic Nail Polish

The Nailmatic nail polish brand is made in France and is water-based. Each color has its own personality, and easily comes off with a bit of soap and water—that’s especially good in case it accidentally gets on your furniture! It’s pretty, it’s cute and the packaging is adorable!

2. Piggy Paint Nail Polish

Piggy Paint is a premium water based nail polish brand for kids that moms have trusted for the last 12 years and counting. Piggy Paint nail polish is odorless and contains zero toxic chemicals—no wonder their tagline is: “as safe as mud”. It’s even safe for pregnant moms to use as well! It’s also important to note that Piggy paint, though water-based, is not a peel off polish and does require nail polish remover (which they also make and is likewise non-toxic).

Miss Nella Non Toxic Nail Polish
Youtube video by: Miss Nella

3. Miss Nella Nail Polish

Miss Nella is a water-based nail polish brand for kids that easily peels off—allowing your child to experiment with different colors as often as they like. Miss Nella nail polish comes in all sorts of fun vibrant colors and is arranged in fun packaging which is totally giftable and makes for fun stocking stuffers.

4. Klee Kids Nail Polish

Klee Kids “naturally good” nail polish is a paint and peel water-based nail polish that is non-toxic and odor free. The Klee Kids nail polish comes in adorable glass bottles that contain fun little jewels on top of the caps that little kids adore! These make super fun birthday gifts as well as stocking stuffers!

5. Townley Girl Disney Princess Nail Polish

The Townley Girl Disney Princess nail polish set is a water-based peel off nail polish for kids that’s non-toxic and smells like bubble gum! If your little one loves Disney princesses, then they will love these fun nail polish colors that match their favorite princess. You can find Beauty And The Beast, as well as other Disney favorites on Amazon.

Hot Focus Water Based Nail Polish

6. Hot Focus Nail Polish

Hot focus is a cute non-toxic and water-based kids’ nail polish that easily peels off and contains a pleasant creamy scent! This peel off nail polish comes in 5 fun vibrant colors and aesthetically cute containers!

Snails Nail Polish For Kids

7. Snails Nail Polish

Snails nail polish is a water-based non-toxic nail polish for kids that is odorless and easily peels off. We especially love the bottle design and cute accent pieces that each color contains—from bow ties to tutu ruffles, these are a must-have for “girly girls”.

Nontoxic nail Polish for kids Pinterest image

How To Wash A Down Jacket In A Top Load Washer

How To Carefully Wash And Dry Your Down Jacket With Plant-Based Detergent

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Yes! It CAN be done!


I know the feeling. You have this super expensive down jacket that cost you anywhere between $100 to $500, and you’re scared to death of damaging it in the wash. So you’ve been spot cleaning, baby wiping—anything to avoid throwing it into the washing machine.

But it’s time.

That prized down jacket of yours has been hanging out in the coat closet for most of the year, or has been tucked away in a ruck sack, and has most likely developed an odor.

There’s just one problem: you don’t own a front loading washing machine. And you want to know a secret? We don’t own one either.

Everyone recommends washing a down jacket in a front load washer, and that’s fine. But, not every household owns a front load washing machine. And the reason that a front load washer is recommended in the first place is because it doesn’t have an agitator which can literally shred the outer layer of your down jacket.

However, when you set your top load washer on delicate/hand-wash cycle, you’re locking the agitator in place—stopping it from turning—and the only thing that moves around is the inner tub; slushing the water around and then transitioning into the spin cycle.

But, you still want to take precautionary measures, because your down jacket can still snag on the agitator, even though that part is locked in place. So below are instructions on how to carefully wash your down jacket in a top loader.

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How To Wash Your Down Jacket

What You’ll Need

Step 1

Take a regular pillow case and loosely place your down jacket inside of it—no need to roll it up in any special shape. Then secure the opening of the pillow by either tying a knot, or utilizing a zip tie. If your jacket is a light shade, I recommend a solid white pillowcase to avoid any color stains.

Step 2

Choose cool/cold water temperature, and set your wash cycle on delicate/hand-wash—which ever option your washing machine happens to have. I happen to own a General Electric washing machine, and the most gentle cycle is ”delicate”.

Step 3

Put in a small amount of detergent or one laundry strip into the running water and let it dissolve. I HIGHLY recommend using laundry strips because they’re premeasured, non-toxic, don’t contain harsh chemicals that can damage fabric—oh, and they don’t leave what’s called “detergent stains”, which look like grease stains on dark fabric.

*Do Not Use Fabric Softener*

Step 4

Place the load into the washer, close the lid and let it wash. It will be fine. My husband owns an Arc’Teryx down jacket and it is extremely delicate—this is how we launder it each year.

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How To Dry Your Down Jacket

What You’ll Need

  • Wool Balls/Tennis Balls

*DO NOT USE SOFTENER SHEETS*

Step 1

When your down jacket has finished its journey in the washing machine, take it out of the pillow case and either hang it up to dry or place it in the dryer on the delicate/air fluff cycle. I recommend the air fluff cycle, but not all dryers will have this setting—so go with delicate.

If you start feeling nervous, just stop the cycle and take a peek.

Step 2

Should you choose to use the dryer, throw a couple of wool dryer balls (or a tennis ball) inside as well. The balls will help to evenly re-distribute the stuffing and fluff your jacket up good as new.

Still Scared To Wash Your Down Jacket?

Another way to safely wash your delicate down jacket is to hand-wash it, or use a small, non-electric washing machine like the one pictured below by The Laundry Alternative (which can wash up to a 5lb load in just a couple of minutes).

Non-electric washing machines are ideal for small delicate items that might otherwise risk damage in an electric washing machine.

These compact and portable washing machines are also great for RV trips, small apartment living and camping.

The only downside? It operates manually (hence, “non-electric”) and you must hand-crank your laundry for about 2 minutes.

I hope this article gave you the courage to wash your beloved down jacket.

Make sure that the agitator stays locked in place and if for some reason you can’t use a pillow case, a mesh bag is fine as well.

Stay warm!

Easy DIY Halloween Costume Ideas For Kids

Easy DIY Classic Halloween Costume Ideas

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Halloween is just around the corner, and if you’re like most parents, you and your child are contemplating this year’s Halloween costume for for some good old trick or treating.

But this year, finances might be tough, or you and your family just want to be as zero waste and minimalist as possible when it comes to trick or treating—and prefer to go with a DIY approach.

When it comes to minimalism, Halloween costumes should be simple. Some of the most classic Halloween costumes are excellent examples of minimalism at work—such as ghosts, mummies and witches, to name a few.

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There are also several reasons why avoiding store bought Halloween costumes, and creating your own, especially when it comes to kids, is actually a good thing:

Reason 1: Kids Outgrow Them


Unlike adults who are able to reuse their costumes, children tend to outgrow theirs. And you either end up donating or throwing them away. Either way, they’ll eventually make their way to the landfill. By making your own costume, you’ll be able to use parts that are at least biodegradable or recyclable.

Reason 2: You’ll Save Money

It seems like Halloween costumes get more and more expensive every year. By creating your own costume, you’ll save an average of $50.00—sometimes more.

Reason 3: Teaches Creativity

Creating a homemade Halloween costume with your child is a great bonding experience, and it encourages them to be creative!

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Homemade Halloween Costume Ideas For Kids

Classic Mummy Costume

Mummy costumes are a very simple DIY, and can easily be put together using bandages or old bedsheets cut into strips. I don’t recommend toilet paper because it’s wasteful and tears easily.

Classic Robot Costume

You can easily turn your little one into a robot using a cardboard box and cutting out arm holes on the side. Then decorate the box anyway you’d like! Paint or color on some buttons, rivets and maybe even a fun screen that says “loading”.


Classic Ghost Costume

Probably the most classic and simple of all DIY Halloween costumes, the ghost costume simply requires a white or off-white bedsheet with holes cut out for the eyes. Make sure your child can walk safely by making the sheet an appropriate length.

Classic Monster Costume

Monster costumes can be as versatile as you’d like. You can create an oversized mask using a large brown paper bag from the grocery store and cut out openings for the eyes—drawing on the other facial features and making them as scary as you’d like.


Classic Fairy Princess Costume

Fairy princess costumes can easily be made using cardboard boxes and construction paper. You can cut out a crown using construction paper and attach it to your child’s head using clips or string. You can use cardboard to create wings and attach them to your child’s back with yarn—like a backpack.

Classic Super Hero Costume

Super hero costumes can easily be made using felt to create an eye mask, and a bedsheet or blanket can be used as a cape. You can also cut out a Superman symbol or Star from felt and attach it to your child’s shirt.

Classic Space Alien Costume

Turn your little one into a colorful space alien using a cardboard box and some construction paper. Cut out armholes on the side and decorate the rest with construction paper. You can create a hat with antennas using a smaller box and pipe cleaners for antennas.

What is a homemade Halloween costume that you’ve created for your child? Let us know in the comments!