gifts wrapped in cloth

Birthday parties, anniversaries, or the holiday season – gift giving is inevitable. While there are ways to give clutter free gifts, sometimes a physical, thoughtful gift is the way to go in order to bring the recipient joy.

There are many sneaky ways to reduce the amount of waste you create even when it comes to gift giving. Wrapping pretty is unnecessary as there are many items in your home that can be used in its stead. Yes! You heard that right – you can use items that are cluttering up your home or where destined for the trash can to wrap your gift.

Below are a couple of suggestions to get your creative juices flowing when it comes to wrapping your gift the zero-waste way!


  1. Cloth: Cloth could really be anything that you no longer have a use for. It could be a shirt, dishcloth, or a pair of pants. Of course, make sure that the cloth item you will be using is clean and not full of holes. This ‘wrapping paper’ has the potential to be re-used as wrapping paper or enjoy a second life as a cleaning rag. Also, there is such as thing as reusable cotton ‘wrapping paper’, although I need to research this more.
  2. Upcycle: Upcycling is taking an item destined for the trash and using it for something completely different. For example, last week’s newspaper or an outdated map are both great candidates to use as wrapping paper. Some other examples include old magazines or paper grocery bags.
  3. An Old Drawing: This is going through a more sentimental route for sure, but it could add an extra touch of magic to the gift you are giving. If you are giving a gift to a spouse, maybe use an old art project that a child made and use that as the wrapping paper. Or maybe an old invitation from a bar mitzvah or wedding. Thoughtful gestures like this will surely put a smile on the recipients face!
  4. Store: You can forget about the wrapping and use a glass jar (like a mason jar) or an empty decorative tin to package your present in a zero-waste friendly way. If you are wrapping up a gift during the holiday season, perhaps even re-use some gift bags that you have been given. This helps with zero-waste and keeping you home clutter-free – a true win-win!


Once your gift is all wrapped and ready to go here is an addition tip on the best way to give a card. Instead of attaching a card to the gift which might cause clutter or just be thrown out and sit in a landfill think about maybe sending an e-card instead! 

If they are the sentimental type they can print it out and keep it but more often than not people would rather the gift than the card. There are many websites that allow you to send e-cards for free, which could you save you a little cash well.


Well, there you have it! Hope this list will help you create a little bit less waste when giving a gift.

Is there another way that you wrap (or don’t) your presents? Let me know in the comments below!



PS – Want to forget the wrapping all together? Get some great clutter-free gift ideas by listen to this fantastic and fun episode of my podcast Journey to Organization.