Do Your Seasonal Shopping Sustainably

Part of living a #clutter-free lifestyle is to keep only the things you use, wear and otherwise enjoy. But you can eliminate #clutter on the front end, too, by shopping more sustainably — and this is especially important  to remember when giving #gifts during the #holiday season.

The supply chain demands huge amounts of resources to get those special somethings delivered to your door. Make an effort to shop smaller local businesses for gifts, a practice that reduces the carbon footprint of whatever you buy. Or exercise your creativity to make some of your gifts rather than buying mass-marketed products.

Gifts don’t have to take a physical form at all, says Sustainability Victoria. You can give an experience such as a massage or facial, a cooking class, a yoga session or a dinner out rather than a product. Or you can make a charitable #donation in a person’s name; whatever you choose, chances are good that someone on your gift list doesn’t need more #stuff.

You can also shop the local #thrift stores — many of which supplied by generous #donations to “Upcycling” gifts can save money and keep more quality goods out of landfills.

“Buying secondhand clothing helps preserve the earth’s natural resources and prevents the additional pollution created by producing new garments,” Maryville University says. “Thrift stores provide shoppers with excellent bargains [and] often sell nearly new clothing alongside unique vintage pieces.”

Gift wrapping is one of the most wasteful aspects of holiday giving. Substitute newspaper and reusable packaging such as bags, baskets and tins for single-use wrapping paper, California Environmental Voters suggests. And try to buy gifts that are packaged in sustainable materials such as bamboo, recycled plastic and biodegradable paperboard rather than plastic clamshells.

Finally, be intentional about gifting and perform your due diligence, Bloom & Spark says. Figure out which businesses follow sustainable practices and how far your purchases need to travel to get a spot under the tree. Consider your giftees’ priorities, too; nobody wants another gewgaw that they don’t know what to do with. With a little forethought, you can reduce the environmental impact of giving — and make your home environment more clutter-free, too!

Begin Your Holiday Baking Now

#Holiday stress will really start to #snowball after Thanksgiving. Why not get some of your baking out of the way now? There are plenty of #recipes you can make ahead of time and pull out of the freezer to enjoy at a later date, Parade says. Homemade cookies and confections such as peppermint bark, peanut brittle, sugar cookies, gingerbread, fudge and (everyone’s favorite) peanut butter blossoms can be baked weeks in advance. Freeze them and thaw them out a few hours before giving them as a gift in a festive tin or plating them for the holiday feast. You’ll have more time to relax and enjoy the celebration! #HolidayTips

Take Stock of Your Home Early in the Season

Take stock of your home early in the #holiday season, the Seattle Times says. Start with holiday #decorations by weeding out anything you don’t use and #donating those things before you have the chance to store them for another season. “It’s also a good time to go through and #donate clothes, coats, toys and books,” the story says; services such as make it easy to get those items to homes that want them while contributing to a good cause. Finally, guest-proof your house by making sure there’s adequate seating, that all surfaces are clear of clutter, and plenty of fresh towels and linens are available. #HolidayTips

Start Your Holiday Shopping Early

If you haven’t already begun your #holiday shopping, this week is a good time to start. Consult the internet for early-bird specials from your favorite retailers, and check the social media for gift ideas. Make a budget and a list of the people you plan to buy for, and jot down a few ideas for each. You’re less likely to overspend if you have the elements of a plan in mind and #shop strategically. If you see a great deal, grab it — that price (and the stock) may not last, so get it while you can. And allow plenty of time for delivery of your holiday orders to avoid costly last-minute shipping fees and get everything under the tree on time. #HollidayTips

Make Lists to Better Manage the Holidays

Many large retailers started staging #holiday displays and promotions well before #Halloween was over. And while #Christmas, #Hannukah and the other #winter holidays may seem like they’re a long way off, now is the time to start planning. It’s never too early to make lists: Who’s on your gift list? Who gets a card? Who’s hosting which celebration? Get these things decided now, and you’ll have a lot less stress when the big celebrations roll around. You can also make a list of the spaces you want to #declutter before guests arrive, says Rooms Need Love; since a lot of people and stuff will be coming in, make space by #donating what you don’t need. #HolidayTips