The annual cost for disposing of junk mail in America runs well into the hundreds of millions of dollars, and for anyone with a mailbox this figure shouldn’t be all that surprising. The staggering amount of throwaway marketing mailings that we collect everyday may provide job security for postal workers, but it clogs the nation’s landfills and clutters our homes. The next time you check your mail, instead of chucking those papers sight-unseen into the garbage, why not give one of these fun ideas a try?
- Paper Mâché – While it’s certainly a surefire hit with the smaller set, adults can get in on the artsy fun with craft projects made from advertising circulars too, making it a fun project for the whole family. In addition to providing the paper necessary for your masterpiece, those sales papers can be spread across your work surface to protect it from drops of paste, making clean-up afterward quick and easy!
- Play Store With Sample Credit Cards – A cursory examination of sample credit cards sent out as a marketing tactic will almost always determine that the name is generic and the number invalid. After making sure that none of your personal information is imprinted on a plastic card, have a heyday playing “Store” with the smaller members of the family.
- Make Origami – The Japanese art of creating graceful objects from folding paper, known commonly as origami, can be a fun and relaxing way to spend idle time. A quick visit to your favorite search engine will turn up dozens of tutorials for creating everything from cranes to elaborate flowers.
- Teach Kids to Play Paper Football – One of the most beloved time-wasting institutions of childhood is Paper Football. Get yourself reacquainted with the proper folding techniques, and then teach youngsters to do the same. A brief run-down of the rules will have everyone giggling in no time.
- Customize Magnet Ads – Stripping the magnetic backing off of larger cardstock ads is the work of a moment; smaller printed magnets can be glued or painted over. Letting your imagination run wild will leave you with a diminished junk pile and a stylish refrigerator.
- Make Paper Pulp Beads – A quick tutorial for creating fashionable, customized beads for jewelry-making from paper pulp is easy to find online; a quick web search will no doubt turn up a full page of results. The next time inspiration strikes, hit that pile of junk mail for your paper supply!
- Start a Garden – Relatively inexpensive, paper pot makers are easy to find from online retailers and in gardening stores. Starting your plants from seed in recycled paper is a great way to boost your eco-friendly impact while reducing clutter.
- Make Your Own Recycled Paper – For advanced artists, the supplies and methods used to make recycled paper can get quite intricate. More casual crafters, however, may prefer to use an inexpensive paper recycling kit, which yields beautiful results for scrapbooking or card-making.
- Play a Prank – Perhaps not suitable for the younger members of the family, getting a laugh at the wasteful mailers’ expense can be a great way to blow off steam. Simply stuff the pre-paid envelopes with all of the rest of your junk mail after being sure that there’s no personal information enclosed. Though this paper is likely to end up in a landfill, the occasional envelope will get your point across while keeping a mail carrier employed.
- Create a Mosaic – While traditionally made of colored glass or tile, there’s no rule saying that mosaics can’t be made of brightly-colored bits of paper as well. Simply cut out your desired shape, and paste it to a heavier piece of cardstock. The results are sure to be stunning!
These are merely a small sampling of the things that you can do with your unwanted mail. Once you start, you’re sure to find dozen of your own clever uses!