Your calendar has been hanging on your wall for a whole year now, and it’s almost time to take it down. Maybe it was just a throw-away calendar from your insurance guy. But maybe it was a nice gift calendar you got from your sister. If it was, it’s a shame to throw away all those pretty pictures. So here are a few ideas I’ve used for recycling (or, rather, re-using) calendars.
1. Frame artwork. Every year, I get a scenic Colorado calendar. The pictures are so gorgeous, I can’t bear to throw them away. So I bought some inexpensive wood frames a few years ago and I pick out my three favorite photos and frame them for my office wall. It brightens up the space and keeps me inspired.
2. Illustrate kids’ school reports. I often get a nature calendar from the Sierra Club, of which I’m a member. Those I save to give to our young relatives to use for school projects. Pictures of bears, mountain lions, eagles and even trout can come in handy for reports and collages. A friend gives me a travel calendar each year, and they use these pictures, too, for school reports. I mean, it’s not always easy to find a photo of Amalfi or Malaysia when you need one.
3. Make a scrapbook. If you don’t scrapbook yourself, your friends who do will appreciate that wildflower calendar, as well as calendars featuring photos of kittens or other animals.
4. Donate to a school for kids’ crafts. Schools and preschools also like old calendars for art projects. Collect them from friends and take them a stack.
5. Recycle calendar photos into homemade envelopes. Yes, they make gorgeous envelopes and you can see how to make them at Instructables.com.
6. Use the calendar in another year. If you haven’t written on the calendar “squares” you also can save it for keeping organized at your desk. So what if dates don’t exactly match up month by month? Maybe April has the same day/date combinations this year as September did last year. Or, if you have old calendars in storage, they come back into sync. To find out which years match up (a 2009 calendar works for 2015 and so on), click here.
7. Create gift tags. Cut out photos or pieces of artwork, and you’ve got beautiful gift tags to attach to presents year-round.
8. Turn plain boxes into gift boxes. See instructions here.
9. Turn old calendars into gift wrap. This would be especially effective if the pages are paper and the pictures are gorgeous. Or fold calendar pages into homemade gift bags.
10. Create a jigsaw puzzle. A beautiful photo can live on, cut into as many pieces as would make a good puzzle for your family. Find instructions here.
Whatever you do to recycle or reuse your calendars, it’s always FREE – and that’s always a timely gift to yourself.