Right after college I moved back home to save money so I could move to New York City. The plan was to pursue a career in acting/directing/writing, and to do that I would need some cash in the bank. By December of 1991, I had enough socked away. I found an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and I prepared to move.
There is a store in Rochester, NY called The Boxman. As you might assume they sell boxes; new boxes, used boxes, packing materials, tape and anything you might need to go with your boxes.
As I was packing for the Big Apple I realized that I needed more boxes, so off to The Boxman I went. I brought a dozen pre-enjoyed boxes up to the counter and the gentleman there asked me, “do you want to buy a pack of newsprint sheets?” When I gave him a slightly confused look he continued, “it’s really great for wrapping dishes, padding other things in boxes and if you have any left over you’ll use it for tons of other things.”
He made a pretty compelling case so I purchased a twenty-five pound package of newsprint, about 400 sheets. It was something like $12.
Newsprint is exactly what you think it is. It is that not-so-white paper used to print newspapers. The sheets are two feet by three feet, and without any ink on them they are much smoother and cleaner than a printed newspaper.
The boxman was correct, in that the sheets were very helpful in packing all my stuff, and much cleaner than actual newspaper. He was also correct about the leftovers. There was a lot left over, but I followed his advice and decided to take the remaining bundle with me to my ridiculously small Manhattan apartment.
At this point I would like to simply advise all readers to go out and get a twenty-five pound bundle of newsprint. If you ever regret the decision, just let me know and I will come take it off your hands.
Not long after I moved into my apartment I was invited to a party at my cousin’s place across town. As I was getting ready to go I realized that I had nothing to bring. I looked around the apartment; saw an unopened bottle of wine and then my big wad of newsprint. I plopped the bottle down in the middle of a sheet of newsprint, pulled it up the sides, tied a string around the neck and drew a funny face on the body of the bottle with a Sharpie. Voila, house warming gift!
For the balance of my single years I never once purchased wrapping paper. This was mostly because I was a 20-something single guy and they just don’t do that. However, I was always prepared because I had my newsprint. Sometimes I would scribble on it with markers before wrapping a box. One time I threw a bunch of leaves on the newsprint and then used spray paint to make a reverse pattern. There is really no end to what you can do with some newsprint to make interesting wrapping paper.
Of course, the stuff has lots of other uses. From makeshift tablecloths or place mats, to masking when painting, to making signs for parties or garage sales, you will never run out of things you can do with newsprint.
Now, with the invention of the “gift bag” (which was created for the lazy gift-giver in all of us) your newsprint is the perfect substitute for the tissue paper that you forgot to buy.
In 2002 when we moved to the house we live in now, I returned to The Boxman and purchased another bundle of newsprint. With a two-year-old, a one-year-old and a third on the way I had no idea what possibilities newsprint had to offer with kids on the scene.
One day while reading Curious George Rides A Bike with my kids, we came to the part where George makes paper boats out of the newspapers he is supposed to be delivering (naughty monkey). My daughter Charlotte turns to me and asks “daddy can we make those and put them in the pool?” Out came the stack of newsprint and BAM! kid activity, and daddy hero status secure.
It is also fun to have the kids make their own wrapping paper for birthday parties. Once they know there is a stack of six square foot pieces of paper down in the basement they can use as they please, they will come up with lots of things, including wrapping each other.
A word of caution about glitter – DON’T LET IT INTO YOUR HOUSE. Glitter may be sparkly and seem like a good thing to add to your newsprint, but it is the herpes of the craft world; once you have it, you can’t ever quite get rid of it. Unfortunately, I have no clever advice on tape. No matter how much you buy, kids will always manage to find a way to use up all of your tape. The uniquely crafted wrapping paper loses a little something when held together with duct tape.
I will admit that my wife does buy actual wrapping paper, but when she goes to that drawer, pulls out a roll and what’s left is three inches too short, it’s newsprint to the rescue!
So, go out and get yourself a bundle of newsprint. Just look up a moving supply company in your town, they will have it. Don’t get it online unless you get free shipping – the stuff is heavy. You’ll thank me, I promise.
Blogpost, Copyright © 2016 – Stephen S. Nazarian – All rights reserved – White Guy Wrap.