CLEVELAND — Now that you've opened gifts, it's about time to start clearing out those holiday boxes and decorations.
But you may want to think twice before you dump them in the garbage or toss them out on the curb. Your trash could make you a target for thieves and some of those items you're trying to recycle may be hazardous.
To be safe, start with putting up those new gifts away from any windows in your home. Then, cut up the boxes your gifts came in and put them at the bottom of your trash or recycling bins. This is an easy way to prevent thieves from knowing what you got for the holidays.
When it comes to recycling, this is a good time to check out your town or city's recycling rules. Accepted items do vary so depending on where you live, but there are some standard items you should recycle.
First, cardboard that's clean and flattened, including shoe and shipping boxes. Wrapping paper can be recycled too, but only if there's no glitter or foil on it. The same thing goes for ribbons and bows. If you want to de-clutter you can throw in your Christmas cards.
Now, as previously mentioned there are some things recyclers don't want to see. Those items include clothing, cellophane wrapping, or holiday lights. Any packing materials like bubble wrap or packing peanuts should go in the trash.
Also, don't forget about the Christmas tree. You can check with your city or even local farms to see if they'll recycle trees to make wood chips for parks, or maybe for animals. You’ll just want to be sure to remove any tinsel, ornament hooks or wire from the tree before handing it over.
Lastly, experts say never burn wrapping paper. It can be a fire hazard.
The only other potential hazard is in your fridge. Those holiday leftovers will start to go bad Monday. However, you can freeze some leftovers. Typically, food can stay in the freezer for two to three months before it officially goes bad.
As for that open bottle of red wine, it only lasts about a week.