We give gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, holidays, house-warming’s, births, weddings, showers, baby naming’s, bachelor/bachelorette parties, new jobs, promotions, moving away, graduation, get well, thank you’s, weight loss, sympathy, apology, confirmations, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, just because, 1st periods, pushing a baby out, 3rd Wednesday of the month, Turtle Day, getting a splinter, getting a splinter out.
As you can see, there is an endless stream of gift-giving occasions, and who doesn’t like gifts? But after we’ve gotten that precious teddy bear, or picture frame, or candle, or live alligator, what do we do with them? Most of the time they sit in the back of the closet or in the garage or basement storage room (maybe not the alligator), because you don’t need them, or even like them for that matter. However, you can’t seem to get rid of them, because they were gifts. I call that ‘guilt clutter’. Everyone has it and everyone’s been guilty of contributing to it by giving gifts. I know what you’re thinking “Zebras a pretty”! No? Ok, maybe that was just me. But seriously, we can’t just stop giving gifts, nor do we want to stop receiving them. We just want to stop having to deal with them later. There are a few options to fix this problem:
1. It’s ok to regift (with care)! If you get gifts you’re not too fond of, or that just aren’t your style, put them directly into a regifting bin. Make sure to attach a sticky note with the name of the gift-giver, so that you don’t give them back their same gift(that would be embarrassing) . Next time you get invited to an event, look through your regifting bin before going to buy something new.
2. It’s ok to donate it! If you’re not comfortable regifting, donating is another great option. This is especially good for those slightly used items that you don’t want anymore, or for hand-me-downs that no longer serve you. Someone else will make good use of your discarded items so you don’t have to feel like they’re going to waste.
3. Give consumable items or experiences instead! The gift receiver is much more likely to remember the gift of a massage than the gift of another vase. With the invention of Groupon and the like (best invention ever!) it’s much easier to give experiential gifts, even across state line. Here are some great gift options:
• Cake (provide a cake for someones happy occasion)
• Fruit basket or fruit-of –the-month membership
• Bottle of wine
• A home cooked meal is always a treat for a special occasion
• A cookie basket
• Take them out to dinner/lunch/ breakfast
• No fruitcakes!
• Dining Out
• Spa Treatments
• Travel Vouchers
• Personal promise to do some household chores or babysitting
• Car wash
• Professional Organizer
• Give a donation to their favorite charity
• Donate your time to help out a charity on their behalf
• Tickets to a show/event
• Take them out to a show/event
• Hot Air Balloon ride
• Cooking classes
• Netflix account
• Museum membership
Part of getting your space organized is controlling what comes into the space. While we can’t turn down gifts (that’s just plain rude), we can make ruthless decisions on those gifts without feeling the pangs of guilt. We can also do our part not to contribute to anyone else’s ‘guilt clutter’.
Don’t be afraid to get rid of gifts that don’t make you happy!
Don’t give clutter gifts!
Not every occasion requires a gift!