Personalized home organization
Entrepreneur, mom, & wife
When the holidays come around, we are all focused on family and friends and how to make them feel loved. One way we tend to do that is gifts. This is often many people’s love language so skipping gifts is not something for everyone. However, when I am choosing gifts, I try to think about things that will add to people’s lives and not just their clutter. I even have two children and a husband with birthday’s around the holidays. I don’t want to overwhelm everyone with gifts of things that add to our clutter, so thinking intentionally about that helps less items come into our house.
Before the holidays even start, take some time to look through your toys and belongings and donate or store what is no longer used. I have a system (since I have three kids) for how to store toys. I use a toy rotation system and pull out toys that are not being played with or no longer age appropriate for my kids. The toys that are no longer played with get stored for a couple of months and then come out again. The toys that my children have mastered get stored until it is ready for the next child. Then, after the third child has mastered it and no longer plays with it, it gets donated.
As you are going through your toys and assessing whether your children play with them, think about those toys that are not open-ended or promote a skill you’d like them to learn. These are typically the toys they play with and then move on from after a few times. These can be donated. Also, I group toys that drive me crazy in with these! If they make too much noise and the noise stays on after my children are done playing, they go! I don’t mind toys with noise just while they’re playing with them, but I don’t need to hear a train when my kids are playing in a different room, especially if it only has a track that can go one way.
Depending on the age of your child, either do this when they are out of the house or get them involved. I have been talking with my almost five year old about donating toys and he is excited to make some room for new toys. We are going to go through his together and decide what should be stored for little brother and sister and what could be donated. I will go in with an idea of how I want it to go and we’ll see how he feels about letting go of his toys.
I am lucky. In my family, we send around lists of what we’d like for gift giving holidays when they come around. I always try to send mine early as well so my family can take advantage of sales as they come. I can sometimes come up with something on my own for some family members, but it’s nice to have the back up of a list in case I need it and am at a loss.
For myself, I do a quick declutter before the holidays and look at what needs to be replaced. My love language is not gifts, so my list is many times things I want around the house or new beauty and skincare products I am running low on. I like being about to replace things so I don’t feel like I’m adding to the clutter. Plus, if someone else wants to buy me nice towels for my bathroom, I’m all for it! And with a birthday in March, I observe other people’s gifts and think about what I’d like myself. This system has worked well for me the past few years. And most of my family likes to have an idea of what to get me.
When choosing gifts for kids, I think about what “clutter-free” gifts I can get them. I try to find gifts that help them to play independently and use their imagination or creativity. We have many “building” items in our house. My boys don’t like to build with just blocks very often, but they love train tracks and building cities with those. They love playing with legos and either building with the directions or creating their own ideas. I love seeing them use their imagination as they build together and it helps them learn to play together since one loves the building and the other loves driving the trains!
Another type of gift that works well for a clutter-free home are consumables. These are gifts that get used up so they don’t have to be stored forever. I love adding art supplies to my kids’ stockings. This helps replace those that need replacing anyway like dried out markers or broken crayons. Coloring books are another great consumable option to add to their stockings. We love the color wonder coloring pages at our house so my couch doesn’t end up covered in marker! Also fun snacks they enjoy. They don’t necessarily have to be “treats.” My eldest’s favorite gift two years ago was a banana from him aunt and uncle. He loves bananas so that was so exciting for him!
I also love thinking about experiences they would enjoy. Zoo or museum memberships are always great to get. Especially if your child loves one of those places. My eldest loves the Museum of Natural Science, so he will get a membership there. Another great experience is lessons to something. Thinking about what your child is interested in, find activities that foster that interest and build on it.
An issue that comes up, especially with children, are gifts from other people. Since I take the time to come up with a list of gifts that are age appropriate, open-ended and things they are interested in, I also take the time to send that list to family members who would like to buy them gifts. This helps family members with ideas of what to get kids (many times they don’t know what to get a two year old) and I can control what comes into our house in terms of toys. This isn’t a fool proof system, sometimes we end up with toys that aren’t what I am looking for. We typically play with them for a little bit, but then the kids get over it and I donate them.
Zoo Membership or Museum Membership
Lessons (sports, music, etc.)
Adults could use clutter-free gifts as well. Even more than children, we tend to add clutter to our homes. It helps for the adult you’re wanting to buy for to create a list themselves and you can see what they want. Or think about an experience they would like or you could do together. For a couple, get them a gift certificate to a restaurant they would like to go to. Bonus? If they have kids, offer to babysit. For a family member, think about something y’all would like to do together like get a pedicure or visit a museum. You could get the tickets or gift certificate now to hold each other accountable to going!
My husband is not a gift guy. I typically don’t get him anything big for gift holidays and let him buy himself something when he wants it. He just got himself a Peloton so I told him that’s your birthday gift. This works well for us.
I do like him to get me a little something, but I don’t expect him to come up with it on his own. If I want something particular from him, I tell him. There’s nothing worse than expecting something from your spouse that you haven’t communicated and they don’t get it for you. If you’d like jewelry, tell them. If you’d like a big present, tell them. If you’d like something specific, tell them! And if your spouse is like mine, remind them!
I typically don’t ask for big gifts from my husband, but this year I want one. I just had our third child and would like a nice Christmas present. He knows. I have told him. And I continue to remind him so I am not disappointed over the holidays. He is also someone who doesn’t like thinking more than a month in advance so I have to continue to remind him so he doesn’t forget when the holidays come along!
Tools or Household Items that need to be replaced
Gift Cards (Restaurant, Spa Treatment, Lessons, etc.)
A Trip together
Gift to Charity they like to support
It helps to start thinking now. Make a list of everyone you’d like to get a gift for consider what type of gift would work well for them. And, if you have kids, start making lists for them now as well. That way, everyone won’t default to what they normally do and add clutter to your home!
Need help managing your toys or your home? Email me at email@example.com and we can book a consultation for after the new year to get all your holiday clutter under control!
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Wildely Organized 2024
Based in Houston, TX, Wildely Organized offers compassionate, professional in-home organization services that empower families to live functional lives in a space they love.
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