Have you ever misplaced a gift you were going to give someone? Or hidden gifts and totally forgotten about them? What do you do about gifts that you’ve received that you don’t want? Organizing holiday gifts for your loved ones or organizing gifts you’ve received takes a bit of work, but it can be done! In this post, I’ll give you my top 5 tips for making your holiday gift giving and receiving more fun and efficient.
- Make a note about gift ideas. My favorite thing to do when someone tells me about a gift they want, or if I think of something that I think they would like, I keep the idea on a list in my phone. Under each person’s name, I write down things they like, or ideas they’ve given me for gifts. This is an ongoing list that I keep throughout the year. When it comes time to giving a holiday gift or some other special occasion, I can look at the list to plan out the gift I want to give. This helps me make meaningful choices when gift giving time comes around, and helps prevent overbuying. I also like to have an idea about things that I’d like to receive for a gift, so when someone asks me, I can tell them exactly what I want, rather than receiving something that I don’t need.
- Store gifts so you can find them later. Lots of people have the “gift giving” love language, so they like collecting gifts to give to people all year long. I have helped many of my clients redesign how they store gifts for people. When storing gifts for people in your life, make sure they are in a designated spot where you can see them clearly. If needed, use labels or bins to help you identify who the gifts are for. If you like to collect a backstock of generic gifts without a designated person in mind, keep like items together. For example, if you have a bunch of toys, you could either store them by the age they are appropriate for, or you could store all the children’s books together, Legos together, etc. What I often see before working with a client is that they forget where they put their gifts, gifts are hidden and piled in with a bunch of other things, gifts are spread out in different areas of the house, gifts for different people are mixed together and they can’t remember who they were for, or people forget they already purchased a gift for someone and end up overbuying. If you’ve got little kids in the house, make sure to store the gifts in a place that they can’t access, so the gifts don’t get opened prematurely.
- Give gifts that don’t clutter. If you don’t already know what someone wants, ask them. Otherwise, you run the risk of giving them something that’s just going to add more clutter to their life. You could also give them a gift that doesn’t add physical clutter to their life. Gift an experience such as tickets to their favorite event, a massage, movie tickets, or a restaurant. Memberships are another great gift idea, such as to a local museum, the zoo, a gym membership, their favorite app subscription, or even something really practical like a Costco membership. If you’ve got free time yourself or you want to gift a service from a professional, you could offer babysitting, housecleaning, pet sitting, yard work, home cooked meals, or even a Professional Organizer! You could give a gift for something like a cooking class, a foreign language, yoga/Pilates classes, art classes, or music lessons. Food such as chocolate, coffee, fruit baskets, or other things could be another good idea, but make sure the person you’re giving the gift to doesn’t have any food restrictions, or isn’t trying to avoid certain types of food. Flowers and candles make good gifts too. If you’re really stumped, give them a gift card for their favorite store, or make a donation to their favorite charity.
- Integrate new gifts into your home with care. Receiving an abundance of gifts can be overwhelming. I have dedicated whole organizing sessions to helping people put away gifts after they’ve had a wedding or other holiday. I know some people live by the “one in, one out” rule, but it’s not a hard and fast rule. Use new gifts as an opportunity to let go of things that you don’t need or want around anymore. Allow yourself an upgrade. Don’t just pile new things on top of what you already have. Take some time to assess your inventory.
- Regifting or donating gifts you don’t want. When someone gives you a gift, accept the gift with gratitude, and thank the giver for putting in the time and effort to pick something out for you. Honor the intent behind the gift- for you to receive love and kindness. If you don’t want a gift that you’ve received, it’s ok to regift it or donate it. It is not your responsibility to keep things around your house out of guilt, although you may want to give the gift a chance for to use it before letting it go. Occasionally, loved ones will give “gifts” that aren’t actually gifts. These come from people who have a very difficult time letting things go, and so try to give away stuff that they’ve accumulated and pawn it off onto you, so you have to deal with it. This can be a difficult situation when gifters who get visibly upset if you give away something that they gave you. This places a lot of burden on the receiver of the gifts. Keeping these unwanted items around only prolongs the problem, and doesn’t do you or the person who gave you the gift any favors.
What are your favorite ways to organize holiday gifts? Send me a message, I’d love to hear about it!
Posted By Jean Prominski, Certified Professional Organizer
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