Top 10 Tips: Gifts that don’t create clutter

The end of the year! It’s finally here! And yet it won’t leave until we spend time with, or think about people we love, who have brought us joy along the way. Sometimes, it is so easy to find presents for people. For example, if your friend is a gamer you could just buy him league of legends accounts and he’d be happy. But not everyone is so easy to buy a present for.

In my world as a professional organizer I walk into a lot of crowded spaces filled with things my clients can no longer use, or they feel they no longer need or desire. So many of them tell me that some of the clutter is from gifts they’ve never needed but guilt has kept the gift trapped in their home!

I listen to the holiday gift-buying commercials. Before 12/25, television and radio ads encourage you to buy things that people will LOVE!! After 12/25, the ads change, reminding consumers that since they didn’t get the gift they really wanted, they can exchange it for something they’ll really love! No one, it seems, can win at this game of gift giving/receiving.

Here at A Clear Path we’re all about the gifts that doesn’t cause clutter! Being of service, cooking a great meal, helping someone organize… now those are gifts everyone can use!

So with a grateful heart I offer you, our top 10 list for the holiday season: Gifts that don’t create clutter!


1. Take people you love to dinner or cook for them. Cook something you know the person likes to eat or take them out to one of their favorite restaurants or dessert spots. Some of the best memories are shared with loved ones at the table.


2. Help a friend de-clutter their closet. Start by emptying out the space you want to organize and create three piles: toss, donate, and keep. Help your friend by asking them, “do you really need/use that?” when deciding which items to keep. Each item you put back should have a “place.”


3. Professional organizer gift certificate. When you know someone who needs organizational guidance for tough jobs or putting an organizing system in place, a professional organizer is an effective way to get the job done. You will also receive guidance on how to maintain an organized environment. For more information or to order a professional organizer gift certificate, call 818-400-9592 or e-mail regina@aclearpath.net.


4. Experience Gifts create lasting memories and can be described as more enjoyable and fulfilling than any material object. Whether it’s a tour of the city, a hot air balloon ride, a trip to the spa, your loved one will be happy to be spending time with you enjoying the experience.

5. A calendar. New year, new calendar. Everyone needs a new calendar during the year, make yours unique and special by gifting one with custom pictures or choose a theme you know the person receiving the calendar will enjoy.

6. Gift cards are great gifts for everyone. You can get someone a gift card to a grocery store they frequent, clothing store, the best online watch store, gas card, or even just a prepaid Visa gift card.

7. Household appliances the gift recipient actually needs and will use on a regular basis. Whether it’s a wine opener or food processor, be sure the item will not clutter the kitchen and the person has space for it.

8. Digital photo frames are a great way to display many pictures without taking up much space. The recipient can also upload his or her own photos in addition to the ones loaded on the frame. If you want something more traditional then why not take the recipient to an Art Gallery and see what they like. Photo frames never take up much room after all.

9. Consumables: Food, wine, and other alcoholic beverages, chocolates and other special treats are one good way to spread holiday cheer. Put together a food basket hand picked with the person’s favorite items to personalize the basket.

10. Charitable Gifts are perfect gifts for someone that has everything or immensely supports a charitable cause. Consider making a donation in the person’s name; be sure it is a cause that is important to the person, not just you. Find ways to donate to environmental, children’s, health research, and many other organizations online. Research the fund on Charity Navigator so you know you’re making a wise choice.

Doing it Differently this Year

Rain is predicated in Los Angeles for this first week of November. Regardless of the weather, it’s a bit of a shock to see that the holiday shopping season has begun.

Many people love the holidays but become depressed by the amount of stress it seems to bring into their homes or hearts or both. ‘Tis not (supposed to be) the season for frustration but for love and peace-filled hearts.

So before you start groaning about what lies ahead, here are some strategies for doing the holidays a little differently this year. I’d love to hear if you used these or any other techniques and ideas from past newsletters.

Here’s to a safe and dry November, and a productive end to 2017.

Love,
Regina


Before your Holiday Season begins, create a list of things/events/experiences that you enjoy as well as those that have caused stress for you in the past. When you are able to identify your holiday stressors, you can proactively try to eliminate them. For example, if putting up decorations is a chore, enlist the help of someone else or invest in decorations that don’t take a lot of set-up or clean up time.


Use your calendar. Include when you will decorate (it may help to span out decorating over several days), airport arrivals/departures, shopping trips, school/work functions. Calendaring ALL of your events will also help you prioritize what is most important to you and/or your family and you may time-map accordingly.

Female hand holding a pen and writing a plan in a planner

Once you have everything you need to do on your calendar, you can begin to plan ahead by creating daily to-do lists for both your life and your holiday preparation. It is easier to prioritize when you know what you need to do and by when.


Take inventory of what holiday items you already have: decorations, wrapping paper, cards, etc. Write down what you have enough of and what you are still missing. If you are noticing the same broken decorations you’ve had for year, toss them. If you have too much of something you don’t need, give it away. And don’t forget to label bins, containers, and storage areas to help you later on.

People Looking Choosing at Colleagues Photo

Delegate tasks to family members to create a family activity. Have one person work on writing addresses on envelopes for cards, another to help with meal preparations, someone else may do the online shopping, etc. This creates shared responsibility and achievement for the whole family.


Decide how you want to send out holiday cards and season greetings. Make a list of everyone to whom you will send a card and have their addresses available. If you’d like to write a special note on the card to each recipient, spread this activity out over several days and try to write two to five cards a day, depending on your schedule.

Gift Present Celebrate Party Wrapped Simple Concept

Try to get as much shopping and preparation done from behind a computer. If you are shopping offline, call ahead before you arrive at the store to reserve the item for which you are looking. You can avoid going to several stores in search of the same item with this method. Even some grocery stores will set aside turkeys or roasts if you call in advance. \


Don’t be afraid to turn down invitations. It’s completely understandable to be busy or “fully booked” during the holiday season. Over-committing may lead to stress when you try to be everywhere at once.


Enjoy living in the season rather than being focused on creating memorable moments for everyone else. Focus on what matters to you and loved ones and prioritize those first.


Don’t know what to do with all the leftovers or unused items from the holidays? Have a holiday after-party to get rid of things you don’t want. You can have a potluck to help everyone get rid of leftovers or a white elephant for unwanted gifts.