We are so lucky to live in a country in a time in which expendable income is the norm. What I mean by that is, often if one has the desire to make that impulse purchase; they have the means to do so. No matter what the level – be it a pack of gum, another pair of shoes, or a spontaneous weekend away – that is by means of expendable income. Those are not items we NEED, it’s just something we want. We are truly blessed. However, there are times when these blessings, can get in the way of our happiness. One such way I see this with many of my home organization clients is in gift giving.
Are Your Gifts Causing Clutter or Other Chaos?
I work with many women who have young children. Almost all of these beautiful kids have grandparents who are a regular part of their lives. Grandparents think about their grandkids all the time and shower them with love and gifts. They have plenty to spend on their grandkids and because they think about them and love them so much, they are always buying them something.
Sometimes Gifts are Too Much of a Good Thing
My clients tell me they appreciate the gestures for what they are – gestures of love – but secretly confide in me several conflicting feelings:
- Over-indulgence: Sometimes my clients feel that the number of gifts purchased is just too many, too often. They feel the kids no longer are able to appreciate the value of a gift, because there are just so many.
- Steals the Thunder: I’ve had clients who wanted to buy a special gift for their child, but were trumped by the grandparents’ bigger or better gift. Some clients felt it was intentional, a purposeful overriding of the desires of the parents, and some knew it was completely innocent. Either way, parents are left feeling deflated.
- Not Allowed to Get Rid of the Gifts: I’ve heard this often, “I can’t get rid of it, my mother-in-law bought that.” Even when the child doesn’t like the gift or no longer plays with it, there is the sense of needing to keep it. Sometimes it’s because the gift-giver keeps tabs on the gifts. Sometimes it’s because my clients feel guilty.
- Cleaning Up is a Pain: Managing all these gifts that now fill up living spaces becomes the responsibility of the parents. In my experience, children do not do a great job keeping their spaces clean at least without prompting from parents – even when they don’t have a lot of stuff. When they have a lot of stuff, the problem is compounded.
- No More Room: Too many toys or clothes in a limited space can become a problem. There is only so much space! What ends up happening is the toys or clothes pile up all over the place in areas they have no purpose in. As you can imagine, this is the problem that prompts my clients to seek my help in the first place.
Choose Other Ways to Show Your Love and Affection
My home organization clients do not know how to tell their loved ones to stop buying so many gifts for fear of hurting their feelings. So I am going to do it for them. I say this with the utmost love and respect: “Please stop buying so many gifts for your grandkids. Cut back on the toys and clothes and consider contributing to their educational fund, or stashing the cash away for a family vacation. Take them to the zoo or a symphony. Spend time with your grandkids doing something you both can enjoy. Your grandkids will love you just as much without so many toys and the parents will feel the relief of a less-cluttered home.”
What would you do with the money not spent on gifts for your grandchildren or other cherished special little people? What are your ideas to re-direct those funds into new ways to show your love?