It’s the time of year where the holiday season is about to kick into high gear. One of the biggest concerns people who are decluttering and embracing a minimalist lifestyle have is how to easily handle gifts during the holidays and on birthdays. Especially if you have kids who are lucky enough to have many people who love them and buy them gifts.
I want to help alleviate some of your concerns about gifts undoing all of your hard work decluttering. With a few simple strategies it’s easy to avoid gifts overwhelming you during the holidays or on birthdays.
5 simple strategies to easily handle gifts during the holidays or on birthdays:
1. Shift your focus to gratitude
I’ve talked about keeping an attitude of gratitude a lot recently, in my clutter-free gift guide for kids, and in my post about how to simplify the holidays. That’s because gratitude is really important. Shifting your mindset to one of gratitude and positivity changes how you see everything.
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
~ Wayne Dyer
Change your perspective to one of gratitude, instead of feeling frustrated about how many gifts you or your kids receive during the holidays or on birthdays. You and your family are incredibly lucky to have people who love you and your kids so much that they want to spend their hard-earned money buying gifts to express their love for you.
Even if it’s not the type of gifts you would choose, or even if it’s more than you want; remember that someone loves you and your family enough to give you gifts. Keeping your focus on the love and intention behind the gift really changes everything.
Giving gifts is how many people demonstrate and express their love. Appreciate the gift, but most importantly, acknowledge and appreciate the love behind the gift. Make sure to appreciate and feel gratitude for that love. To have people in your life who love you and your family is a wonderful thing! Shifting your focus to gratitude is a great way to easily handle gifts without getting caught up in stress or negative thinking.
Don’t let minimalism come in between your relationships
Don’t let your goal of decluttering and minimalism interfere with the gratitude you feel for gifts you and your family receive. People give gifts because they love you and your family and value your relationship.
And remember one of the biggest reasons many of us pursue minimalism in the first place: to gain more time, space and energy to focus on the people we love most. Don’t let your pursuit of minimalism hinder the gratitude you feel, or create a sore spot in your relationships.
Aside from shifting your focus to gratitude, the following tips offer practical ways to easily handle gifts without allowing them to create clutter in your home.
2. Declutter before and/or after holidays and birthdays
Decluttering before the holidays or birthdays
Quickly decluttering before holidays or birthdays is a great way to easily handle gifts and prevent gifts from overwhelming your home. Go into the holiday season or birthdays from a place of less. Then you’ll have made room to add a few new gifts without feeling overwhelmed.
If you have kids, involve them too. Keep it fun and exciting. Tell them the holidays or their birthday is coming and they’ll likely be getting some gifts. Ask them to find things they aren’t using or loving to declutter to make room for the new things coming.
Decluttering after the holidays or birthdays
You can also choose to declutter after the holidays or birthdays as well. After receiving new things as gifts, find things you can declutter to make room for them. Maybe you got a new mug for your birthday, so you declutter one of your other mugs to make room. Or if your child got a new toy for Christmas, declutter another toy to make room for the new one.
The point is to balance the new items coming into your home by decluttering a few things to make room. This helps keep the amount of “stuff” in your home at a level that feels comfortable for you.
It can also be helpful to do another quick decluttering session a few weeks after a holiday or birthday. Get rid of anything you and your family aren’t using or loving. This can include both old things and any of the new gifts. If you and your family aren’t using or loving something, it’s probably adding clutter to your home and life.
Appreciate the gift, but let go of the guilt
Remember, a gift is given to show love. You accept the gift and express your appreciation to the giver for the gift, and the love and intention behind the gift.
Once given, it’s up to you to decide what to do with the gift. If it ends up being something you or your family isn’t using or loving, get rid of it guilt-free. Remember the gift was given in love and that love was appreciated and acknowledged. Do whatever you need to with gifts after they are given.
It’s your home, time and space, and you are in change of what fills your time, space and home. Let go of feelings of guilt or obligation and be intentional about what you allow to stay in your home. Decluttering before and/or after the holidays is a great strategy to easily handle gifts.
3. Talk to family and friends about your decluttering and why you’re doing it
A simple way to approach your feelings of stress or overwhelm about how to handle gifts is to be honest about it!
Try talking to your friends and family. Let them know how overwhelmed you were feeling with the amount of clutter and excess stuff in your home. Tell them about your work decluttering and what a positive impact minimalism has had on your life.
Not everyone will understand or appreciate what you’re doing, and you can’t force them to. But it never hurts to be open and honest by sharing what you’re doing and why. Most people want to give gifts you and your family will use and appreciate. So sometimes being open and honest about the lifestyle changes you’re making is a great place to start.
Which brings us to the next strategy to easily handle gifts during the holidays or on birthdays.
4. Have gift suggestions for you and your family ready if people ask
As I said, people usually try to give gifts you or your family will use, appreciate and enjoy. That’s half the fun of giving gifts; knowing the person you give it to will be thrilled when they open it and enjoy the gift. So, if people ask what you or your kids would like for a gift, tell them!
Have some suggestions ready before the holidays or birthdays of things that you and your family either need or want. If a gift is something you or your family will use regularly and enjoy, it won’t be clutter. Instead, it will be adding value to your or your family’s life.
Not everyone will ask, and not everyone will follow your suggestions. But if someone does ask, be prepared with a few suggestions for them.
5. Ask for and buy clutter-free gifts
As far as what kinds of gifts to suggest or buy, there are many clutter-free gift ideas to avoid clutter altogether! Which helps you easily handle gifts during the holidays or on birthdays.
There are basically three general types of clutter-free gifts: experiences, consumable gifts and things you want/need.
Experience gift ideas
Experience gifts are something you can do and enjoy, without adding any clutter to your home at all. It can be something as simple as taking the person on a picnic. Or something more elaborate such as taking the person on a weekend trip to go to a spa.
Whatever it is, experience gifts let you give the person an experience or activity they’ll enjoy, without adding any physical clutter to their home.
Consumable gift ideas
Consumable gift ideas are things the person will use up and appreciate, without adding any permanent clutter to their home. Examples of consumable gifts can be things like food or drinks, art supplies, personal care items like lotion, etc.
Wanted or needed gift ideas
Everyone, even people who are decluttering or living a minimalist lifestyle, have things they might want or need. If something will be used, loved or enjoyed, it won’t be clutter because it will add value to your life. Asking for things, if someone asks, that you either want or need is a great way to make sure gifts aren’t adding clutter to your life.
Change your perspective and be prepared for gift-giving times
Remember, you can’t control what other people do. If you have people in your life who enjoying buying and giving gifts to express their love, don’t let your goal of a minimalist life create hard feelings in your relationship by getting upset about their gifts.
Shift your own perspective to focus on the love and gratitude. Then prepare before the holidays or birthdays with clutter-free gift ideas to suggest and by decluttering your home. These simple strategies can help you easily handle gifts during holidays and birthdays. All without adding clutter to your home or causing you unnecessary stress.
Do gifts during the holidays or on birthdays cause you stress? Do you have any other tips for how to easily handle gifts received during the holidays or on birthdays? Leave a comment below and let me know!