If you are struggling with clutter already, and these new goodies will only be adding to the situation, consider minimizing what you bring home. Half of the thrill for many of my clients is opening the package or making the purchase. Once the item is theirs, some of the attraction wears off. If you find that happening with your holiday goodies, consider donating them! There are charities in need all year long and believe me, we can find the perfect one to benefit from your donations! I know that some people will have trouble justifying donating brand new items, but consider it. Especially with impersonal “gifty” items, ask yourself if you already have some of those around the house unopened from previous holidays. Again, for many the answer is yes. I know clients often feel guilty but I encourage them to look at it from another point of view: rather than the item collecting dust and getting lost in the shuffle, it can go to someone who truly needs it now. I know that makes many people feel better about purging. Also as a gift giver, I would rather not be a contributing factor to family and friend's disorganization.
In the future, consider sharing alternative gift giving ideas with friends and family:
- Consumables. Weather it is a certificate for a salon, massage, dinner, or a movie, people often do not spend the money to pamper themselves often enough.
- In Kind Donations. Give your family and friends a list of local charities that are near and dear to your heart and ask that they make a donation in your name instead of purchasing a gift.
- Drawing names to minimize quantity. Each family member would only have one person to buy for resulting in a more personal, and often quality gift.
After the holidays, then what? Undoubtedly, you have several bags beneath your tree or piled by the door filled with gifts from well-meaning friends and family. You may have told them not to get you anything or not. But now the new treasures are here. What to do with it?!?
- Bring all of your new goodies in to one area so you can view them all at once.
- Sort them into like categories. (Pampering, clothes and accessories, kitchen goods and food, utility, etc.) As you sort, set items aside that you know are getting the boot!
- Next, take a look at each category individually. Are there things that you do not like, were disappointed when you opened, are fun, but just not your style? Those are the cast-offs. Set them aside for later!
- Look at what is left behind. Is it a manageable amount of goods? If so, kudos for you! If you are like many, it is not. Often not because the new goods are not manageable, but because their current goods are disorganized. For the items left over, I urge you to think about if they will add quality to your life. Honestly, do you need it, will you use it, what if you knew someone who needed it more than you? Be critical, and if you are comfortable, consider working through this process with a friend. Even if they are just there for support and do not help you make any decisions, clients often find it helpful (in the industry this is called body doubling.)
- Practice the “One in, one out” rule. Simply put,for each item that you are keeping, you have to find another item to leave the house. Not only will it minimize the guilt of keeping gifts, it will leaving you feeling accomplished!
- If you are keeping it, you must give it a home. It sounds silly, but you are more likely to find it when you go looking if you decide where to look rather than leaving it all in holiday bags in a closet or under the stairs.
Finally, before you get started on this project or any other organizing project big or small, set yourself up for success. Get all of your supplies nearby and be realistic about a time line. You can do it!
January is NAPO GO (Get Organized!) Month!
Organizing is a common New Year's Resolution. I will be offering a free weekly conference call to talk about organizing struggles, setting organizing goals, and accountability. If you are interested in participating, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.