Have a cherished kid in your life that you enjoy gifting to? Great intentions and generosity from friends and family leave many homes overrun with toys. Every birthday or holiday brings in gifts from multiple people and often each of those people gives multiple gifts!
When considering what to give, begin with the end in mind. Inevitably the toy you give will be outgrown and need to be disposed of somehow – it is VERY difficult to donate toys. Most thrift stores won’t take them. Toy consignment stores are picky and toys need to be complete and in great condition. Most families don’t have the time or energy to sell things online or have garage sales. All this means many, many toys end up in landfill or homes get overrun because folks don’t want to just throw things away.
There are lots of clutter-free ways to express your love and care for kiddos, here are some easy gift alternatives to toys:
- Memberships – or single visit tickets to fun kid places such as amusement parks, zoos, or aquariums
- Digital Gifts – Audible, iTunes, digital books, online magazines
- Experiences – movie tickets, miniature golf or fun centers, mani-pedi or facials, a picnic outing with special relative
- Classes – toddler play spaces or mini gym. Summer camp. Swimming, gymnastics, sewing, cooking, art, nature; there are classes in every topic imaginable!
- College fund or savings bonds – Open or contribute to a college fund
- Food – a variety popcorn tin, box of cake pops, tour of Jelly Belly Factory, candy apple making kit, cake decorating kit
A quick google search of “clutter-free gifts for kids” will turn up lots of other creative ideas. Give your adult children a break by not burdening them with toys to sort, store and pass on when the kids outgrow them.
Unwanted gifts can clutter our homes. How can we deal with the guilt of passing on things we don’t want or can’t use?
The hand knit sweater from Aunt Martha that you’d never be caught dead in…the set of candles from a co-worker that you know you’ll never use…the dishtowels from your sister that she’ll probably notice if you don’t put out…
Now that the holidays are over, take preventative measures right away – don’t let unwanted gifts clutter up your closets and drawers!
It’s The Thought That Counts
- A gift is a show of kindness or love to you, not a contract you must honor
- You can receive and keep the good intention of a gift independent of the item given
The Closer The Giver, The Stronger The Stick
Post-Its® Gifts: from acquaintances or people you know you won’t see or will never be in your house.
- Sending an unwanted item back out into the world allows it to be used and appreciated by someone who chooses it purposefully
Scotch Tape® Gifts: the gifts from friends we like a lot. They may never know you got rid of the item but you will and that alone makes you feel bad.
- If someone really cares about you they would want you to surround yourself with things you love
- When possible, be honest with friends and family about what you don’t like; it helps them know you better
Duct Tape® Gifts: the stickiest. Usually from vey close relatives and friends, AND there’s a good chance they will notice if a particular gift isn’t in use.
- Remember, your feeling about the gift is not a reflection of how you feel about them or how much you appreciate that they gifted you
- If they bring up the gift in question, reinforce your appreciation of their generosity or sentiment while remembering that it is truly is up to you what fills your home
Look through your unwanted gifts and think about how sticky the attachments are. Lighten your gift guilt by focusing on the least sticky items. Picture them being happily used…by someone else!