Organizing and Gift Giving
Americans are generous people. We love expressing our appreciation and celebrating with gifts. The commercial market has maximized that spirit by making the most of every holiday including Grandparents Day (It is in September.) with appropriate cards, etc. We love to give and we love to receive.
It is very important to teach children to be generous in giving but also gracious in receiving. Every gift should be acknowledged with a thank you note. The sooner the notes are written the better, but no matter how long after receiving it, it must be acknowledged.
Once we have thanked the giver, the dilemma of what to do with gifts we do not need or want can become a space problem unless it is consumable. If it is from children or parents, especially in-law children or parents, it must be given a place of honor for a significant amount of time or put in place for their occasional visits. (For good advice on relationships with in-laws, I recommend Just Call Me Mom by Mary Tatem.)
Gifts that we do not use and want or do not have the space to display can be returned for credit or donated to a good cause. One young military wife who was working on getting her home organized, donated gift baskets of cosmetic items to a young girl down the street who wanted to be a cosmetician. The teenager was thrilled to get them and the young wife was delighted to pass them on to someone who wanted them. There are many charitable organizations as well as friends or family members who may need or want those items we choose not to keep. Since they would be new, selling them is an option, too. Moving them out is the best way to free our minds and spaces.
Letting those close to us know we would like gifts that do not clutter in the future is a good idea. If they are aware of our organizing journeys, they will be respectful of our wishes and not be offended.
In fact, we can set that example ourselves and give others clutter free gifts. Some examples are coupons to favorite stores or restaurant; baskets of fruits or jellies and jams, candy, homemade soup mixes, cakes, cookies or muffins; assortment of teas or coffee; car wash coupons; fishing or hunting license, rounds of golf or membership to a pool, zoo, museum or theme park. Regardless of the gifts received or given, they represent thoughts from the heart. And those are the most important gifts.