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A new year with filled with many promises. Many of us have decided to finally get clutter under control, but it’s hard to tackle the old clutter when new clutter has just entered your house.

What does an aspiring minimalist do when they have just received a whole host of unwanted gifts?

For starters, be thankful there are so many people who want to give you gifts. Be gracious when you receive them. Chances are these kindhearted folks won’t come to your house later in the year to see how you are using or not using their gifts.

What about the things you don’t think you’ll ever use??

1.  Take gifts that you don’t think you’ll use and put them on top of the closet.

2.  Give it 6 months to see if you go looking for it.  If you still don’t see a need/want for them either regift these items or donate them. But be careful regifiting, it’s tricky, in fact there is an art to it ~ My Judy The Foodie, The Art of (Re)Gifting has a great take on this dilemma.

3. Gifts that you clearly won’t use for example clothing that is too small, toys, books and games that are age inappropriate or duplicates  – donate immediately.

Where can I donate unwanted gifts??

  • Goodwill,
  • Salvation Army,
  • Local churches
  • Local shelters
  • Local public schools

How do I handle it when someone asks me “What do you/spouse/children want?”

Be honest, people will respect it. “Well, Bobby has been reading a lot lately, but is picky about books, a Barnes and Noble gift card would be great!”

As a gift giver, be thoughtful as to what you are bringing into someone’s home.

You are not buying for yourself, keep the recipients taste in mind. If you want to push your recipient outside their comfort zone, be sure to provide a gift receipt so they can return or exchange it

Think outside the box.

Magazine subscriptions for kids are a great idea. Kids love getting mail. My favorites for kids are Highlights, High Five, Sports Illustrated for Kids and Ladybug.

Tickets! Sporting events, concerts, theater or the movies.

An experience – this is great for kids (and the parents of the recipient). Offer to spend a special day with a child, take them bowling, to the movies or the zoo. Chances are kids will remember this over a toy. If you really want to child to “open” something in addition to the outing, buy a book that goes with the theme.

I spent the first week of January managing donations and returns. For the first time, I don’t feel overwhelmed with the stuff that came in a Christmas.

How about you?

~ Claire