I get caught up in the season of giving. I love carefully selecting presents for others and I especially love giving gifts to my two little girls. The joy my three year old displays, even when opening new socks, is enough to keep my smiling for a full day. I am struggling to stay rational (step away from the toy section – your three year old does NOT NEED the full race track set -when she just asked for a car) and keep holiday spending and gift giving to a minimum. I need to remember that her joy is not affected by the amount of gifts (or the price or quantity for that matter). It is about the experience and love shown this time of year. I also need to remember that with our lifestyle a move will be in the works in the next few years and I become extra motivated to purge while envisioning myself packing boxes!
If you find yourself a little overwhelmed after this holidays and the amount of stuff you have, try these four tips to purge/re-purpose excess items:
Sneak Away: After all of the gift opening, set aside some of the toys or items you think could liven up a rainy day, or work for a reward on a future date. This can be used to spread out the joy of the gifts given. It is easy for children to get overwhelmed (and forget) everything they open Christmas morning- making it easy for you to sneak a few things to put away for later.
Toy Rotation: Want to keep your play room neater and decrease the amount of toys you pick up on a daily basis? Pack away a box with toys/games (labeled with the date) and in a month swap the current play things out with the boxed toys. This will keep your kids engaged in the toys they already have- and makes less of a mess!
Swap: For every new item (toys, clothing, etc) pick something to give away. For example, your child gets a new sweatshirt and car set, have them pick out a sweatshirt that is getting too small or that isn't worn often and an older toy that is played with less and less and have them go with you to someplace like the Salvation Army to donate. This is a great exercise for children who are a little bit older and realize that there are those who don't have the luxuries we enjoy.
Re-gift- Some of the most treasured outfits and toys come from friends and relations as “pass downs”. My daughter loves the hand-me-down big sister pajamas from a family in our play group given to us with a note about it being her daughter's favorite and how they both wanted someone else to enjoy it as much as she did. Kids don't know whether something is new or not and most do not care anyway! I think re-gifting gets a bad name when you re-gift something truly awful (I'm looking at you re-gifter of the fruitcake from last year!) but can really be special if the item has meaning.
Please share your tried and true methods for purging after the holidays!
About the Blogger: Briana Hartzell is a Navy spouse, mother to two beautiful girls (3 years and 8 months), a former full time USAA employee and a graduate of Texas A&M University. Briana writes at Being Briana, a blog focused on the joys that military life and parenthood can bring.
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