Gifts That Have Meaning

These are great ideas to consider for the holidays!

downsizing the home

Gifts that have meaning_art

Much has been made lately – the topic seems to come up every year – about gift giving in this season of so much stuff. Do we buy too much? Do we have too much? Are gifts really necessary?

Here’s a look at some gifts that have meaning and resonate far beyond the gift itself. A gift of a donation to one of these groups, or to so many other worthy causes, is a gift that can have a lasting impact.

Gifts that help the environment and its creatures

Although we can and do applaud the United Nations Climate Agreement that was signed this month in Paris, there is still much to be done to protect our planet.

The Environmental Defense Fund helps to find climate solutions. They “create solutions that let nature and people prosper.” Their $2-for$1 gift match offer, in effect until the end of December, triples the impact of…

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Don’t Let Halloween Clutter Haunt You

It’s easy to accumulate Halloween clutter from candy to costumes and decorations. Before trick-or-treaters come to your door, take time to cull through Halloween items. Sort no longer used decorations and costumes. Consider donating them to a local charity, such as Goodwill or Salvation Army. Toss out any damaged holiday decorations and old candy.

After culling through old Halloween items, if you want to update your Halloween decorations, consider buying them at Goodwill or Salvation Army. Think  in terms of how you can stretch your decorations through November. Also, be mindful of where you will display and store them after the holiday.

Finding a place for Halloween items frees you to enjoy the seasonal treats and displays. Fall produce such as gourds, squash and pumpkins can be used for festive decorations. They can be carved and eaten. Baked pumpkin seeds can be a healthy snack. After using these natural materials, you can compost them.

Halloween clutter can’t haunt you, after you’ve cleared, culled and composted it. This gives you more time to savor the Halloween season.


Tips to Reduce Vacation Clutter

Many times when coming back from vacation, we bring items that we use only once. The Mickey Mouse cap from Disneyland or the Cape Cod t-shirt, are so tempting to buy when we’re visiting a place, but not so likely to be used when the trip is over. Just being more selective about what you buy will cut down on clutter, and help you avoid having to make painful decisions about what to do with that drawer full of “interesting” t-shirts.

  •  Be choosy about the souvenirs you buy. Try to consider which items you’ll really use or treasure after you get home. When, I vacationed in Sedona, Arizona, I purchased a box of finely crafted notecards from a local artist. They cost twenty dollars, which is more than I usually spend. However, I used all the cards, and my friends enjoyed receiving them. This was a meaningful purchase for me and a way of sharing the beauty of Sedona with my friends.
  •  Make a conscious effort to bring back more memories and fewer objects. Taking a trip with friends or loved ones, we can find ways to share novel vacation experiences. Recently, we had a family reunion in Sedona. We all decided to take a two hour local jeep tour. In the course of driving on the rugged roads, we experienced the beauty of the looming red rock formations and painted desert sky.  Those happy memories bonded us together. Of course, we had to compare who had the best tour guide! Does your family still tell stories about that trip you took? If so, that would emphasize that the memories as lasting and important as a physical object.
  • Clean up digital clutter. Soon after your trip, look through all the digital photos that may be stored on one or more devices. Delete all those duplicates and out-of-focus photos. Now it will be easier to use  the remaining photos for some beautiful and organized reminders of your trip. Some options might be: making a slide show of your trip to share with friends, using one of the many services such as Flickr to create an online photo album or purchase a book based  on your adventures. You’ll save space and  have a more manageable set of photos.

Consider savoring the memories and your chosen souvenirs. You may buy less and treasure what you have. Your load is lighter  and you don’t have to worry where to store it.


Dreams Hiding Behind Clutter

Discover the dream behind a cluttered object. My piano sitting in our living room represented my dream of my children’s music education.  The children took piano lessons for ten years. However, it wasn’t their dream to continue them.piano

Musical notes didn’t come from the piano, but dust floated around it.  The piano turned into a furniture piece backed against my stairs. The piano top became a mantle for my children’s pictures.

The piano’s role had changed but my perception didn’t. It wasn’t till a cross country and downsizing move occurred, did my view shift.  I couldn’t transport this heavy piece of furniture cross country. Now, the piano’s purpose snapped into my focus.

Although, I couldn’t hold on to my dream of the piano providing music for my children, I could give it to someone who wanted to play. It took three months for someone to take and pick it up.  Now, it was going to a home where three young girls could play on it.

The piano’s original purpose was reclaimed. I was happy to remove the dust and pictures for its new home.