I admitted in this past week's organizing video that yes, I re-gift. I say admitted because some people frown upon this, but not me. I will continue to streamline my life as much as possible to always reach my ultimate goal: more fun family time and less chores, errands, and wasted time. I want to love the life that I live and actually have the time to enjoy it now! There are tons of small tweaks you can make to your habits besides re-gifting to deal with the wasted space or the "frosting" part of your life.
Frosting? I use this term to describe that Pinterest level where some people tend to take things in the quest to be the best. Like making fancy lunches with cookie cutter cutout sandwiches and themes for your kids. Or doing a “fun” kids holiday craft with 20 steps and instructions so complicated the adults have trouble. Or maybe you have a home so magazine beautiful it's breathtaking, but impossible to clean, maintain, and actually live in.
So let's find some ways to cut corners and make it easier. If you truly enjoy doing those things and have the time to do them (i.e. you are smiling, not gritting your teeth while making those beautiful lunches), then please continue to do what makes you happy. In fact, do more of it! But let's pare down the other stuff you feel like you should do (but secretly hate doing) and save some time to make more room for the fun. A favorite phrase of my dad's is, "It's all about choices." Let's prioritize now and make some choices, shall we?
Always keep handy a box of gifts for last minute emergencies. It can be filled with things you've seen on sale and bought just in case and also things you've received that just aren't your style. Mark those re-gifts with a post it note stating who it was from and make sure to give it to someone outside of that circle of friends so no feelings are hurt.
Re-Using Gift Bags
If a gift bag still looks brand new after opening the gift, store it to re-use for a future gift, albeit with new tissue paper please. No guilt, no shame, and you've just saved yourself a few bucks. My husband has received the same super hero gift bag for the last 3 birthdays and I'm not sure if he's noticed yet.
Re-Using Gift Tags
I have a bunch of very elaborate handmade gift tags with my family's names on them that I reuse year after year for holidays. It's become a family joke to see who's handwriting is on the tag and if they actually gave the gift or not.
While baking, knitting, and crafting gifts yourself is amazing, if you are not that kind of person or simply don't have the time, then don't do it. A lot of people don't notice or give you proper appreciation for your efforts, so only create for a select group of people, and then buy for the rest. Again, no guilt please!
Etsy is a good source if you want to have those homemade looking personalized cookies for each kid at a party but don't have the time or skills. If it matters to you, find a way to get it done even if it's not you doing the task. If it really doesn't matter, eliminate it and move on.
Buying in Bulk
What is easier - buying a zoo-themed card for a zoo-themed birthday party you are attending or just using what you have at home? What matters to you? I'm still working my way through a 25 pack of assorted greeting cards bought at Walmart and couldn't be happier.
Don't Over Do It
It all boils down to what is the best use of your time. Think about the person receiving your gift or who you are hosting a party for - will they notice your extra effort or not? Are you just trying to be a supermom for the sake of looking good to your friends or trying to gain sympathy for your hard work? Can you let go of that feeling and actually be happier with a more simple kind of life?
So make some choices and decide where you want to spend your time, money, and effort. I've learned what matters to my family (spending quality time together) and what doesn't (the perfectly decorated house) so I've altered my habits as the years have gone by. I still like to decorate so sometimes I'll just do it for me, but only if it's fun. When something fun, like prepping for the holidays, becomes a chore, I know I'm doing it wrong and I need to change course and streamline some tasks. It's all about choices!