Friday, December 19, 2008

The Equal Mass Law

Okay, this is probably more of a January topic, since that's when everyone seems to get the organizing, de-cluttering bug. But I'm throwing this out there now, because this is another little peculiarity tradition of ours.

Christmas "booty" will be coming in, therefore an equal mass must go out. Otherwise we're drowning in stuff. Now, honestly, we do have a fairly large house, so this is not as critical as it used to be, when the three boys shared a room that was - no kidding - 9'4" x 9'8". But it's still important because clutter in the house causes me stress. So...

It's time to sort again. We did their clothes when the weather changed, so I can check that off my list. Toys come next. We can get rid of things they have outgrown and aren't interested in. And - the hardest for me - books. Well, maybe books can wait. :0)

We're not in the camp that doesn't do gifts. We do. We like gifts - giving and receiving them! But in order to stem the tide of the stuff that comes in, here are a couple of tips that work for us...

1. Keep the "gift circle" small. We exchange gifts with our family. I don't want to squelch my kids' generous impulses, but I also don't want to start a cycle/expectation of exchanging gifts with more and more people each year. If they want to give a friend a gift I'll try to help them make something.

2. Think outside the box. Some of our best gifts have been memberships. We've enjoyed annual memberships to the Zoo and the Science Center in recent years. Didn't ask for those this year because the gas to get there is so expensive. But maybe a gas card to go with it??? Other experiences and activities fall in this category.

3. Tickets. I wouldn't have budgeted money to take the whole family to Cirque d' Soleil. (sp?) But my parents gave us tickets last Christmas and we all went together... in May.

4. Lessons. I'd better keep the kids away from the blog for a few days... they're getting a session of swim lessons from Grandpa and Grandma :0)

5. Subscriptions. I don't want a lot of magazines around the house. I don't have time to read them all (oh the pressure!) and too many women's magazines just cultivate discontent with what we have. But... we have enjoyed and saved (and filed, in a sort of organized way) back-issues of Kids Discover, National Geographic, and a couple of other magazines that we like to look at and (bonus!) we use in homeschool.

6. Think consumables. I don't just mean food, but think of things you use and use up. Candles. A new calendar. Lotion. Gift cards for Happy Meals.

7. Books. Okay, yes, books are stuff. But books are a whole separate category, to me!

Be sure to leave me any of your great ideas in the comments :0)


leahlefler said...

We're big fans of the membership (Nolan got a zoo membership for Christmas) gifts! We also do trips or "events" in lieu of a physical gift sometimes. This year we're going to take the boys to Splash Lagoon (indoor water park with a big toddler area)- it makes more memories than a toy will! That being said, they're getting plenty of toys- they are the only grandchildren on both sides of the family!

Julie said...

Oooooo, the water park sure sounds fun. (Especially since it's 12F outside right now!)

And ours get plenty of toys too :0)