Holiday gifts: Out with the old in with the new

You will undoubtedly receive some gifts this holiday season that you really don’t want, but for the gifts that you do want make sure you get rid of the old items in your home that they replace. If you receive a new pair of jeans, get rid of an old pair. A new coffee maker? Get rid of the old one that hasn’t made a good pot of coffee since the ’90s.

Try and make the holiday season a zero sum gain in the accumulation of stuff. It is also a good idea to remove old toys from your child’s collection when the inevitable influx of new toys that come into the house.

This advice won’t apply to all gifts, such as one of a kind gifts and consumables. However, for clothing and toys, it is an easy way to get rid of old items that have been replaced.

10 Comments for “Holiday gifts: Out with the old in with the new”

  1. posted by Marie on

    I’m definitely going to apply this advice to my holiday this year, especially when it comes to pajamas. Every year my mom gets me a pair, so my wardrobe now contains more sleepwear than everyday clothes. Bye-bye fuzzy nightgowns!

  2. posted by Andamom on

    I think it works in general… If you get 5 news things, get rid of 5 things. Stuff is stuff regardless of its type. And, if you are home during the holidays, use this as an opportunity to give yourself a ‘holiday present’ get rid of more stuff – Clean out your closets, attic, basement, bedroom, filing cabinet, bathroom, car, and pockets. Start 2008 with a cleaner and less cluttered way of life!

  3. posted by Billy Budd on

    It is a good idea to cull through the kids toys post Thanksgiving. Some of these toys may be donated–but be wary of donating recalled toys which creates more work for charities.

    Once your children’s rooms are cleaned out, you have plenty of room for the new Christmas toys which will soon be gathering dust just like the old ones did!

  4. posted by Jan on

    I recycle my Christmas cards. They arrive in the mail, I read them, I cut the writing off the back, I turn them into a Christmas post card with a friends address, stamp and short message and repost immediatly.

    I keep a few colour cordinated cards in the decorations to display each year.

  5. posted by Kate Saltfleet on

    @Jan – I do similar, but display all the cards. Once the holidays are over, I “massacre” them into gift tags for next year using a pair of pinking shears.

    The one-in-one-out rule is one of the cornerstones to reducing what I call “clutter creep”.

  6. posted by Jamie on

    I cleaned out my daughters’ closets before and after Christmas and my 5-year-old actually came to me while I was cleaning out and asked if she could donate some of her stuffed animals to poor children. We filled a bag for Goodwill. I was thrilled that she volunteered to do this on her own and I’ve explained to her that every year around Christmas we will clean out her toys and donate ones that she and her sister no longer play with.

  7. posted by Michele on

    My daughter and I keep a give-away bag year ’round. As she outgrows clothes or toys, and as I de-clutter the kitchen or my closet, we put old stuff in the bag. (We clean, fold, or neaten the items first.) Then I take everything to my favorite charity shop a few times per year.

    The bag sits in a nook between my bed and desk, pretty much out of sight and out of the way for navigating through my bedroom.

  8. posted by elrj on

    When I was little, my mother would notice un-played-with toys my brother and I had gotten bored of. She would pack them away for a “rainy day” then re-produce them for a second wave of delight and play time.
    She would also encourage us after the holidays to pick out a few toys/items we no longer cared for that we would clean and donate to a charity of appropriate kind, teaching us, even as kids, that we were very fortunate and we should share our joyful good fortune with others.

  9. posted by Princess Ivory on

    Hook up with your local Freecycle group. Find one near you at:

    You can give things away there to people that really want them. And you can get some very cool things from other people. The sky’s the limit. From a few dollars worth of stickers and coloring books, to treadmills and old cars!

    And you feel so good meeting someone or just corresponding with them, and they are so grateful to receive it, or give it.

    Many of us do what is called a “porch pickup.” After you have selected a recipient, you put it in a bag or box on your front porch, and they come and pick it up. It’s a little safer that way, especially if you are home alone. Also allows you to leave the house without having to wait around for them to show up.

    There is also Cheapcycle, to earn a little money, or buy something used cheaply, and Craigslist, for the same kind of thing.

    I’ve used all three with much success, both in giving, and in finding things I need. They are very busy this time of year with things for Christmas, especially in this economy. So check it out for reducing your clutter, and doing some inexpensive shopping at the same time!

  10. posted by Robyn on

    I give my kids 3 months…anything not opened or touched goes in the “re-gift” closet. I use them as birthday gifts for my son’s friends or send them to out of town nieces and nephews the following year. So far, it’s worked out well. Saves money and clutter.

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