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What You Give When You Give A Gift

What You Give When You Give A Gift

The holiday season is usually the time of the year when we give and receive the most gifts.

This gifting situation can become overwhelming, not only the buying process but also the receiving. 

Among the top reasons people find it hard to get organized is their guilt about letting go of unwanted gifts received.  

Have you ever thought about what you give when you offer a gift?

More Than A Gift

When you give someone a gift, you might do it with the best intentions, out of a perceived obligation, or without a specific reason. 

Regardless of the reason, you give that person responsibilities that might be more than the person wants or can handle. 

Has this ever crossed your mind?

When you give a gift, you are passing the responsibility of another possession they did not necessarily choose for themselves. 

They will be responsible for finding this item space in their home, storing it, cleaning it, and maintaining it. 

Unwanted Gifts

An unwanted gift exerts negative pressure subconsciously on the gift receiver. The mind recognizes the item’s presence and why such an item remains hidden or unused.

If someone receives a gift from a person they dislike or the item brings sad memories, that gift brings compounded negative energy.

No Strings Attached

Offering a gift should be without strings or obligation from the recipient. Whether it is to display, use, store, regift, donate, recycle, or trash the item, the outcome of the present should not become a reflection of the relationship between the giver and the receiver.

When you feel slighted if you don’t see the beautiful crystal vase that you gave to your niece in her home, or if you’re hanging on to the pink fuzzy throw blanket from your sister because you don’t want to hurt her feelings, then the gift is no longer a gift, but an emotional burden. 

Appreciate The Act of Giving Instead

Both parties should recognize that the gift recipient and the gift giver appreciate the gesture. But the best gift we can offer one another is the freedom from becoming a hostage to an unwanted gift.

It is only human to feel hurt when others do not fully appreciate our gifts. But if we genuinely care for the person receiving our gift, the last thing we should want is to burden that person with an additional problem or guilty feelings that will haunt them.

Let’s be mindful of the gift-giving process and less sensitive about the gift’s destiny. Then, when we finally understand this concept, let the gift recipient know how we feel about the whole process.

How About Enjoying The Holiday Season This Year?

How About Enjoying The Holiday Season This Year?

Enjoying the holiday season this year might be simpler than you think. But this is possible if we take care of a few essential things first.

It Starts on Halloween

Let’s see. It’s Halloween, and you have precisely the stuff you need to create the theme you are going for this year. You know this because you have that neat area in your garage dedicated to holiday décor where every box is labeled. So decorating will be a breeze!

This year, you are dressing up and having fun with the neighbors on Halloween!

You are enjoying it even more because you know how easy it is to put everything away (and while your kids are at school, you can eat all their candy!).

Then Thanksgiving Arrives

While putting all the Halloween décor away, you want to take out all the Thanksgiving stuff. Easy! It is all well-organized. What used to be a grumpy task is now an enjoyable thing to do.

And just like that, Thanksgiving has officially started in your home. It’s time to think of the menu, the guests, football, and all that comes with it. But guess what? You do have the time and capacity to think about all that now.

Your home is decorated, organized, clean, and ready for holiday guests. After that initial effort and investment last year, you maintained the place when we worked together to manage your home and all the storage.

On Thanksgiving Day, you can eat all you want and blissfully go into a food coma while watching football.

And Before You Know It

When recovered, it will be time to decorate for the year’s major holiday and put all Thanksgiving stuff away.

Everyone wonders how this process became so easy this time – everything is organized, accessible, and clean. You are in a jolly mood. It is a beautiful atmosphere.

You have time to shop or tackle all your gift shopping online in a few hours. 

Since your home looks, smells, and feels like the holidays, you have fun gift wrapping. But, of course, it helps that you have a fantastic gift-wrapping station stocked with everything you need for this purpose.

Probably It’s Not You (Yet)

This is probably not your case. You need to contact My Space Reclaimed. Let’s start planning and organizing now so the picture described above will be your story.

People go frantic during the holidays. They have to clean and prepare the home for guests, decorate, plan special activities, shop for gifts, wrap gifts, mail cards, and cook. 

But with a neglected house, seasonal decor shoved everywhere, and disorganization, it is hard to feel at ease or properly decorate, shop, gift-wrap, cook, or plan coherently. That does not sound much like the jolly spirit. 

Shining A Light on Your Home

No time of the year shines a light on our home and family life other than the holidays. Our home is where we get cozy with friends and family to celebrate, cook, eat, and drink while cold outside. So make your home an inviting nest that speaks of love, gatherings, family, and joy.

Being Proactive

All these holiday-related activities can be joyful if we first take care of the fundamentals. With things like home organization and the development of systems that make life more efficient, we create the foundation of an easier time amid everything happening around us. And this sounds like a joyful holiday time. 

So be proactive this year! Start analyzing which home processes can be more efficient, what changes your home needs to feel and look its best, and what home areas need reorganization.

The holidays are approaching, and we would love to ease your burden. Contact My Space Reclaimed and see how we can help you.

Holiday Décor (Oh Joy!)

Holiday Décor (Oh Joy!)

Few things bring domestic chaos to the surface, like the holiday season: the gatherings, the cooking, the decorations – Holiday Décor (Oh Joy!). The cold weather makes us stay closer inside, and our environment’s stability is tested like at no other time of the year during the holidays.

Some live in a mess, yet they get preoccupied with seasonal décor, gift-giving, entertaining, and baking. But I wonder if that is a defense mechanism to avoid seeing the elephant in the room. What sense does it make to decorate a house in total disarray?

What Home Should Feel Like

Some might seem oblivious to the underlying disorganization of their environment. However, whether we notice it or not, a chaotic environment affects us all. Clutter drains our energy.

But if only we could experience a different way, what would happen? How many possibilities would open up? How much more efficient could we become? How much more relaxed and joyful?

Rather than being a roadblock in life, your home environment should be your support and bring you joy. That joy starts with having an organized and optimized space.

Then, the whole family can have a wonderful time decorating, sharing, cooking, and eating together instead of fighting about the dusty boxes, the decorations they can’t find, or just being in a bad mood because the house is a mess.

What Makes The Difference

Having an “exit strategy” is equally important. How you close your holiday season will directly impact next year’s celebrations. 

If holiday decorations are a mess, this is a good starting point. Decide to mindfully and purposefully store your seasonal décor to preserve it and keep it accessible for the following year. 

Commit to putting your home environment in order. You will feel the difference!

Stop fighting your environment. Make it work for you instead. 

Want a joyful holiday season? Get your domain in order first. 

If you feel overwhelmed by the task, you don’t have to do this alone. Contact My Space Reclaimed! Let’s set a time to chat and see how we can walk that road together. 

How He Finally Found Flow at Home

How He Finally Found Flow at Home

Years Went By

During a recent trip to Puerto Rico (I’m from PR, if you didn’t know), I listened to a good friend talk about his place- a condo with a killer view and more than reasonable space for a bachelor. This friend also has excellent taste, so his place looks nicely put together.

During a recent trip to Puerto Rico (I’m from PR, if you didn’t know), I listened to a good friend talk about his place- a condo with a killer view and more than reasonable space for a bachelor. This friend also has excellent taste, so his place looks nicely put together.

But for the last decade, he had tried to sell his condo.

During that time, the property had been on and off the market. And although my friend had done everything within his power and seemed to do it all right, the sale never went through for various reasons.

All the while, he had felt emotionally detached from his own home, as he said.

Deciding To Flow

At some point during those years, his life significantly changed – It sped up exponentially. Consequently, he was spending much less time at home. The timing was ideal because now, he did not need to spend so much time in a place he did not love.

However, he thought maybe his path was not to sell his apartment after all and that he probably needed “to flow” with his home instead.

And by “flowing,” he meant he had decided to align his actions and feelings with the energy of his dwelling so it could be the source of joy he wished for – a home that would delight and support him. (I swear I had nothing to do with his decision or process – this was all him).

As he started to plan some upgrades on his apartment, it was clear he could only begin those after emptying several areas that have been storing a lot of stuff through the years. He had not seen, touched, or needed that for long.

As you can imagine, this was not a project he looked forward to doing.

The Unexpected Happened

But then something unexpected happened- as soon as all that stuff started coming out of the many “hiding” areas, he felt a rush of energy compelling him to declutter and reorganize everything in his home. He could not explain it, but that feeling was enough. He took action.

Unbeknownst to him, this was a first-hand experience of clutter causing stagnant energy and the contrasting feeling of unleashing the positive energy that comes with decluttering.

He witnessed how this fresh, vibrant energy carried him forward, infusing his environment with the attitudes and feelings he longed to experience in his place.

Comfort Coffee at home

Becoming Mindful

It might be easy to ignore the draining effects of stagnant energy, settling for the status quo. However, becoming mindful gets us in touch with ourselves, our feelings, their why, and how. Then, it’s easier to discern what should be done and the path forward.

So yes, my dear friend has a beautiful, well-appointed condo that he loves and is no longer trying to sell. He made peace with his home, which is now a place that supports his hectic life and gives him joy.

His Story Is My Wish For You

Listening to his story made me realize his journey perfectly embodied everything I wish everyone to experience.

  • Becoming mindful
  • Making the right decisions
  • Taking action
  • Eliminating clutter and chaos from their lives
  • Shifting their energy
  • Loving where they live

(My friend should become My Space Reclaimed poster child, right?)

It’s simple- once you decide to love your place and act mindfully, your house becomes that HOME that supports your life and speaks of rest, comfort, and joy.

When that happens, life becomes easier, bigger, and better. That’s when you experience the flow.

Organizing Kids’ Memories

Organizing Kids’ Memories

All those school projects, papers, and awards are everywhere, and you can’t find it in your heart to let them go.

Organizing kids’ memories lets you declutter your life and enjoy those mementos better. I will show you how.

First, gather all your children’s projects, artwork, school papers, trophies, awards, and the like. Go through every space, drawer, closet, and room in your home. Leave no space unchecked. Take all this kid-related stuff to a single place in your home to collect them together.

However, stay hyper-focused during this gathering process. Don’t get distracted by other things you might find. Your focus is crucial! Getting distracted is what trips people through this process, and then they get confused and can’t finish half the job.

You will have many miscellaneous items once this material is in one place. Now subdivide this big pile by child (if you have two or more children).

After having a separate pile for each of your children, sort each one by year.

When you can’t recall the year of this creation, assign some chronological order as best as you can.

You will have several groups of items per each of your children. Now follow the steps described below for each year per child. You must work on one group (year or stage) for one child at a time.

Horseshoe child's art creation

Photograph Non-Scannable Items

Take good pictures of everything other than paper, like artwork pieces, medals, trophies, etc. As you take each photo, include a post-it note with the child’s name and the item’s date.

Place this post note at the bottom of each article so you can crop it out of the picture later.

Then, when ready to work on a project with these pictures (like a photo book or scrapbook), crop the note out if you can tag or caption the image.

If taking pictures of these items suffice, you can let go of the physical object.

When dealing with trophies, medals, and awards that are necessary keeps, find a suitable location in the home where you can gather and display these items in a cohesive, aesthetic way. You want these things to look intentional within your home..

The Written Work 

Group items related to written work like stories, poems, analyses, and the like. The idea for these is to make binders or books later on. But, for now, organize the material to create these books later.

The “Warm & Fuzzy” Box

Regardless of your most ruthless efforts to eliminate clutter, there might be a few (a few) small items that you or your child can’t simply let go of, even when you have them in digital form as well. That’s where the “Warm & Fuzzy” box comes in.

Everyone should have a “warm & fuzzy” box, by the way. This is a nice-looking box, basket, or container with a lid that includes items we keep forever. Those items take us back in time, making us laugh and cry every time.

Therefore, it is crucial to be selective with what we include here. Not everything makes it to the coveted “warm & fuzzy” box material status. Remember that!Kid's art

Paper and Flat Media

Loose papers, awards, recognitions, messages, etc., on paper, are scannable media. As you do this, name the electronic file with the child’s name and the year they made it. This process is equivalent to the Post-it notes you applied to items photographed.
Scan everything using your printer/scanner, iPhone, or any equipment you might have or can purchase. This equipment is not that expensive anymore. However, having a reliable scanner at home would be an excellent investment.
Stories, poems, essays, and other items you put together to make binders or books (step 3) should be digitized, ensuring a safe record. If you do, ensure that pages of the same item remain together in sequential order.
You will manage the scanned material like you did with the pictures. So, think of each scanned paper or project as a digital image comparable to the photos.

Rinse and Repeat

Once you finish working with all the mementos of a child’s years, repeat the process with each of your other children, working a year or a stage at a time.

In my case, we have three children, and for each one, I divided their electronic files into four main stages: infancy, elementary school, middle school, and high school.

Note that pictures or souvenirs from extra-curricular activities and summers get included in one of these four stages, depending on the year.

Create Digital Files

Download all the photos you took of non-scannable items into an electronic file. You could name this file “Kids’ Projects” or something like that.

Then, create a file folder per child and move every picture related to a particular child into their electronic folder. After this, you may subdivide each child’s electronic folder into years, stages, or any way you want to do this.

Remember to add all images from your scanning process to your digital folders.

From Now On

When you gather all those projects, awards, and papers from around the home, consider it a clean slate and a new beginning. Pay attention to how you manage your children’s documents, projects, and awards. The key is to stay on top of things. Here’s how you do that.

Every day, when kids come home from school or extra-curricular activities

  • Note important dates and deadlines and place those dates on the family calendar.
  • Post any school reminders for your children on a magnetic or chalkboard where they can see them every morning. 
  • Discard those notes or papers. Those are the miscellaneous papers you tossed in Step 1 above.

The Artwork

When children bring home artwork pieces, trophies, medals, and other non-flat items:

  • Photograph these as soon as they get home (so they look their best and you don’t forget to do this). 
  • Save these pictures in the child’s electronic file. Name the file with the child’s name and year. 
  • Add subsequent art projects during that year to that same file.
  • Create a new file with the child’s name and year every year. 

You or your child might want to display such an item for a while. That’s great! Just ensure you place this item in that particular location you designated for this kind of thing. But, again, you don’t want their projects to look or feel like clutter.

In any case, taking those pictures early on gives you and your kids the freedom to let go of the item after displaying it for some time.

The Paper

Scan all paper items and flat media such as report cards, academic evaluations, school pictures, stories, essays, and poems as soon as they come home.

If you can’t process these items immediately, park these papers in a bin close to the scanner and assign a day of the week or the month in your calendar (yes, do it now!) to periodically scan them. Of course, discard originals as soon as you digitize them. But should you need to keep it, place it in a file with the child’s name in your filing cabinet.

Now You Tell The Story

It’s a lot of work, I know. But consider that all this work needs to be done just at the beginning of the project because you did not have a method to deal with all this stuff. So, once you follow the initial process, you only need to stay on top of it. 

But why do all of this in the first place? First, this solves the overwhelming number of papers and artifacts cluttering our home space. Second, this process allows you to have all that worth-keeping material organized and ready to create meaningful stories of each stage of your children’s lives. 

Telling a story is the real purpose of keeping all these projects, pictures, and awards. Having all those papers and items with no order all over the house does not tell any story nor inspire anyone to create one. This material is meaningless when scattered around or carelessly stored in a bin somewhere. 

On the other hand, memories in book form, like photo books, are easy to keep neatly on a shelf or library and are a joy to share. Our children will be able to see and enjoy their path through life and share this fantastic legacy with friends, family, and their children.

Also, imagine the storage space you will recover when you let go of physical items and original papers! However, you might think throwing all that away is what you do not want to do. But how often has anybody enjoyed those things since you put them away? Is there space in your home to display them all? Are they all worth exhibiting? Do you want your home to look like a kindergarten classroom? 

When your child created a project, you displayed it for about a week. But eventually, that project and so many others started cluttering your home and your life. So, this way of purposely and intentionally working with your children’s stuff will take you where you want to be.

Looking Beneath Your Need to Keep the Stuff

If you feel it is too hard to let go of those physical objects and original papers, even when they are safely digitized, what you are trying to keep is the feelings they evoke. It is not about the item itself.

Images of these items can still satisfy those feelings without drowning you in “stuff.” Instead, having these memories accessibly organized enables everyone to enjoy and share them for many years.