by Amanda LeBlanc
We are entering into the season of Thanksgiving and while we should be reflecting on the good that we have in our lives and how grateful we are for it, we are all instead planning what to buy for Christmas. In our current consumer society, with demands for instant gratification, it seems more is never enough. I have seen many people suffer the heartache of living outside of their means to put on a front or impress people with what they have.
I have been in homes with piles of items never used and homeowners justifying not only the purchase but also the reasons they could not possibly part with it. It’s heartbreaking. People ask me all the time what I think is the worst area of disorganization and I give the same answer each time: finances. We have to stop living outside of what we can afford. Of course, as soon as I give that answer, the question is then asked, “Do you discourage people from hiring you as an organizer, because they don’t need to spend the money?” Absolutely not!
For a person with a problem, whether financial or physical disorganization, I am there to make a lasting change. I have helped many families organize their finances and bills to attain financial freedom. I have helped thousands of people clear the clutter and learn to change the way they look at purchasing or how they prioritize their life. Why the rant? Well, you need to stop and really think about the Christmas season as it approaches. There are great gifts that you can give the people on your list that will not cause clutter and will bless their lives. Here are a few ideas:
•Bring a meal to a friend or family, helping them to spend time with each other, instead of worrying over what’s for dinner.
•Give a gift certificate to friends to watch their kids for free, so they can have a date night without the added cost of a sitter.
•Pay for a housekeeper to go to a friend or family member’s home the day before or after he or she is hosting a party.
•Give your spouse a gift certificate to bring him or her breakfast in bed for a certain period of time or even just coffee. (My husband does this, and I swear it’s one of the big reasons I love him so much!)
•Buy a gift card to the grocery store or gas station. I have an uncle who did this and it was always so nice after Christmas to have a break on a weekly expense.
•Offer to wash and clean your wife or mom’s car once a week for a period of time.
Do you get the idea? It’s easy to buy “something” for someone and move on, but that’s not what this is all about. Two things happen when you give one of the gifts above or something else creative: One, you make a positive change for someone else, and two, you’re not wasting your money or your time. Take it from me—I am the one in the house in January hauling off the picture frames, books, and sweaters that you gave and bringing them to the nearest donation place. And for my friends and family who read this, I would love any of the above this holiday season! (Wink, wink!)
My hope for each of you reading this article is a safe and happy holiday season and that you would be a part of the solution. Life is about the memories we create, not the stuff we buy. Release yourself from the pressures of keeping up with the Joneses or the belief that you can buy your happiness. When you decide I’m right and you are ready to make the change, well, I’ll be right here ready to help. I won’t even say I told you so!