I found this brilliant online resource, tallwish.com, where we can post the web addresses of any items that would genuinely improve our quality of life and/or our efficiency or productivity. This holds us accountable for taking the time to prayerfully think wisely about items that we genuinely do or don't have room for, in an already crowded household. When accessing this list, you can also see which category the list owner placed it in, one of four:
1. Must Have
2. Love to Have
3. Like to Have
4. Thinking About
We plan to keep it current and add to it all throughout the year, so birthday and other gifts are also less likely to need to be returned, exchanged, donated, or consigned . It'll also be a big help to me when I end up unexpectedly at garage sales and thrift stores, to have this handy list in my smartphone- to differentiate the legitimate needs we've taken the time to really think through, from the temptation to spend impulsively on an item we really don't need or have room for.
We believe this tool will be of GREAT VALUE for the young couples we love to encourage, as many of them call us frustrated, sharing this same winter/spring project, following their American culturally normal Christmases each year. Shane's best friend from high school opened his garage door up not long ago, after Christmas, to visually display for his generous mother what 2 sets of materially blessed grandparents gave his family with 4 children that year. It was packed, and he explained that a trip or an experiential gift might prevent the stress he and his wife and children were faced with again, to try to figure out where to put it all. We're learning that because gifts is one of the primary love languages of those with time and spending power to buy lots of presents, these well-meaning people don't intend to cause strife; they're simply expressing a sincere love for their families. They honestly don't realize how much stress they can inadvertently cause, by buying what they want their children and grandchildren to have, rather than what would benefit them most. Here's to new beginnings! And many thanks to Tallwish!