Episode 052: Gifts Chat with Tricia Regar
Today we share a conversation from the spring of 2021 that Diana had with an Instagram friend, Tricia Regar, from @cleanhousewithkids. She’s so wonderful and is a mom of 7 who lives a minimalist lifestyle! Check her out for a different dynamic on living a simpler life with a large family.
In this episode, Diana talks with Tricia Regar from @cleanhousewithkids all about gift-giving.
We’ll also discuss:
- A previous episode about gift-giving, Ep017: Dealing with Toys as Gifts
- Hear Tricia’s background and how she became a minimalist
- Consumerism and when it shifted in our culture
- What do you do when you receive a gift after you told them you don't want it?
- A blog post about gift-giving, “How to Ask for Experience Gifts for Kids?”
What can you expect from this podcast and future episodes?
- 15-20 minute episodes to help you tackle your to-do list
- How to declutter in an effective and efficient way
- Guest interviews
- Deep dives on specific topics
This transcript is auto-generated. Please excuse grammatical errors.
Welcome to another episode of the Decluttered Mom podcast. This is a really fun one today because it is actually a recording that I did about two years ago. It was spring of 2021 with my friend, Trisha from Clean House with Kids. On Instagram, you may know of her or follow her. She's wonderful. She's super, super kind. She and I have met on Instagram. We have never met in person, but we are fellow content creators who we've been friends now for about three years, I believe, and she is just the most supportive, encouraging, kind person. She is also superwoman because she has seven kids and she has this house that's on this land and the river and everything, and it's just she inspires me daily, and I think she's just a really kind person who really wants to help people, and she has also found living with less items, less excess, has been really crucial for her family, and she has a little bit of a different dynamic than me, right, like I have two kids is very different than seven kids, and so she is someone who we started talking a lot about gifts right around Christmas of 2020. And so we just kept talking about it and kept talking about it, and I was like you know what? Let's just get on a Zoom and have people submit questions and we can talk about gifts and it was a really great conversation. And I was going through some of my old content the other day and I saw this and I was like heck, yeah, we got to put that on the podcast. So just if the timelines don't make sense or anything like that in the conversation, you can just know it's because it was from a little over two years ago and, again, this was a Zoom call. So we did not. We did have a Q&A at the very end that we did not include in this episode because it just was way too long. So this was just the bulk of she and I talking about how we handle gifts in our home without it getting overboard, and we also do touch on gifts from other people. So there is an earlier episode of my podcast all about working with family members on helping them to want to give you and your kids experience gifts. So I will also link that below because I'm blanking on what number episode that is. But definitely, after you listen to this episode, go back and listen to that one too, if this is something that's important to you, because it's going to provide a lot of clarity and direction on how to work with family members Well meaning family members who give your kids like a bajillion toys every time they see them. So, without further ado, let's just hop into this conversation with Trisha. You're listening to the decluttered mom podcast, a podcast built specifically for busy moms by a busy mom. I'm your host, Diana Renee, and in 2017, I had my second daughter and it felt like I was literally drowning in my home. Ok, not literally, but I felt like I couldn't breathe with all of the stuff surrounding me. Over the next 10 months, I got rid of approximately 70% of our household belongings and I have never looked back. I kind of feel like I hacked the mom system, and I'm here to share all the tips, tricks and encouragement. Let's listen to today's show. Ok, you guys, I was just telling Trisha that I'm so excited because she has so much value to bring to you. Trisha is someone that I met on Instagram. She's become a friend. Trisha, can you remind me what is your handle on Instagram?Tricia Regar:
No spaces, guys. It's just clean house with kids.Diana Rene:
Clean house with kids. Yes, so I get questions all the time about large families and like, because I have two kids, which is large, which is large to me but I get questions all the time Like what if you have like a large family that's harder to declutter? Like, do you have to live in a really big home? Like, do these rules still apply if you have more than four kids? And Trisha has seven kids and she is rocking it and I am like constantly in awe because I watch her with seven kids and I feel like I would be so frazzled if I were her and she always seems so calm. So, trisha, can you just, for everybody here and for the people watching the recording, can you just give like a little brief rundown of who you are and how you discovered minimalism?Tricia Regar:
Sure, ok, guys, my voice is weird, but this is not the way I normally sound. All right, I have seven, the oldest is 11 and then the youngest is one, so it's a nice little span there. We just moved the house that we're in now, but we had seven in 1500 square feet. So it is I'm actually making a real soon about. Is it possible to have to be a minimalist in a small home 100%, and you can be minimalist in a big home too. Right, I feel like it all comes down to your habits and routines. For me, I grew up. My mom was pretty minimalist. I grew up one of six kids, so that's kind of the way I was raised, but we started gathering more stuff, like me, once we got married. Ok, the actual, real reason why we became minimalist, maybe when we had three or four kids, is because we super, super started struggling financially and actually like we're going to tie that in later, but we just started selling things to pay the bills. So we started selling our side tables and I joke like the next thing to go, guys, was my engagement ring, our couches, like that's where it was. We were pulling the books off our shelves. We didn't save our books. We didn't save, like you know, the stuff in our kitchen cupboards. Everything came out with sold to pay our bills and everything was off the walls no paintings, nothing. Right, we were gonna fix up that house, we were gonna sell it, we were gonna try to make a small profit and then after that we started making more money and I was like now my kids can be happier because they're gonna have more stuff. And that's just not the way it worked. And the kids weren't happier and like Christmas came and I was like now we can buy our kids lots of presents because we have more money. And they weren't happier, right. And I think from there there was this one Christmas where I was like we're gonna have lots of presents and by 11 am on Christmas morning I was like let's get rid of all of it, because the kids weren't happy and they were fighting over toy. And I think from there I was like I wanna get rid of everything again. Like we were fine yeah, we were fine in our empty house Right, Trisha?Diana Rene:
okay, that's really. I don't think I knew that about you. I don't think I knew that was how you started everything. When you were selling everything for financial reasons, were you in the back of your mind thinking like, oh, this is nice that we're kind of decluttering too. Or was it like after the fact that you were like, oh, this is different without all this stuff here?Tricia Regar:
I was not thinking about it from a decluttering perspective. I was thinking about survival.Diana Rene:
Okay, all right, that's so interesting because I think that's something that I get brought up a lot and I've been thinking about a lot lately is like is it like a privilege to be able to declutter, because you don't have to worry about being able to repurchase something if you declutter it? So we'll have to not right now, cause I wanna get into gifts, but another time. You and I will have to talk more about that because I think that's really, really interesting and it's a totally new perspective. I don't think that's how people typically like stumble upon minimalism, okay, awesome. So, trisha and I wanted to first of all thank you for introducing yourself and I'm so happy you're here. We're gonna talk about gifts. Trisha and I have been talking about this for a while via Instagram DMs and we have we're like down this rabbit hole because we were talking just the other day about how this isn't even like, this wasn't even an issue 60, 70 years ago, because the level of consumerism has just like skyrocketed Right. Like our grandparents or great grandparents that lived in like the 1920s and 30s and like through the Great Depression and all of that, like this wasn't an issue they didn't need to worry about, like their, their in-laws gifting a thousand toys to their kids at Christmas. And then we were also talking about how, like in the 19, I meant to look up the stat and I forgot. But the 1950s, you guys like, the average house was like, I think, 1100 square feet. Do you know, trisha?Tricia Regar:
I don't know, but the house that my mom grew up in was the parents four kids and my grandmother and like you would never be like those people would be fine. One bathroom, yeah.Diana Rene:
Oh yeah, one bathroom was like super, super. It was like really weird to have more than one bathroom, yeah, and most of the time there were larger families, like now it's much more normal to not normal, but it's much more usual to see a family with one, two, three kids. But like in the fifties, trisha, like your family of seven kids like wouldn't even be thought of as like a big family, right. And so something shifted and I don't know exactly when that happened, but I'm sure it was probably like in the eighties, nineties, when there became more abundance to a lot of families, a lot of women started working in addition to men, and I think that there was just like a shift in our culture into consumerism and like it was like this ball started rolling and nobody knew how to slow it down right, and like nobody knew how to handle new interactions with family around. Something that should be like this beautiful thing of like giving a gift to someone has now turned into for our generation a really stressful thing when it comes to family especially.Tricia Regar:
I would say probably twice a day. I get the gifts question on my Instagram. Everybody wants to know what do you do with the mother-in-law, who will not stop dropping by with gifts. And the funny thing, diana, when you were talking, I was thinking to myself like 50 to 70 years ago. I think that people think of gifts as happiness. I am bringing them happiness. I am bringing my grandchildren happiness. We're like think about like little house on the prairie. Happiness was being together in a field. Happiness was a picnic. Happiness was fishing right, right, experiences?Diana Rene:
yeah, absolutely, and I think it's so interesting because now our generation really like values and holds on to experience gifts. Because I think that like deep down, that's like how, as humans, we are wired to experience joy and experience like a peaceful existence, is just spending time experiencing the world together, and we have like diluted that with all this physical stuff that's thrown into our world. So the other reason I wanted you to come on, tricia, is that I think we have, like I think we have slightly different approaches to gifts, and I think everybody does, and I think that that's really helpful to all the members in the program, because my way is not like the only right way. I think there's a lot of different ways of looking at this, and so can you share? I remember you telling me a story a while back about a time that a family member was gifting you things even though you had a prior asked them not to right. Am I remembering that correctly? Do you feel comfortable sharing that?Tricia Regar:
I think what you're referring to is that big toy that made noise. Yes, yes, yes, yes, all right. So, guys, this is when we were first like we had one little baby and my husband's not super picky, he's a very non-confrontational kind of person but he specifically told his family members I do not want toys that make noise, because, like we were now in the throes of like a baby making lots of noise, right, and he was like I cannot handle all these toys that make noise. And we came home one day and on our porch was an unopened box like box, like box okay, yeah, box. And on the side of it we saw that it was like one of those walkers and I don't think my baby was even close to being able to walk, but it was one of those walkers, was like a thousand buttons and every button was a new noise. And Matt looked at it and he was like I'm not even opening it. And he picked up the box and he put it in the back of his car and he literally drove it to the family members house and he was like I want you to go get your money back because we can't have this. Our living room is too small. Like, where are we gonna keep it? It's gonna make so much noise. And I actually I have to give kudos to the minimal mom here on Dawn on YouTube, because she said the same kind of thing happened with her and that family member did not talk to her for three months.Diana Rene:
Oh, wow. So it caused an issue and with us.Tricia Regar:
They were really upset and I think it's important to know that it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Whenever you make a lifestyle change for your family and I do think this gift thing is a lifestyle change- yeah 22 grandparents don't get it. They don't get it, but you've got to like if they're willing to say like we are willing to give up our relationship with you over this one toy like that says so much about your relationship. You know or Say like we're gonna honor that when we understand that you don't have a lot of space and that you guys can't handle that much noise. Yeah, so that's a lot about like the relationship and them, you know.Diana Rene:
Absolutely, and I think it can be hard because it is something that can cause issues, but, like you said, it's usually a reflection of your relationship. It's not like you have a perfect relationship and then this is like what ruins it. So something that has helped me a lot and has helped members of the program that had that I've talked to about this is Having like a preemptive conversation with family members as you are going through this process. So, trisha, everyone here either like is just starting to declutter their home, or they're like working through it, or maybe they're done and they're working on adding in systems and routines. So we have people that are like kind of in all the different phases. But what I recommend is, like the minute that you decide you are going to start decluttering and you are going to start living differently, have a conversation and have it face to face. As hard as that is Because everything can be misconstrued via text and email, right, like tone, you can't read tone and when you are trying to be like forward or upfront with someone, that can come across via Text in like a more probably like aggressive way than you intended to. So what I recommend is like sitting down or on the phone, having a conversation with your in-laws or your, your parents or your aunt or whoever you are concerned about with overgifting your children, and just tell them that you are going through this process right now. You are trying, you have been feeling overwhelmed as a parent with all of the stuff that you have in your home and in your life, in your physical space. You are going through this process of decluttering and you're this isn't just like a spring cleaning thing. This is like a lifestyle change that you are trying to implement and you would really appreciate their buy-in and their participation with it. When it comes to gifting Toys or any items to your kids, you have to remember that this will probably immediately put them on guard and I'm a defensive right because they're gonna feel like oh, they like they think I'm doing something to harm my grandchild or something like that. So like sugarcoat this conversation with as much love and sparkles and butterflies as you can Like. I know that you love my girls so much and I appreciate it and they are so lucky to have you in their lives. We have been really loving experience types type of gifts and like consumable type gifts, like art supplies where they can create, and it's not Something that's just adding to the the chaos in our house, and we would love it if you would help us foster that type of experience for our kids right. And Something that has also helped me is to give them ideas like if you just say like hey, tricia, like I know you love my kids, you buy them too much stuff. Can you please start buying them experience gifts? Trisha's pie, like WTF, is an experience gift right. Does that mean I have to go spend like $300 on a family membership to the zoo for the year, because that's typically what people think of is like some big, expensive thing. So give them a list and and it you know that family member better than I would. So, if they are struggling financially, give them ideas of free experience gifts, like something that my In-laws and my parents have done, have given like coupons for a sleepover at grandma's and you guys, my kids opening that if they Freak out like even more than if they get a toy because it's so exciting to them, they get to go do something. So that's number one is to give them a list, give them ideas and Include varying price ranges so that they don't feel like roped into, like oh well, now I can't spend my $50 limit, I have to go like blow my budget to make my, my family member happy. Number two I would say is to like really praise them when they give the gift, like, oh, thank you so much. This is so like I'm so appreciative of you, like listening to my Request and like she's so happy and this is gonna be so exciting when you experience the experience gifts. So say, it is like a day pass to a kid's museum or something. Take pictures face-time them from the museum, take videos, have make, print out a picture of them and make it into a Card and have your kid color it like. Do things that show them like, oh, they actually really enjoyed that, because that's going to foster their Ability to continue doing that. Yes, right, trisha, and I know I'm talking a lot, but I think that if we just like ask them to give experience gifts and then that's the end of it, and then they never hear anything about it ever again, they're gonna be like well, that was kind of like not fun, so those are check. That's kind of like the big thing that I would recommend starting out with Experience gifts and having that conversation. Now, trisha, what I want to hear from you is if you have that conversation with a family member and you said like, hey, can, can we start doing experience gifts or or consumable gifts, because those are great, also right and they just say, oh, okay, yeah, I can do, I can start doing that, and then they show up to a birthday party with like 17 toys how do? How would you handle that?Tricia Regar:
So I feel like that's kind of happened and I feel like in the moment because we really don't see these family members too often, so it's not like it's different. I feel like if they're actually gonna be coming over and like looking in every cover. Yeah, but what I would do if you're not gonna see them, a ton Is that would just be grateful in the moment. Yeah, thank you for our kids, thank you, you know, whatever. And then if you don't open the gifts and you know your child is not gonna play with the gift, I think it is okay to return the gift. Otherwise, everything's already open, all out there. You know, on Christmas or whatever, I would just say let your kids play with it for as long as they're going to. And then, honestly, like we had a doctor said that Lasted like two weeks because every part of it broke, you know. So some things might take care of themselves, right.Diana Rene:
I totally agree and I think that, like I hear often when in this like decluttering minimalism space, I hear often to like, like, push back on that. You know. And I think, depending on the relationship, like Trisha and I were talking about how, like, 99% of the time the person giving a gift is doing it out of love, right, they're, they're doing it because they love your kid, they want to see your kid happy, they want, like grandparents, love to spoil grandkids right, and I know we're not just talking about grandparents, but that tends to be Usually people have a hard time with, but 99% of the time they're doing it because they are, they have a good intention. So, even if it's not followed through that way, they do have that good intention. Every now and then there will be that relationship that is doing it to spite you or is doing it in like a manipulative manner, and in that situation I do think it's appropriate to approach them on it, but not in the moment, right, like, I think, just experiencing Gratefulness, expressing gratefulness and then, like, a week later, you can give the person a call if you choose to. But I'm with you, trisha, if, if we get lots of kit, lots of toys or anything like that, then we appreciate it and we do really focus on like, actually appreciating it and being grateful because we know that they're doing it out of love, and then letting the kids play with it, seeing if they actually like it. If they don't, then it goes in the donate bin a couple weeks later because there's no Like. There's no timeline on gratitude, right Like it doesn't nobody. There's no like if you keep something for one week, does that mean that you're more grateful for it than if you kept it for one day, or anything like that. So, trisha, can you talk a little bit more about, or just a little bit about, gifts for your own kids and how you guys, how you guys handle that, because with seven kids, I can imagine that that could get like. I just know with my two kids it's like very even, like everything has to be even in our world because there's two of them, right. So like if one gets a gift, then the other one needs to get like a similar gift, and I'm curious how you handle that with seven kids.Tricia Regar:
Okay. So I would say what we do for birthdays is like two-part experience. And then the gift. We not give more than like three or four gifts and by gifts, guys, I mean my five-year-old. We probably spent ten dollars total. Ten dollars total. Okay. Di Really tried my best to find gifts that she would like, and what she talks about is that she went out to eat with my husband. I got a meatballs sandwich and carrot cake. She's been telling everybody. I'm like, wait a minute, you know what I mean. So I think that they are going to appreciate the connection and that you care about them and that they got to do something fun. You know that's what they actually care about, and I think that, because of Instagram and Pinterest, birthdays have gotten out of control and the kid cannot be happy Unless you buy 15,000 balloons. Eleanor did not have a single balloon. She didn't care, she didn't know, right. So, anyway, I would also say, ask your kid like specifically, like what would be special for you, because my oldest daughter, who's gonna be 12, she already told me she doesn't care about gifts. She wants, like, a trip to Target, like with me yeah that coffee, like I could let her like pick out a dress, and it'd be like time together.Diana Rene:
Yeah, so do you always do like? So do you give them the choice of like an activity to to do with you and your husband, or is it just different for every child?Tricia Regar:
It is different. It is different off what they want. And when I asked Ellie what did she want, she specifically said she wanted to unwrap gifts. So okay, we get unwrapped gifts, but that wasn't even.Diana Rene:
Right, okay, and then what about for?Tricia Regar:
Christmas. So for Christmas what we did was we bought them a toy kitchen, so it's like a gift. And then we bought them a train set, so it's like another group gift, and then we got maybe like two other gifts per kid again, it's it's things that like can be used up, lots of things that we either know they're gonna use daily, like oh, I know about my five-year-old a pair of sunglasses. So I know she's gonna wear those sunglasses every day this summer, right? So it's not like you know something that she's gonna like for one day and then throw it's like on her head. You know what I mean.Diana Rene:
Right, absolutely. And I wanted to go back to what you were just saying about like Instagram and Pinterest, like making you as a parent feel like like there has to be a lot for everything, even just like how Easter has turned into like a mini Christmas. You know, like I see pictures of like tables full of toys For Easter and like that wasn't even a thing when I was a kid. Was that a thing when you were a kid? We're because you weren't different areas of the country, so. And then you know, like my kids go to school and they're like oh, my friends got XXX and Y at for Easter. Like that's weird. Why don't, like we get gifts for Easter? Because they get like a little basket. And so I think that's another aspect of it. Trisha is like Peer influence, starting so young, because we have turned these holidays into like these really Extravagant multiple things and I don't I, to be honest, I don't really know how to handle that yet because my oldest is in second grade, so we're just starting to to experience that. But for our Christmas, we do more Christmas gifts than I would like, and the reason being is that my husband would do like a thousand gifts per child If he could and I would do like three gifts per child if I could. So that's something that, through my entire Decluttering journey and I talk about this in the course is that we have to compromise with, like the other people in our home and like that would make him really, really sad to only do three gifts and that would make me like hyperventilate to do the amount of gifts he wants to do it. So finding that happy medium can be hard, but I have, over the years, been able to like work with him on like let's incorporate more Experience types things. Or like let's give them art supplies that we know they're gonna use and we have to buy it anyway, but they like it wrapped up right. Okay, you guys, thank you so much for coming on and Trisha Thank you so much for I know that that's that you're very busy and so we appreciate you coming on. And Trisha, again, can you tell them where they can find you? Clean house with kids, clean house with kids. She is like so close to a hundred thousand followers on Instagram. I'm just so impressed with you and what you're doing and how many people you're helping. I hope this conversation was helpful for you and, again, coming from two totally different types of families, or Just very large family and then a more average size family. The two perspectives from two people who Both hate extra stuff and all of the stress and overwhelm and chaos it brings. If this conversation was helpful for you, I would love it if you reached out to Trisha on Instagram again. Her handle is clean house with kids and again we will link it in the show notes but are posted in your stories what you took away from this and tag us. I would love to see that. I hope that this was helpful and we will see you next week on the decluttered mom podcast.
Thanks for hanging out and listening to the decluttered mom podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, it would mean the world if you could write a review or share this episode with a friend or your Instagram stories. And if you're on Instagram, be sure to follow me at the Decluttered mom and send me a DM to say hi. I'd love to hear what you thought about today's episode. I hope you'll come back next week and hang out with us again.