When A Gift Turns Into Clutter

When A Gift Turns Into Clutter


It happens all the time: someone gives you something you don’t want or need. You probably fear hurting their feelings (or getting busted for ditching the gift) and you may even feel guilty for not liking the gift. These feelings often cause us to do nothing, rather than something. And before you know it you have amassed a pile, a drawer or a closet of clutter. Stuff you didn't even ask to bring into your home.

All of these unwanted gifts create disorganized clutter that keeps you from enjoying your space and appreciating the things you do need and want in your life. For example: your aunt gave you a statue, but you think it is so ugly you just put it in your guest room so you don’t have to look at it every day. But now you don’t like going into your guest room at all.

If you look up the word “gift” in the dictionary, it reads, “A thing given willingly to someone without payment.” Example: a birthday gift. I think that when this happens fear and/or guilt becomes a payment and then a gift stops being a gift.

The key question to ask yourself about the gift clutter

Was that your aunt’s intention for giving you that statue? Was it her intention that you never use a room in your home again? I truly don’t think so. Remember, gifts are given from a place of love. And it is not love to hold on to something simply out of fear or guilt, especially when it is preventing you from living your best life.

Here are some options for what to do when you get a gift you don’t like, want or need:

  • Be direct. Yep. As politely as possible, explain how you love the thoughtful gesture but the gift really isn’t something you will use or enjoy.

  • Say nothing and think positive. Hold onto the gift for a short time to see if you will come to like it or use it.

  • Get rid of the gift either by donating it to charity or re-gifting it to someone else.

Here are some ideas to that can help prevent getting an undesired gift:

  • When a gift-giving occasion approaches, specify a request of no gifts please.

  • Ask for gift cards or cash so that you can choose or purchase the perfect something that you are wanting.

  • Use retailer’s online Wish Lists, similar to Amazon.com’s. This ensures you are going to get exactly what you would like, while maintaining an element of surprise on behalf of the gift giver.

  • Just be specific. For example, with close friends, family or spouses, make a list and be exact. This may lack spontaneity but it improves the odds of success and can even eliminate stress for the gift giver of “not being sure” what to get.

The main point is to not allow someone else's expectations, or your own feelings of guilt, to fill your home-- your sanctuary-- with a bunch of stuff you don't need, want or appreciate. And most of all, be holding you back from living your best life.

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