I help people get rid of clutter. Some clutter is obvious, but some items are a judgment call, left up to the owner and it’s different for everyone. When I’m working with people and we’re sorting through what to keep and what to part with, one phrase I hear ALL THE TIME is, “But it was a gift.” Sometimes people are saying, “It was a gift” as justification for why they have it, but they are willing to part with it. Once someone adds the, “But” in front of it, then that tells me they are using the fact that it was a gift as justification to KEEP it. Unfortunately, that’s not a valid reason.
I’m not insensitive or unsentimental, but we really should only keep what we need, use and love. If the gift doesn’t fall into ansy of those categories, then it must go. But so and so will be mad/sad/hurt/disappointed if you got rid of it, right? In this case, it’s time to focus on yourself and what works for you and your space. Can you imagine if you had every gift you ever received?! You’d have no space left!
I had a client, we’ll call her Jane, and we were working to organize her kitchen. We got to the utensil drawer, which was relatively organized in the sense that she already had dividers and most things seemed to have a place. But this is an area that can always use a good sorting and paring down. We get to a long-handled, Christmas themed coffee scoop. She HAD to keep it bcause her friend gave it to her. It was August and in her drawer. She also didn’t scoop coffee at home as she had one of those pod coffeemakers that brews single cups. This item was useless to her, yet she was compelled to keep it. This was almost four years ago….I wonder if she still has it?
The point being, no one gives you a gift and expects it to imprision you, burden you or keep you stuck. A gift is truly about the gesture. If your friend were to ask, “Where are those candlesticks I gave you?” it can be an awkward situation. But remember to thank the person for the gift, a really thoughtful gesture and tell them how much you appreciate the time you spend together, not the stuff, so you felt okay parting with the item because you weren’t using it (or whatever applies). ”It’s more important to me to have you in my life than things.
I hope you’ll think differently about the gifts you’ve received and only keep ones for the right reasons. And remember that these items will have emotional attachment, but you can still let them go. Just because a memory surfaces when you pick up the coffee scoop, doesn’t mean you need it on order to keep the memory. Think rationally when you sort your stuff and your emotions and your space will reflect a happier you.