How much of your clutter was given to you?
Drawers full of unworn clothing in colors and styles that someone else picked out – pink fuzzy sweaters for people who love wearing sweats and a t-shirt. Athletic gear for people who live in dressy blouses and elegant pants.
Shelves full of unread books someone else enjoyed and thought you might too. All kinds of specialty kitchen equipment that’s barely out of the wrapping paper and enough journals without a word set down in them to open a wee gift shoppe.
Photos from relatives in dusty frames. Cousin Jake is 32 now and looks quite different from the faded snapshot you have on the walls of his first birthday party. Back in the dinosaur age when photos came printed out in envelopes, we would often give relatives the prints we didn’t like enough to keep. If your walls are full of these dutifully framed outtakes, it’s safe to say they can go. Especially if the last time you saw cousin Jake was at his fifth birthday party.
We get given paintings, tchotchkes, cute inspirational signs, dolls, stuffed animals and shelves and shelves of little ceramic animals. Never, ever tell anyone you like dolphins or cairn terriers unless you want to wake up one day to the shocking realization that your house boasts approximately 45 cute animals per square foot.
Remember that when someone gives you a thing, they give it with love, but the love is distinct from the thing. You can let the thing go and keep the love. In fact, your only “must do” is to thank them. Once you’ve done that, the gift is yours, to keep or let go depending on whether you love it or not.
If you fear someone will ask you what you’ve done with their gift, take a moment to remember that the gift is now yours, not theirs. We don’t have to decorate our homes to please anyone else, and we most definitely don’t have to maintain the local branch of the National Museum of Gifts I Never Liked but Continue to Display, Dust and Dislike.
Here’s a timely gift from me to you. Here’s your very own guilt free gift pass, officially giving you full permission to deal with the season’s gifts as you choose without a scrap of guilt!