I enjoy trying to share my excess stuff with others – friends first and then to one of the stores. I approach friends and ask, “Is this something you’d like to have?” With one particular friend, let’s call her Joanna; she almost always takes whatever I’ve offered. After a handful of months, I noticed stacked in a corner the sugar and creamer containers Joanna had taken most recently. The last thing I want to do is add to someone else’s clutter.
Stuff from other people comes into our homes – one way or another – from gifts or sharing or inheritance. We all have them – things from those we love that don’t quite fit our personality or style. Sometimes these are the most difficult items to make decisions about. It holds some value in one way or another for us. Is it simply the memory? Is it guilt? Is it a sense of obligation? Or is it something else entirely?
When working with clients, I often ask them after hearing that it’s from someone else, “Do you think this person would want to add to your clutter?”
I know this is the last thing I would want – it turns out I gave a gift to someone who was bothered by part of the design of it, I told them emphatically to pass it along to someone else, PLEASE.
William Morris known partially for his involvement in the Arts and Crafts Movement said “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” If something is not useful or beautiful to you, wherever it came from, is there a reason to keep it?
The last time I visited, I saw it sitting in a corner. On some level it made me sad since they shared how they don’t love it, yet because it was a gift from me, it stays.
Maybe I have too noble expectations of people – that they too would not want to contribute to anyone else’s clutter. It’s hard for me to imagine that anyone would want someone to keep a gift that isn’t adding value to his or her life and space.
We each get to make decisions for our own life – is it worth it to have things around that don’t make you happy? Keep the lovely memory of the gift, the care from the person giving the gift, and let the item itself move into someone else’s life who might treasure it dearly.