Often, after a birthday, or the holidays, we’re left with more goodies than we really need. That’s why we need to go through the gifts we received, deciding which are keepers and which need to be moved along, so we can remain clutter-free, or at least somewhat clutter-free.
Of course, some gifts are absolute keepers: the scarf your daughter knitted for you, a book you’ve been wanting to read, a bottle of your favorite wine. But what of those gifts of a more generic variety? Items like:
- A shower kit with a cheap plastic “loofa” and bubble-gum scented shower gel,
- A box of cheese and sausage snacks from someone who isn’t close enough to you to know you’re vegetarian, or
- A sweater (with no gift receipt or tags) in a color combo that hasn’t been popular since the 1980s.
These gifts are easy to pass along to someone who you know will want them, or to simply donate to a thrift store or charity that takes items to resell. Make the time to do that now, rather than move them around for the next few months before you finally become fed up and do something with them.
Then there are the wonderful gifts which replace something you already owned. For instance, someone once gave me a lovely pair of woolen slippers. They were sturdy, practical and quite expensive, I later learned. So why did it take me months to start wearing them and to throw out my old, ratty slippers? Emotional attachment is the best explanation, I suppose. But I tripped over the box containing the new pair for ages before I finally made myself do the trade and pitch the old pair.
Duplicate gifts are a bit easier to deal with. If you received two of something, and it’s not consumable, share one with someone else you know who might need it, or pass it along. Why try to make space for it when you already have one?
As you go through your gifts and decide which are keepers and which need to go, let the momentum that builds up carry you along so that you take anything else you happen to see that’s no longer useful to you and move it along, too. You’ll be surprised how that momentum works.
If you need help making the tough decisions about which gifts to keep and which gifts to get rid of, see my book, The Sentimental Person’s Guide to Decluttering for tips on moving along a variety of gifts, including heirlooms and expensive gifts.