When it comes to deciding which things to keep or pass on, this has been one of the most difficult areas for me:
What about all of the kind, generous, thoughtful gifts you have received over the years?
I present to you exhibit A:
My mom and sister gave this to me when we moved into our current home. It was thoughtfully white to match my new office and functional and cute…the problem is, once I got my office decorated, there really wasn’t a logical location for it.
I know, I’ll put it in the girl’s bedroom and they can hang their artwork on it…but then we came up with an easier solution for that with magnets.
Oh, I can put it in the garage, I wanted to create a spot for returns. Things that needed to be returned to stores or friends or relatives. Shoot, we have that covered, now, too with hooks.
What I absolutely did not want to do was hang it up just to hang it up.
So I’ve hung onto this for two years now, each time I look at it I have a slight feeling of regret and sadness that this very kind gift has gone unused and surely they have noticed that it hasn’t been displayed!
So I decided to ask my mom and sister what they would think if I donated it:
Mom: I don’t remember giving it to you.
Sister: Oh that’s fine, it was on clearance anyway, I just thought it was fun.
Then I asked “every time I look at this thoughtful gift I actually feel burdened by it because I am worried about what you will think if you visit my home and don’t see it displayed, is that what you had in mind when you gave it to me?”
Ok, so I didn’t actually ask that, but I KNOW if I did they would say “don’t be silly! Of course not! Do what is best for you.”
If our goal is a home filled with only items that we find useful or beautiful, we’re probably going to have to give away a few gifts along the way.
Is it possible that we could unintentionally offend a loved one by doing this: yes. Can we control how others react: no. Is it worth hanging onto things that we don’t value to appease others: probably not.
But what if it was handmade? or an heirloom? or one of a kind?
For me, having less stuff in our home and the time and peace that has accompanied it is worth more than any gift I have ever received.
I hope this doesn’t come across as callous, because this really can be a difficult area of letting go (look, I’ve hung onto this for two years now, still in the package!). Gifts are an important part of our culture and we would never intentionally want to hurt anyone.
So if you are looking for permission to get rid of things that don’t have a practical use to you, here it is!
And if you need a little more time to get there, that is ok, too :)