I own two boxes of stuff I need to get rid of. They silently sit in my closet, which is why I forgot about them for a long time.
Recently though I felt that it was silly to be holding onto this stuff – that’s what I was doing by ignoring it. I didn’t want any of it, but the items were either too random to donate or they were meant to be sold, which requires some effort.
The more you declutter the harder it becomes to let go of stuff because the stuff you own has already survived several “Do I need this?” rounds of questioning.
It’s easy to get rid of things like a second beater or the plastic mascot you got somewhere for free.
It’s harder to get rid of things that are beautiful or perfectly useful, just not for you.
The story of the vintage lipstick cases
So I had two beautiful vintage lipstick cases that had been gifted to me. Throwing these away would have felt close to a crime!
But I never bothered to put my lip balm into them so they had been lying around neglected for years. If you think about it, that’s its own form of waste.
So when I found the lipstick cases in my box I asked myself: “Which of my friends could use this? Who does this remind me of?” et voilá, a friend came to mind immediately. The lipstick case would fit right into her bohemian style, so I decided to ask her if she wanted it.
She did! The best part was that the next time we met she told me that she used it to store her bobby pins in her purse. Brilliant! I am now doing the same and my lonely leftover lipstick case finally gets the wear it deserves.
The rules for declutter-gift-giving
I have gifted anything from belts to shoes to tea boxes, earrings, scarves, bras, beauty products, and more. It is great fun to be able to give your friend a surprise gift just because an item made you think of them.
When I have a new friend come over to my apartment (or even the friend of a friend) I like to offer them tea and a glimpse into my donation box. It’s so easy to get rid of things when you see someone else get excited about something you don’t care about anymore!
I’d suggest two “rules” for giving away your stuff, though:
1. Do not try to offload your guilty conscience onto your friends by dumping all your crap onto them.
Only offer them things that you genuinely think they might need.
The key word here is “offer” – ask your friend if they want to have the item vs. gifting it to them immediately – they might not want to have it, after all!
2. Make sure to tell your friends that you don’t mind them decluttering this item in the future.
I find that the worst things to declutter are gifts. They make you feel so guilty. That’s why I try to give without any strings attached. I never want anyone to keep something I gave them just because they feel guilty.
Being able to share things I no longer need and seeing my friends get value out of them is one of the best side effects of minimalism.
So the next time you find it hard to part ways with a perfectly good item in your home, ask yourself if one of your friends might like it.
My two boxes of stuff are still living in my home. I have decided to sell their contents at the next flea market I can find, so they’ll be gone in one fell swoop. The things that don’t sell will be brought to the refugee donation drop off or thrown away.
It feels good to have a plan to get the last bits of clutter out.
This post was written before I played the minimalism game.