My decluttering has really ramped up over the last week. I am still amazed by the amount of junk I have stashed away. While my house doesn’t look much different, the kitchen especially is a lot easier to use.
Freedom from the freebies
As I decluttered over the last three weeks, I’ve been struck by the amount of stuff in the house I acquired for free. It is now clear to me that all this free stuff has a cost.
I have come across various categories of free stuff in my cupboards and drawers:
- giveaways and promotional freebies (eg. coffee mugs emblazoned a with logo, stickers, pins and bags)
- stuff that was included with other stuff I bought (eg. A measuring cup and spoon that came with a rice cooker and a potato spiral maker)
- stuff that has been passed on to me by someone else (eg. half my kitchen items and most of my craft things)
- gifts (I think gifts will get a whole post of its own!).
I am fortunate, as a lot of what I consider to be essential items have been given to me and saved me a lot of money. Then there are the non-essential but potentially useful items.
My (former) slow cooker was one of those. I thought it would be really useful and I gave it a premium spot in my kitchen cupboard. However, I got it out more times to get to the special-occasions-only glass jug behind it than to cook with. Turns out I’m just not a slow cooker.
The lure of free
Then there are the more random things (coffee art stencils), the just plain useless things (bobble heads) and the things that would be useful if you didn’t already have 100 of them (promotional reusable shopping bags).
This got me thinking – what is it about free stuff? Why do I feel compelled to bring it into my home?
It is like we are hardwired to want free stuff – just because it’s free, no matter what it is. If there is something free on offer and I miss out on it, I feel disappointed and annoyed. Free stuff evokes a weird mix of feelings – both entitlement and gratitude.
I have a large pile of packaging sitting around. I had been saving it to redeem points on the products to get free stuff. I might get two or three free children’s books a year from doing this. I would never buy these books, as we have plenty of much better children’s books and use the local library heavily. Plus, the free books aren’t great quality so my son tears them easily. But no! I have been wasting time on redeeming points because it’s free stuff and I don’t want to miss out! Well, no more. If I wouldn’t buy it why accept it for free?
Not taking it
That is the lesson I learnt this week – it’s the stuff that I don’t buy that contributes most to my clutter. If I’m going to stop the clutter creep, it’s not just my spending I have to watch, it’s my accepting of free stuff. I need to get more discerning and practice saying thanks but no thanks.
Do you find it hard to resist a free offer? What is the stupidest freebie accepted recently?