I pride myself as being a fairly organized person. I take my advice most of the time. But once in awhile, I slip up and hear myself going down the road of clutter. When I work with my clients, I will challenge them when they want to keep something for someone to actually take a picture of the object and text it to the person and see if they want it. I had a "very nice" [insert guilt word here] travel bag that I thought my son's girlfriend would want. I texted her the picture and I got the reply that she didn't like the pattern on the bag. But then I caught myself in mid text with a reply of...but "it is perfect" [insert guilt word here] for what she needs! If I would have guilted her into keeping it, she would have taken it and never used it. The bag would add to her clutter.
So to avoid having the problem of going down the guilt trip road here are some tips:
- Ask if this is something they would buy. If the answer is no, then you know that this will just be clutter in their lives. We do not want to enable clutter.
- Is this something that you know that they like. If you know the person well, you will probably know their style. Perhaps they have a collection and you are adding to their collection.
- Don't start with guilt words. Words like "this was your grandmas" or "I loved this as a child" are meant to start the trip down guilt road. I think twice if something was my grandmas. I feel that maybe I should hold onto it for sentimental reasons.
- Don't be attached to the outcome. Be okay with whatever answer you receive. The person may not want to hurt your feelings, but be prepared if they do. Remember, it isn't you they are rejecting, it is the object that they don't have a connection to.
- Start with open words in your dialogue. Letting them know from the start that you are fine with whatever their answer is, starts the conversation in a way so that you know that they are not keeping the object out of guilt.
- Have a back up plan. Know that whatever the possession is, there is someone out there that it will bring joy to. For me it was knowing that I could take this bag to a women's shelter and they would find a home for it gave me a sense of peace.
- Have someone donate the items for you. I sometimes feel guilty with knowing that I am discarding sentimental items. My husband however is not sentimental, so he does the donating.
- Don't guilt yourself into keeping the clutter. Have the item leave your house as soon as possible. If you have the item pulled aside and you keep on looking at it, you may decide to keep it after you guilt yourself!
To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,