Awkward clutter

People give things to friends and family members for all sorts of reasons and three of those reasons are 1. Gifts  2. Trying to be helpful and  3. Offloading things they no longer have a love of or need for. And each of these reason have their own sub-categories some of which crossover through all three titles. I will set out some examples below.

Gifts

  1. They have one themselves and love it and wanted to share the joy. The intention is good but it may not contain the same joy for you.
  2. They know you have a collection of something and think you would be happy to receive another example. Also good intentioned, but sometimes personal collections revolve around personal taste and although the gift is along the same lines it may not be to your taste. And perhaps your collection only keeps growing because well intentioned people keep adding to it.
  3. They have an idea on what would look good on you fashion wise and buy you an outfit to suit. You on the other hand would hate yourself in it.
  4. What do you buy for someone who has everything? Anything so long as you have a gift to give, right? Wrong. Take them out, give them a treat and don’t bother with material gifts that they just don’t need.

Trying to be helpful

  1. 1 & 3 from the list above.
  2. They notice you don’t have something and think you would benefit from owning one.

Offloading things they now longer have a love of or need for

  1. What do people do with family heirlooms that they no longer want cluttering up their homes. That’s right they “generously” hand it on to the next in line sucker beneficiary. Now that person is stuck with the obligation of preserving family history. It really is OK to turn down this sort of duty ~ for want of a better word ~ there is usually someone in the family who would really appreciate what is on offer.
  2. People often have useful things they no longer have a need for and hate to see these items go to waste. Often however it feels more acceptable to them if they generously hand it on to a friend of family member rather than just donate it to a charity. This way they can witness it being put to good use.  Once again it is Ok to turn down these offers. You don’t have to put yourself out in order to appease their guilt for not getting full use out of something.
  3. You once said you thought something they had was handy, pretty or interesting and now they no longer want this item. They remember you had admired it and think you would be grateful if they gave it to you.

I have two pieces of advice when it comes to accepting and offering “clutter”.

  1. You don’t have to accept or keep items that will clutter up your house just to make someone else feel good. That is just handing the clutter baton on to the next person. Here is a polite refusal for when people offer you their things… Thank you for your kind offer but I really don’t have a use for this. I appreciate you thinking of me though. When it comes to gifts it is difficult to refuse but in future make it clear that no gifts are necessary. Accept the gift by all means but don’t feel obliged to keep it. Return it exchange it or give it away.
  2. When offering your clutter to someone else always offer the person an out. That is offer it in such a way that they won’t feel they are offending you by saying no thank you. Here is an example … I am getting rid of this item and I wanted to give you first option to take it. If it is not something you would find useful that is OK, I will just drop it off at the thrift store.

Have you ever felt awkward about passing on or accepting things? Have you taken items just because you don’t want to offend the giver? Have you wondered whether someone has done this with you?

Today’s Declutter Item

This was an unwanted gift that I found I had no need for even though I did give it a try. It was eventually donated to the thrift store. It is a manicure gadget in case you are trying to figure it out.

An unwanted gift

Something I Am Grateful For Today

My skills at packaging up ebay sale items. I have quite a knack for it, even if I say so myself.

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow


Continue reading with these posts:

  • Baby Clutter My post on Tuesday regarding clutter foisted on you from other well intentioned people inspired one readers to send me an email. I am so excited for this reader, even though she sees a […]
  • Useful Gifts? I’m Skeptical Cindy's Weekly Wisdom I hate to be a cynic, but I think I might be becoming one when it come to this oxymoron* ~ Useful gifts. More specifically, useful generic gifts. My mother gave me a […]
  • Stuff x Emotions ~ A guest post by Andréia It seems funny to talk about emotions and feelings when talking about inanimate objects that can be replaced, but we place emotion and feelings on stuff all the time. It can be good or it […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. I’m definitely on both sides of this one. I have an elderly friend who is attacking her extremely cluttered house. I accept everything she offers me and then quietly dispose of almost all of it. In giving away I try “we’re trying to find a good home for…. because we don’t need it any more. Can you use it?”

    We thought we’d hit the giveaway jackpot this weekend when stocking the Wildlife Hospital’s residence. Managed to leave a coffeemaker, grill, cutlery, pillows and some bedding but others were also in a donating mood and we had to bring our dishes and towels back home!! Better for us to donate the stuff elsewhere than leave it to be someone else’s problem.

    • Well done Wendy B. You keep so busy helping people and causes all over the place. What a lovely person you are.

      • Thank you for the compliment. I’m blushing.

        The best thing about being retired is that you get to do the work you WANT to do.

        • Or in my case my husband earns enough money so I can do the work I want to do.

          • That is an interesting comment. My sister in law and I were talking about retirement some day, and she said that her life would be no different than it is now. She has the freedom to do as she chooses. I am grateful to have the blessing of being able to also. We cut back to live on one income, but it is worth the sacrifice for the freedom.

          • I worked because I NEEDED to, because I had been self-supporting since the age of 18 and I didn’t know how NOT to. I still feel guilty for not being a contributing member of the workforce (I ‘retired’ at 52) — but I’m getting over it! As volunteers we do jobs that would not get done otherwise, and we get to do them together.

  2. Boy, this is an excellent post!

    I used to grin and bear it (while sputtering inside) when people gave me clutter, even if it was a gift, but in recent years, I’ve started speaking up, heading people off at the pass when they want to clutter up our house with something.

    One of the worst examples I can remember is the time my step-daughter gave us a set of coffee and end tables, with matching lamps, for Christmas. In my mind, you just can’t give people furniture as a gift like that. For one, you don’t know their taste. For two, you don’t know if they need it or want it.

    In my case, I never use a coffee table because I can’t stand a clutter-magnet sitting in the middle of the living room like that. I’d rather have clear space in front of the couch.

    The whole situation with that furniture was a fiasco, caused some tension for my husband and me, until the day we finally gave away the tables that we wouldn’t use.

    This same step-daughter once gave me an electric frying pan for Christmas even though I had specifically mentioned that I had no use for one.

    This step-daughter is a very generous and loving woman. She just wasn’t yet aware that I tend more towards the minimalist scale when it comes to stuff for the house, and that I REALLY was serious when I said I had no use for whatever-it-was that we were talking about.

    This year we tried a no-gifts Christmas for the first time, and it was very relaxing. No stress or pressure from the gift angle.

    • How frustrating for you Becky. I am sure as you say your step daughter meant well but that is the problem so often in these situations. I am glad you found the perfect solution in the end. And she is probably relieved as well, I wouldn’t be surprised.

    • Since some of my kids are away at school or newly married, I have decided to give gift cards, cash and only give gifts if they send me the exact link of what they want. I don’t want to clutter their homes with useful stuff that they don’t want. Everyone’s tastes change as time goes on and I don’t know what they want any more. I feel like this is a win-win for everyone. We are also opted to go one a trip together and skip gifts. I enjoy that one very much. I sometimes feel like I am not putting much effort into gifts, but I don’t want them to just buy me stuff I don’t want so I am doing the same for them. We starting to put a little money in a college/savings account when we had a grandchild 2 years ago.

      • This is what we do for birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas for our adult children and grandchildren. I used to feel similar to you, feeling as if we weren’t “putting much effort” into the gifts, but that feeling didn’t last long when we saw how much everybody enjoyed receiving the money gifts.

        I refuse to add clutter to anyone else’s home, since I hate it so much myself, and I’ve never heard of anybody yet that couldn’t use a little extra cash.

        This is my motto when giving a cash gift: Green–one size fits all. (To those not in the USA, our paper money used to be printed on green paper, and was nicknamed “greenbacks”.)

        • A friend of a friend of a friend of a friend…..they do a reverse gift thing, where I would buy what I actually want, but it would be tagged as coming from someone else (and paid). So the surprise and anticipation is actually for the giver not the receiver.

          It was the great-grandma who asked to do it this way because she was sick of hankie sets and talc powder and actually wanted a boogie board and a pair of cool sunglasses.

          So that is how they do Xmas. I think it is a novel idea, everyone gets what they want.

          • This is how I’ve done Xmas from my parents for as long as I can remember. They’ll still wrap it, funds are mixed, but it saves everyone the trouble of unwanted gifts. Add in that Xmas is when I get winter clothing and it makes perfect sense 🙂

      • That sounds very sensible spendwisemom. It is a win win situation. You said ~”I sometimes feel like I am not putting much effort into gifts, but…” My thinking about that is the gift giving is such and intrenched tradition that it can be hard to stop without feeling a little miserly. But there are plenty of things we used to do in bygone ages that we no longer ascribe to and I am happy to add this one to the list.

        I give to my kids of course but often for something I know they want/need or a cash gift that they always appreciate. I tell them no to buy for me, sometimes they do it they have a clever no clutter idea. My son gave me a Coffee Club card for Christmas and I think I have probably already got the $25 worth out of it and there are still 9 months to go.

  3. My Mom has a great saying when it comes to stuff. She is quite the minimalist especially now that she’s nearly 80. Anyways, when someone wants to give her a gift & Mom gets wiff of that idea – she likes to remind folks that she doesn’t want anything she has to feed, iron, dust or water.

    • Ha ha Jane, I like your mum she is my kind of lady. I will have to remember that one.

    • Now if that doesn’t make you sit up and take notice, I just don’t know what will! Classic, realistic and refreshing just like Coke! I love your Mum Jane, I’d really like her to meet my Mum, and pass on her minimalist musings! My Mum keeps hitting little hurdles 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • hahah My Mom is quite the pistol & darn if she doesn’t shoot from the hip! I spent most of my teen years rolling my eyes at her quips & quotes & was sure I would die from chronic embarrassment of her. LOL
        Anyways, she’s always been ummmm “outspoken” we shall say & doesn’t blink an eye when it comes to straightening people out. She’s notorious for rolling down her car window & telling people in the car next to her to turn down their music & darn if they don’t!
        As far as her being a minimalist, I give her credit – she gets rid of things that don’t actively & serve a usable purpose in the here & now. She has no use for things that “might” be useful maybe someday. Which goes a long way to explain where Dad went off too. LOL

        • Sounds like we have the same mother Jane. The thing is I think my daughter would describe me the same way. Ha ha, I like being different. I remember once my sister got a bit roughed up by a couple of feral girls when we were out one night. Weeks later we were driving through town with a load of stuff when moving house and we saw the girls and said to mum “These the girls that hit Karen.” Well she stopped that car so fast, got out and walked right up to those girls and gave them what for. We could have died with embarrassment but they never came near us again.
          I have to confess I did the same thing years later with a boy at my son’s school who convinced another younger kids to hit him. My boy was too kind to hit back and the young kid was just stupid but I let the bigger bully kids know I wasn’t putting up with that sort of behaviour and he never bothered him again.

    • Haha, I really like that too as it encompasses just about every material gift 😉

  4. Back in the late 70s I had a set of cannisters that had frogs as a theme. I think it was a popular decor motif that Sears carried then.

    Anyway, because I had those cannisters, people assumed that I was “collecting frogs”, and would give me frog-themed gifts for all occasions.

    I remember getting rid of the whole “collection” some time after that, when I was first teaching myself how to declutter. After that, I made sure to let people know that I *wasn’t* collecting frogs, and didn’t receive any more after that.

    By the way, I have no collections of any kind because I find them to be huge clutter magnets, just as you mentioned, Colleen.

    My mother has gone to the trouble of collecting all the different state quarters as they come out (I’m in the USA) because she wants each of us to “have a set”, but to be honest, I don’t care about keeping a set of quarters around, and will probably just take the quarters out of the display case and spend them.

    I know someone who has a HUGE collection of comic books–thousands of comic books. They take up numerous boxes, and he actually moves them all with him whenever he moves to another state. Even during those times when he needs extra money, he refuses to sell any of the comics, though they were highly collectible when he started collecting them.

    • Hi Becky,
      I think I wrote a post once on what a pain collections can become. I no longer collect things either and am encouraging the removal of most of the collection in my home as well. You are so right about them being clutter magnets but they are often dust magnets as well. That is the think I detest most about them, dusting them.

    • Hahahahaha sorry this resonated with me on so many levels. i had the same thing happen (only I actually like frogs) but over the years it got so out of hand, my place started to look like a ‘frog-arium’ I loved that they thought to buy me a gift but jeez I was inundated.

      You’re right though, collections usually start because we ourselves purchased something cute or remarked about it and someone, Dammit, saw or heard. Before you know it you have an influx of stuff and it multiplies!!!!

      I love your plans for the ‘quarters’ 🙂 🙂 🙂 maybe a little froggie hahaha

    • The thought of collecting makes me anxious! It has a built-in “necessity” to always look for more. *Shudder*.

      • What’s more: collections are made for “not being used”.
        I love to cook and serve meals, both European and Japanese style. If you ever saw Japanese dinner tables, you get an idea of how many bowls and plates you need. As I do like them as well, I also own (and tend to buy for myself) more bowls and plates than most other people. However, I try to make clear that I don’t want anyone buy me some, as I can’t stand European “Asian style plates” in plain black and white, but love to stroll through shops and potteries myself to maybe (rarely) find one more tiny plate I truly like. Though I do collect small Japanese plates, it’s not really a “collection” in my eyes, as I still don’t own enough to “properly” serve more than 3 or 4 people and I add only very slowly. Moreover, I also use all those plates on a regular basis and occasionally break one as well. When I hear “collection” I immediately think of an accumulation of excess things that you only intend to display but not to use. And that thought makes me shudder as well.

        • Sanna, if you regularly use something, I wouldn’t classify that as a collection. I agree with your definition: a collection is more a grouping of something that you’re not planning to do much more with than display or store somewhere.

          That’s just my opinion though.

          • Well my definition of a collection is: Any place occupied by STUFF, for well meaning dust to die and never be seen for a few months! Least it is in my house (not recently though) I hate dusting ANYTHING! 🙂 🙂 🙂

            Sanna it’s a shame I didn’t know you like Japanese Service plates, I could of sent you two authentic plates that are actually hand made in Japan for the very purpose they are intended for SERVING. My Uncle gave them to me years ago when he was working in Japan. They were absolutely beautiful and useful, just not for me anymore! 🙁

    • Oh gosh Becky, I totally understand when folks are convinced by some vague reference that you collect something when in fact you don’t. Years & years ago I rented a little semi-furnished studio apartment that had a kitchenette & bathroom already decorated in a strawberry theme. Everything. Wallpaper. Decorative accents. Window treatments. Canisters. Even the bathroom floor mats & matching toilet seat cover were of strawberries.
      So I told a co-worker that I had rented a little apartment & it was all strawberries. Which she interpreted as I HAD to rent this place BECAUSE I LOVED strawberries so much. I worked with her for 4 or 5 years & darn if she didn’t find any reason to unload anything strawberry on me.
      I don’t even like real strawberries. Makes me itch.

  5. Gifts! What a minefield littered with good intentions and unwanted items. These days, I prefer to give gift vouchers, or if it is a young person, a prezzie card, which acts like a debit card but isn’t attached to a bank account so they have freedom to get what they want.

    Have been to a number of weddings lately where the happy couple have asked for vouchers to a specific store ie large appliances, or furniture store. Brilliant!

    One couple had their registry with the travel agency. We all knew the groom had planned/paid for this amazing adventure for his bride who had never travelled and was sooooo excited (though she didn’t know where she was going), and the opportunity was there to sponsor an ‘upgrade’ on a particular item on the itinerary or to ‘gift’ a particular outing, and some were a ‘mystery tour’ so even the groom didn’t know what was in store. Everybody got behind this idea because we knew it was what they really wanted and that they already had home set up. (she’s a minimalist) The travel agent reported 100% of listed items were bought by guests, and then had to move onto some restaurant vouchers and foreign currency (also appreciated).
    The ONLY gift that showed up at the wedding reception – and it was actually very appreciated – was a pair of travel hair straighteners ie cordless, rechargable. Perfect for travelling. Bride was happy. The happy couple kept everyone updated on facebook and it was a great icebreaker at the reception, talking to others at the same table.

    • Hi Moni,
      I have never been a lover of gift registries only because quite often the gifts requested are very pricy and no thought seems to have been put into that fact that not all guests are as affluent as one another. I do however like what the couple did in your story. I suppose to it could be set up so you pay a nominated amount towards the item of your choice and other guests could make extra payments. What a super idea and a great way to avoid gift clutter.

      • We did something similar! I had been already living in my place for years when we married and husband moved over, so no need for house stuff. We are big travellers and like to book everything by ourselves. So we prepared a web page with the trip itinerary and a list of “items” you could decide to contribute to, even with a small payment. Examples: a night in this hotel, a day trip to that place, the flight from A to B for the bride or the groom, etc. Most people were happy to contibute and we got enough money to cover all of the trip (quite expensive!!) and only a few material gifts. We actually prepared also a very small gift list in my hometown with only small and cheap items we really needed, so some less close people that were not invited to the wedding lunch (my parents friends for example) could choose from there. We imagined those people would not want to contribute to the trip if they only wanted to spend 20-30 euros (since you can see how much each person spends) and we would have received lots of flowers, silver photo frames, vases or dust-catchers instead 😛

  6. And by cosmic coincidence – yesterday I had to buy a baby gift for a friend who is very much the minimalist – a few years back I discovered Babybuds. http://www.babybuds.co.nz and http://www.babybuds.com.au – I don’t know if they are in America or UK. They take the little socks, hats, singlets etc etc and roll them into ‘flowers’ and make bouquets. Its practical but still gorgeous – my daughters were all gooey over it when it arrived this morning. I don’t give toys any more, I feel it is up to the parents to decide what they want, and I know this particular couple will support the local toy library.

    • When it comes to baby gift giving I like the idea of setting up a bank account in the babies name and having people make direct deposits. This money could go towards things they need, future education or into a trust fund for when they turn 18.

      • such an amazing thing! my aunt made that when we were born. and just around last christmas I remembered it. she never really kept it going, as she was giving us money cash, but the original amount is quadrupled and I will get that as a luxurious extra on my next trip to her.
        I really really really like the idea of opening a bank account, its long term, no clutter, and so very useful.

        • When I started school at 5 years old it was normal for the Commonwealth Bank to visit the school so the children could all start bank accounts. I did this with my parents approval and like your aunt didn’t keep it up for long. Candy was much more important to me then. 😉 Years later I cashed in that account and it has about 15 years of accumulated interest. Needless to say it still wasn’t a whole lot but it was much more than I had put into it. I actually still have the passbook for it in my keepsake box. It has a photo of Skippy the Kangaroo on the front. Probably time I decluttered that.

    • If I know the person well, I usually but a gift card in a shop where they sell everything for babies, from diapers to food, from high chairs to clothing. So the parents can choose what to buy 🙂 Otherwise if I don’t know the person very well and I feel uncomfortable giving a “priced” gift (I don’t like that people know how much I spent on my gifts) I buy some clothes that can be used in 3-6 months time. This way you don’t risk that the baby has already enough clothes for the present season and grows up too quickly for actually using your gift.

      • One of the best baby gifts I received for my older daughter (middle child) was this lovely dress but it was to fit a 2-3 year old. I was a bit baffled at the time as it looked huge next to a newborn, but when she eventually fit it, it was so lovely as I wouldn’t have been able to afford something so good quality and frivolous for a 2 year old. Of course, it took me 2 years to come to the full appreciation of it, but it is the gift that I remember the most.

  7. Wow Moni! That was a smart couple. Colleen, this is a great post. For years I had to deal with presents that were not to my taste. Anyone who got me a present would give things that just “weren’t me.” Most didn’t seem to pay atention to anything they know about me. So about 8 years ago we started telling people we wanted no gifts for Christmas. If they insist, I tell them to give me a gift card to Amazon. I can get almost anything that way and it’s what I want. Of course, most of the time I use it things we need. Now that I have a Kindle I will also use it for that. But I try to either get my books from the electronic library or free ones from Amazon. If I find a really, really good book that I want to be able to read on demand or save so I can use it to quote from then I might hang on to it. I don’t need to clutter up my Kindle any more than I do my house.

    I am having a great time getting rid of some things that came with us in our last move. I had some of the wire shelving and braces like you use in a closet redo that Mom wanted to hang onto. We have been here 4 years now and I think she finally realizes that we won’t be using them. I said something about getting rid of them and she thought it was a good idea. She is also really excited about the changes I made in the office/craft room. So excited that she actually came up with the idea to put some of her stuff in this set of plastic drawers so we could put them with the set of metal drawers I had moved. It really makes a huge difference and she is really happy with the look. 🙂 Slowly but surely. Patience pays.

    • isnt it always impressive how you can convince people if you just SHOW them? my mum did that with us – if she was convinced that rearranging the room would improve it – she would just do it. gather 3 people and “come on we just try it really quickly”. (I heard this sentence so many times, it makes me laugh to translate it). Rearranging is sometimes the best motivation.
      I love your ‘convince mother to declutter stories’, it so helps me accepting the fact that not everyone in your surrounding thinks the same as you… steady pace wins the race.

      • Ha Ha Lena, your mum must have been a bit like mine. Only my mum would do all the rearranging while we were out. We would come home go to our rooms and find it wasn’t our room any more. I enjoyed that. A change is as good as a holiday ~ or at least better than nothing. She used to say she had gypsy in her blood and if she couldn’t move house she could at least rearrange it.

        • lol my mum always came with the “I should have studied interior design” after she made us do things to show us how this room makes much more sense after the rearranging… She still does that. I would even say rearranging, sorting and cleaning up is one of her hobbies. and my dad left her a huge house with so many little messy corners to clean up…

  8. I agree that you absolutely don’t have an obligation to accept or keep random things people try to give you, including birthday and holiday gifts. Most of my friends and family know I don’t want “stuff” as gifts and are very amiable to that. The ones who don’t get it? I often put their stuff up on Amazon the following week and gentle urge them to respect my desire for less stuff the following year.

    • Hi Ben,
      I have also found that most people respect my request for no gifts. Some people however find it unthinkable to let an occasion go by without offering something. I make a point of letting them know of non-clutter gift ideas that I would be happy to receive. So even they are coming around to my wishes one way or another.

  9. Hi 365’ers,

    It totally amazes me how people just don’t get it! How many of you have said to your loved ones I don’t need or want anything and come Christmas, Birthday, Easter Whatever, there’s a gift, that you didn’t want or need or have room for or even want to make room for!!!! I’m all for asking the question, if I get a ‘I don’t want/need anything as in stuff I either get a voucher that can be used for food/goodies or a petrol voucher. I am so loved by all! 9 out of 10 times this has happened my way and I love it. I don’t want people stressing out about having to spend money on something they may well not be able to afford in the first place just to celebrate the fact that they got me something! I let all my loved ones know just how I feel about this and they have all come around. Whilst I’m here since when did giving gifts at Easter become the norm! With kiddies we have a little egg hunt and have fun together and catch up with family etc etc, since when did getting kids huge great big ‘things’ for Easter start? Am I a meanie? I’m not overly religious but I’m sure Jesus lived and died for us to be more compassionate and loving of each other not presents given out in huge quantities on Easter Sunday! Sorry but did I miss a train somewhere along the line?

    • Hi Dizzy,
      one of the big advantages of being Mrs 365lessthings.com it is pretty obvious to all who know me that I am serious about the no gift thing so pretty much everyone conforms bar one or two.

      As for the Easter gift giving it probably started around the same time as when hot crossed buns began sell the week after Christmas and the eggs appeared in the store in early February when Easter in in April.

      • What?? I’ve never even heard of this gifts at Easter thing! It’s never going to happen in our house. Chocolate eggs and maybe some other candy, sure. People are just turning every celebration into an opportunity to buy more stuff :/

        • I think you are right, Cat’sMeow. I think it was all something the ad/sales world thought up to get people to buy more. I’m so sick of all the commercial hype that I have gotten to where I don’t want anything to do with most holidays. I’m sick of eggs, ghosts, lepracans (sp?), hearts, etc hanging off trees and all kinds of other things decorating yards and houses and stores and even some parks.

          • I’m with you, Deb. I’m not big on holidays, especially the “Hallmark holidays”–you know, the made-up holidays that really aren’t holidays, or weren’t until Hallmark started really playing them up.

            As for the buying of “big” gifts for Easter, I noticed that starting to happen when my grandchildren were younger. I’d hear people talking about buying iPods or X-boxes and stuff like that for their children, and I’d think WHAT?!?

      • Sometimes it’s in March! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Just to stuff things around even more on the calendar hahaha

    • yeah well. In our family it was tradition that you got a little item in your easter nest (after the egg hunt you found the chocolate). I remember it being a new alarm clock, a new pair of underpants, and socks. my brother got a new set of drumsticks or boxershorts. So it was nothing surprising, something my mum would have given us anyway and usually nothing we were excited to get in the first place 😉
      the chocolate bunny was far more exciting. that reminds me. I need to get myself one this year.

  10. I’m giving an update this week end, whether “no presents” works out this time … Or rather, as I know, some people just have to give something for birhtdays, I already pointed out that I would be most happy about cake, flowers and one specific book. We’ll see, how many more (unwanted) things will find their way in…

    • Happy birthday for this weekend Sanna. I hope you don’t get anything you don’t want. What a beautiful birthday sentiment that was, don’t you think?

  11. Oh, on another hand: I often take things other people decluttered, nothing that I instantly know I don’t need, but things that I “might need”. However, I don’t feel obliged to keep them. Often I will try them for a few weeks and give them to the thrift shop, if I find out I don’t need them after all, or I will just split them up and give them away – I once received 20 pencils, which I offered to other friends, who happily took one or two each.

  12. I do take things that people don’t want when I am helping them declutter their homes. I just drive my car right to the thrift store and drop them off. That way, they can let go of them because they are giving them to me instead. I tell them that I will pass them on if I don’t want them. And, since I know I don’t want them, I just pass them on right away.

    • This makes sense, getting them to the thrift shop right away.

      In our house that doesn’t work so well. My husband will take *anything* somebody else is decluttering, then I have to work very hard to get him to let it go if it’s not something of use to us.

      I’m not always successful in convincing him, though he’s coming around to my way of thinking a lot more often these days. 😉

  13. What a great way to help a friend.

  14. What a great post and comments! This is something I have failed at in the past, but from being a good student in Colleen’s class I will never fail at it in the future 🙂

    I particularly like your suggestions of what to say, Colleen, because I get tongue-tied in awkward situations.

  15. I once went to a birthday party (mine) which involved a sleepover at my friend’s place. Another friend brought her sister to the party, a woman I’d never met before nor seen since. She was great company and a fun addition to the evening but gifted me with a large stuffed toy (and I’m a grown woman in my forties btw). Because it was my birthday and you have to give a gift, right? I said thank you nicely and donated it to the thrift store on my way back home the following day. Wasn’t going to let that one across the threshold of my tiny home. I don’t have collections of anything and people often seem to be put out that they don’t automatically know to buy me X, Y or Z kind of item. I honestly don’t want for anything and would be happy not to recieve a gift but if people feel they must, a consumable like chocolate is always welcome…….

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