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Decluttering and the Tradition of Giving
Finding Energy with Cleared Spaces
Is there anything in your office or your home that you do not need, use, or cherish? If so, the excess falls under the definition of CLUTTER. Regardless of whether the clutter is obvious or hidden, it becomes a problem when:
- It takes extra time to find what you need
- It nags at you and leads to stress
Chances are you are already struggling with a shortage of hours every day. Can you afford to waste time and energy hunting for things?
Two ways that add to the physical clutter in our lives are:
- Failure to make a decision on where something belongs or if it should even stay
- Fear of hurting someone's feelings
The second point applies to gifts that you have been given.
- Over the last few months have you used all of your holiday presents?
- Is there still anything that does not have a "home"?
The giving and receiving of gifts is a wonderful tradition. Yet honestly, how many times have we opened something, smiled, thanked that person, and wondered inside, "What will I ever do with this?"
Our appreciation of the person and our innate desire to be kind often make us feel that that we must keep or display something that may just not be the right fit for us at this time in our lives. Yet keeping something that we neither need nor love is a drain on our efforts to better manage our time and our space.
In a traditional gift-giving society, the recipient is more a custodian or steward than its owner. If we hold onto something and do not use it, we do not honor the giver. The gift must always move, either the actual item or something of value that resulted from that present. On this second point, it could be an intangible; for example, your parents providing you with a college education, and you in turn doing this for your children.
Make sure that a gift does not become an obstacle in your space or life. Try these alternatives:
- Decide right away if it is something you will use or cherish.
- For every new physical item coming in, move something out.
- For excess items, think about who could benefit and pass them on.
- Stuffed animals to the police department for working with children
- Blankets and bedding for disaster relief
- Unwanted dry goods to food pantries
- Clothing to charity resale facilities or consignment shops
- Heirlooms to the next generation for safekeeping
- Books to half-priced stores
- Sports equipment to local parks and after-school programs
Benefits to you:
- Uncluttered spaces reduce time spent searching for things
- Cleared areas improve the flow of energy and reduce stress
- You are helping someone
- You can claim a tax deduction
- The spirit of the gift continues
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