Step Into Our Gift Box

September 21, 2010 at 7:16 pm 4 comments

Gift Guilt: noun

A feeling of responsibility or remorse for discarding (or wanting to discard) useless, impractical, overpriced crap you wouldn’t use, display, or re-gift if your life depended on it.

We all own hideous objects (given as “gifts”) stored away in boxes, cabinets, closets, drawers, and under beds (pulled out only when the person who gave them is expected for a visit).  Cheryl’s is a jewelry box currently living in the trunk of her mother’s car.  Beth’s is an ice cream maker churning ice-dust as we type. Yum.

Shouldn't have happened

Saying goodbye to gifts we no longer use (or ever used) or want (or ever wanted) is probably one of the most challenging pieces of the de-cluttering process.

What is this intrinsic sense of responsibility?! Is it rooted in knowing the giver spent money, time, energy and effort? Do we project and ask “what if I gave the gift and someone tossed it?” “How would I feel?”

Well, how would you feel?  If you’re like most people, you wouldn’t care. You want people to use and enjoy their gifts.

We certainly do.

In an effort to wrap-up the stress and guilt related to gift giving, receiving, storing, and tossing – we’re offering some ground rules

Give USEFUL things.  Albeit the notion of “useful” is highly open to interpretation but please use common sense.  Think of the receiver and ask: do they have space? Is it possible they own one already? Did they mention wanting or even liking whatever it is you’re contemplating purchasing on their behalf?  Safe and predictable gifts are good! If they like beer – buy beer!

Don’t do it! An LCBO gift card will suffice.

Learn to love gift cards. Get over the fact the amount spent is identified! Gift cards get USED (and you can’t fool people anyway – they always know how much you spent or didn’t spend).

Gift cards are available for everything, from department stores to spas. Get online gift cards for sites like (for books, music, electronics and more!).

Always stick to registries. Just do it.

Be creative and purchase a luxury item or luxury experience the receiver would enjoy but never buy for themselves. We like: cleaning services, de-cluttering services (ahem!), gourmet at home chef experiences, a baby-sitter, a weekend away, and massages.  The possibilities are truly endless.

Think outside the gift box and make a donation on someone’s behalf (there are many wonderful organizations out there – find one that suits the recipient.) Or plant a tree in someone’s name.  Check out this site for other eco-friendly ideas.

In terms of saying goodbye to gifts we’ve received and have no use for – let the guilt (and the gift) go.  There’s someone in this world that will find a home for it. Holding on to things out of guilt is not benefitting you, your space, the giver, or the potential new owner.

Be proactive. We know it’s tough but try having open and honest conversations with friends and family members.  It’s ok to say “I do like to cook but really don’t want ANOTHER cookbook for my birthday”.  Or “yes, I have an affinity with butterflies, but wouldn’t wear butterfly socks if you paid me”.  It’s ok. Tell them now before the holiday season begins.


Entry filed under: Decluttering, Editing, Gifts. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Step Into Our Moving Van Step Into Our HookUp

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Zoe  |  September 21, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    I would love to see a post by you on gifts for hard- to- shop- for-Mother- In- Laws and he- has- everything- he- needs- Father -In-Laws. Perhaps it can be called Step In To Our Family Event…

  • 2. Paul  |  September 22, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Does anyone want a lima-bean coloured sweater? Its not exactly new but it has never been worn.

  • 4. Edit My Closet  |  September 22, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Great idea Zoe! We’re on it.


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