Admit it: We’ve all received a gift that completely missed the mark, maybe from someone we barely know or a close friend or family member. Either way, you are probably facing the dilemma of just what to do with that unintentionally ugly sweater or set of crafting supplies you’ll never use. Those are experiences yanked right out of my Christmases past. And they were all thoughtful but the gift simply did not bring me joy. What do you do?
Marie Kondo, author of the groundbreaking “The Life-Changing Joy of Tidying Up,” encounters this frequently with her clients, and I do too. It’s hard to deal with the guilt of just thinking of discarding it or what to do if the giver asks you how you’re enjoying the present. Here’s the way to address that unwanted gift.
First, open it immediately and remove it from the packaging. Then, whenever possible, start using the item. You might find that you get some amount of joy from using that new-fangled garlic press. But, if after using it you find it still doesn’t bring joy, then thank it and bid it farewell with gratitude. It is acceptable to re-gift the item or donate it to an agency or person who might find it a better home.
It’s important to remember that a gift is a means to convey feelings to one another. It’s not the item that is the most significant, it is the relationship you have with the person who gave it to you. So, don’t use or wear the gift out of sense of obligation or never use it and resent the space it takes up in your drawer or the guilt you feel every time you see the unused item. Give yourself permission to separate your feelings for the giver from the actual gift. When you do that, then you can genuinely be thankful for the gesture and add it to your decluttering pile.
Do you get hung up when it’s an expensive gift or one personally made for you? These are just different forms of guilt. By all means, treat the item with respect when you find a new home for it. And do it right away. Don’t let the gift take up space in your mind or your home any longer.
“But wait!,” you say. “What if the person asks about where the gift is or if I’m using it?” If asked, focus on the thoughtfulness and joy of the feelings and relationship, not the item. And, don’t fret – most people don’t ask and some can barely recall what the item was that they gave to you.
In the end, as Kondo, the organizing maven says, “The true purpose of a present is to be received.” Consider this your lesson in becoming a thankful recipient by focusing on the joy of the relationship, not the item. It’s okay to let go of the stuff.
The Reluctant Enthusiast LLC, doing business as Designed 2 Stick, is owned and operated by Mrg Simon, Glen Rose, TX. All images and content are copyrighted, and the property of Mrg Simon and The Reluctant Enthusiast LLC, unless otherwise stated. All header/banner photos are courtesy of Unsplash. The Reluctant Enthusiast claims no right in the registered marks of third parties, including KMI Media and Marie Kondo.. Mrg Simon and The Reluctant Enthusiast LLC are not acting or speaking on behalf of Marie Kondo, KonMari Media Inc., nor are they authorized to do so.
*Designed 2 Stick and Mrg Simon do not offer legal services. Mrs. Simon does not accept legal clients or provide legal advice.