Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Gifting Guilt

Going through things I am always faced with the decision of what to do with what I no longer want in my possession.  I find it easier to say, "yup done with this, not going to need it" than deciding what should happen next. Once some version of that thought has been tied to an object it is classified as clutter, something taking up space and energy that is unnecessary.  The options seem to be:

1. Gifting to others via family, word of moth social media, free cycle, etc.

2.Selling on eBay, craigslist, offered, etc.

2. Donating to charities, churches, shelters, fundraisers, etc

3. Landfilling

4. Hoarding

Our excess tends to accumulate guilt.  Hopefully the object was something that you loved and was super useful when you bought it. Maybe it was not, and the guilt was there from the start, you knew it should not enter your home, or maybe the guilt was there, because although you loved it you knew that you could not afford it!  I have this guilt from the start with some things.  I also have guilt with things that I needed, loved and used, and was perhaps even a gift. Generally this guilt only sets in after the item is in disuse.  I will see it and feel guilty i can no longer use it, it is worn out or outgrown.  Then I feel guilty that it is still taking up my family space and energy and often the time spent cleaning and organizing all of this stuff.

My first thought, especially with nicer items is to gift them.  I like knowing the the item will be used by someone, that i might save them money, or make them happy.  There is some science that gifting is quite beneficial to the gifter as well.  Yet  perhaps, it brings more guilt at times too.  I had recently donated the nail polish my daughters no longer use.  They did a small research paper on the effects of nail polish and decided it was not for them.  They had an extensive collection, at first I thought that we might use it for crafts, but no we have not.  So I posted it on FB, and within a few minutes a friend responded enthusiastically, and i got a wonderful visit!  But I felt guilty, yet didn't want to be the friend spouting health info. obviously she knew that i was getting rid of all of our expensive polish because we didn't want to use it...she is smart and can make her own decisions....and already was buying her own polish, so still better to keep it out of landfill, and from more being produced.  It brought back a memory of getting some children craft things from a free cycler.  I was thrilled, she was cleaning out and just kept handing me more.  Her 15 y.o. daughter came out and started being upset with her mom, upset that her mom was foisting off all of her clutter on to me LOL!  She said I would end up in the same position as her mother. At the time I didn't see it at all.  Now I do, that 15 y.o. had more wisdom than either of us!  A week later I brought some of the supplies to a preschool.  But just 2 days ago i donated 15 pounds of those crayons, 10 years later!!!!!

Selling is a lovely thought.   A little money back to ease the pain of having wasted your precious hard earned dollar.  You will quickly find that stuff generally does not sell quickly at all.  There are a few exceptions, price things like bicycles or cars at half of used value and they will be gone super quick.  But the majority of what you are selling, will just find you spend a lot of time posting and storing.  Add to that the frustration of dealing with meeting up with strangers, and long back and forth, they will want it for even less than posted, and maybe they won't even show up...

Donating is most people's solid fall back option.  Beware, that just because you donate does not mean it will not end up in a landfill!  Go into a thriftshop, there are far more clothes than shoppers.  You are almost as likely to see workers removing clothes/goods that have been too long as putting out new.  More and more you will find that donation centers are handing goods back to you at the door, stuff they know will not sell, and they don't want to take on the liability of throwing it away. I know that the clothes are sold as rag bundles, but often these ultimately end up its the trash.

That brings us to Landfilling, yup tossing it in the bin!  For some items this is the only choice, unless it is made of recyclable materials. Then there is guilt if it has to be thrown away because honestly, if you donate that blender that would cost more to fix than replace, you should feel guilty that the charity will just have to pay to throw it away for you.  For some people this is the only way out.  Yes the item could be washed, but there is so much it won't happen, or they don't have the resources to get themselves to donation centers (some will collect if you are close enough!) And often the reason you stopped using it was because it could no longer be used.

Brings me back to gifting to someone you know will use it, the benefit is triple, you get a boost as a gifter, they get a free item, and they are not stoking the consumer market buying a new one!  A lot of what you no longer want no one else wants/needs either! Be a conscious consumer, it will simplify your life by not ever having to make all these decisions.  When you buy that tchotchke at the dollar store, will you feel guilty when it comes time to pass it on, even thought it only cost you $1? When you give that gift, be it something you are passing on or a new holiday gift, will you feel guilty every time you see it filling someone else's space?