Day Ten: 40 Bags in 40 Days Decluttering Challenge – Is it really a good deal?

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Hello,

We are nearing the end of the second week of the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge.  Are you still feeling motivated?  What are you most excited about accomplishing?

It is psychologically difficult to decide whether to give away an item that was a good deal, but never used. It is hard to resist a deal.  But what if all those deals become clutter in your home rather than a useful expenditure?  Yes, you may have saved money, but the value isn’t in the price.  It is in the item’s usefulness to you and your family.

Day Ten:  40 Bags in 40 Days Decluttering Challenge - Is it really a good deal?Peter Walsh, a nationally acclaimed professional organizer, once said, “If the price is the best thing about something, you should not buy it. Ever.”  After so much hard work sorting through items in your home, doesn’t it make you think differently about shopping?  We all fall prey to the cheap price tag once in a while.  But if you find this happening on everything from the grocery store, to clothing stores, to tag sales, you may want to reevaluate whether the accumulation of these deals is working for your household and your wallet.  You can buy ten useless things at a cheaper price or one useful thing for the same price.  That one useful item is worth a lot more than its price tag, while those ten useless items were just a waste of money.

My colleagues and I are offered “free” items constantly.  It helps people feel better about letting go because they have a connection to the person they are going to. Some of it is very useful for our families and everyone benefits.  However, it takes a lot of will power to turn away perfectly good items that we do not need in our lives.  More often than not, those items we do take are in the next donate pile again because we never really needed them at all.  I have learned over fifteen years in the business these “freebies” are better heading to a charity to find the right owner who will benefit most from them.

When you have children or grandchildren the “free” offers increase exponentially.  “Won’t your kids love this book?” “Want some toys?”  We have some amazing hand-me down toys and clothes that we use, love, and pass on as well.   I am a firm believer in cycling items to those who need it.  But, again, if you take everything that is “free” you will accumulate much more than you can use or maintain.  Having strong boundaries is important.  It is a fine line to not take on other people’s junk and make it your own junk to deal with.

As you are cleaning out your spaces have you noticed a pattern?  Do you buy too many items that are “good deals”  but you have never used or worn?  Are you taking on other people’s “free” stuff so they can pass on their “treasures” without guilt?   Now are you feel guilty throwing it out?

If you find that many of the items you have finally decided to donate were bought or taken because of a good deal, it might be time to reevaluate the deal you are actually getting.  You will spend more time, money and effort trying to find the right home for impulse purchases or freebies.  The right home will alleviate your guilt of not using them.  But in the end you are better off if you never spent money or time on the deal at all.

Choose everything for its usefulness and the joy that it will bring to your home, not for the dollar value.

Happy Organizing,

Kristin

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About the Author:

Kristin founded Livable Solutions professional organizing in 2004. She made a hobby into a career and loves to help others organize their time, homes and offices.  She also teaches other basic organizing principles through lectures and seminars.
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