If you are surrounded by stuff, especially stuff you don’t need or use (sometimes referred to as “clutter”), start with figuring out how it comes into your life. Can you put a boundary on it?
We’re not just talking about putting limits on charge cards or waiting three days before making a purchase. To stop the flow of clutter into your life calls for some serious creative problem solving.
For example, do you have clutter because people give you gifts? Here’s a question: when you give a gift, do you expect the recipient to make a lifetime commitment to that gift? If not, then why do you think you have to make a lifetime commitment to every gift you receive?
Also, isn’t there some way you can change the quality or quantity of the gifts coming your way? By quality, we don’t mean cost of the gift, we mean is there a way to make the change from stuff you DON’T need or use, to stuff you DO need or use?
Maybe you can change the type of gift; such as suggesting a gift certificate to the movies, a bookstore or a favorite restaurant, or maybe a membership to a gym, museum, or zoo.
Another example: Bruce and I are in a family that has a grab bag at Christmas time. One month before the holiday, everyone is invited to send suggestions for what they would like to receive.
We both decided we really have all we need, so we asked for a contribution to one of our favorite charities, The Heifer Project. This is an organization where you can donate any amount of money and it goes towards providing a pair of animals to a poor family in a poverty-stricken country. The animals provide eggs or milk or labor to help improve the quality of life for the family. The plan is that when the animals have babies, the family presents the offspring to another needy family in a village. So even the smallest of contributions can have a profound impact on a whole village.
When it came time for everyone to open their grab bag gift on Christmas day, all 36 members of our family gathered. In their usual style, everyone opened their gifts at once, with lots of noise, ripping of paper, showing of gifts, shouting “Look what I got” and general pandemonium.
In the midst of the chaos, Bruce called out, “I got a water buffalo.”
There was dead silence. Never had this family quieted down so quickly. A ten-year old broke the stunned silence with, “I’ll bet there’s a story behind that gift.” Everyone laughed.
Since then, several other family members now ask for contributions to their favorite charities. And Bruce no longer receives gifts of items he doesn’t need or use (sometimes referred to as “clutter”)[LG]Organizers make great gifts![/LG]
With some “Creative Problem Solving” you might come up with some great ideas to help stop the flow of clutter coming into your life. Do you have an idea that has worked for you?