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Friday, April 16, 2010

365 Days of Stuff (that I don't need)

Remember a few weeks ago (or was it longer) when I posted about 'the great purge' that was occurring in my house?  Well, I got through one room - my bedroom, and I quit there.  The rest of the rooms just seemed SO overwhelming!  This prompted me to go about things in a different way, I started to take at least one thing EVERY DAY that we don't need, and put it into a box in my closet.  When the box is full - it goes to the thrift store.  So far, I am amazed at what I have been able to come up with: 2 boxes of perfectly intact 'burner trays' for back when we had a stove with coil burners (!)  I guess we don't need those anymore!  What else?  There are a few more of my clothes in there, some candles, some dishes, etc.  I am sharing this with you simply because I know that there are some of you there who would love to 'purge' but just get overwhelmed by the thought and never start.  If you are one of those people, then this is a strategy for you!  Also, don't be afraid to limit yourself to just one item per day... some days I go through a drawer for instance and pull out two or three things for 'the box'.  The way I see it, one drawer is a lot less intimidating (and way less time consuming) than tackling an entire room!

One more idea: as you are going through your closets, cupboards and drawers, don't be afraid to set aside some 're-gifts' as well.  I have already freely admitted that I am a re-gifter (I am trying to bring it into the mainstream).  Contrary to popular opinion, I believe that re-gifting actually can be a way to show your affections for another, especially if it is done with a great deal of thought.  Sometimes someone gives me something that I really like, but that I don't need, and I think, 'I know someone who will appreciate this even more than me'.  What I am saying is, don't just set aside random 'stuff', but have a person in mind who you think might really enjoy that item (that way, it also ensures that it will eventually leave your house!)  if you are interested in re-gifting but worried about the etiquette, click here for a list of suggested 'rules' for regifting.  I will admit that I don't always follow these rules... I have been known to re-gift stuff like appliances (espresso machine, bread maker, etc.).  The key to my re-gift was to make it a lot more personal: I added specialty flours with the bread maker, bread machine yeast, and some hand-written recipe cards and with the espresson machine: some specialty coffee, etc.  I was also upfront about the fact that it was a re-gift and that it had been used... (don't worry, I cleaned them both up just like shiny new!)  Think what you want about re-gifting, but I am sold on its virtues!  Agree or disagree on this issue, I would love to hear from you, so I am once again going to poll the audience (this time I refuse to abide by the results however, I am a die-hard re-gifter!)

So, this week's poll choices are:
  • You should NEVER re-gift.  It is thoughtless, cheap, and rude.
  • Re-gifting is acceptable on certain occasions, as long as it is done with thought and some degree of re-gifting etiquette is employed.
  • Re-gifting is the best.  Anything is fair game!
(For the record, I would vote for number 2...)

There's no such thing as bad regifts, just bad regifters. - Quote from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Happy re-gifting (or not if that's the way you roll)

Marebare :)


  1. OK, here are my random thoughts on re-gifting. I try (I don't always succeed, but I try) to give gifts when I feel moved to do so, and not because the calendar, or the Hallmark corporation tells me that it's time to give a gift! I find that when people are given a gift "just because" they tend to value it much more than if it's just part of the obligatory buying thing.

    I have also found that if you use the right approach, then re-gifting really comes across as giving of yourself rather than just buying something so you can cross that person off of your list. In other words, if you give with the message that "this item is something I wanted you to have" rather than the message "I want to get rid of this thing" people really appreciate it.

    Like for example, I was a HUGE John Denver fan, and I bought and thoroughly enjoyed his autobiography. But after several years I realized that all it was doing was occupying space on the bookshelf. I thought about taking it to a thrift store, but then I thought of a dear friend who was also a hopeless fan, and how we had bonded over that one day. So instead, I wrapped it up and sent it to her with a card... no occasion, just because I thought she would enjoy it.

    Likewise, my stepmom gave me a pair of earrings recently that had been given to her. She said that they "weren't her style" but how she instantly thought of me when she saw them and how nice they would look with my hair, so she wanted me to have them. I walked away feeling very "given to" and not "unloaded upon".

    Anyhow, that's my take.

  2. I couldn't agree with you more about the giving all year round! When I was negotiating with my family after this past Christmas how we were going to 'do it better', I suggested this approach, however nobody really seemed to buy into it. I am getting better and better at giving 'just because', my only problem is that I still feel some obligation to certain 'Hallmark' occasions: specifically Birthdays and Mothers/Fathers day.

    My strategy this year has been to not only give when the mood strikes me, but also to keep other people in mind while I am out 'rummaging' in those thrift stores. I have started a pile in my closet for those 'occasions' (book for my dad, purse for my brother's girlfriend) - hope they don't read this!

    Anyway, thanks for the great advice and example - you always have really great insight!

    Maren xoxoxo