No, not THAT “F” word. This is a family friendly post!
The “F” word that can be a stumbling block when we are decluttering…FREE.
Does anyone else struggle with the allure of “Free” items? I’m a total sucker for free…anything. Today, because I’m desperately trying to declutter our lives, I’m trying to fight this urge.
Free – Friend or Foe?
In the past, I would make a beeline for the free items at every conference, health fair, and sponsored event that I attended. I loved the bags, the pens, the water bottles, the notepads, and anything specifically for kids.
Some things we have received free are great – I’m thinking particularly of the reusable shopping bags. I also received a free reusable cold drink cup which I use almost everyday from the Broad Street Run. Our current television was free from my husband’s brother and it is newer than our old one, which was also free!
Pens and pencils are also useful, but there is a limit to how many ad adorned pens you can use in a house. We have a drawer full of pens from different events or stores. They are still full of ink so I don’t want to get rid of them, but I’m doubtful that we will need so many of them. I am genuinely relieved when a pen runs out of ink or breaks so I can throw it away!
My former ways:
- When my oldest was a toddler we would regularly go grab a fast food kids meal – a lot of times for the free toy!
- Every time I was at a health fair or education fair, I would grab the freebies being offered with glee.
- I would sign up for new email lists, new blogs because of giveaways and a chance to win something…for FREE!
- I would accept things from friends who are moving if I thought I “might be able to use that in some way”
My Reformed Ways:
- We rarely go to any type of fast food today. If we do and my youngest son wants to keep the free kids toy, I’ll let him. As soon as he shows disinterest, which is almost immediate, I throw it out.
- Now when I’m at an event which offers free things to get people to the table, I walk by. If something genuinely interests me I will go to their table to have a conversation, but not take what they are offering.
- Today I will only sign up for new blogs or email lists if I truly will not mind getting an email from this person or organization. I’m far from streamlined in my email inbox, but I’m learning how to unsubscribe if something does not add value to this particular season of my life.
I hope that my blog posts add value to your life, but if they don’t I completely understand if you unsubscribe. In the spirit of this post, I’ll be making my “Atypical Decluttering Guide” available without signing up for the email list. You can take a look at it here if you’re interested.
- When people move, I try not to take anything unless I have a specific place or purpose for that item. I’m learning that most large objects that contain things or have a flat surface hinder more than help.
Free…or is it?
Nothing that we take into our life and homes is free. Emily at Minimal Millennial outlines how there is no such thing as free stuff. We pay for the stuff with our time, space, and energy.
I recently heard Bea Johnson being interviewed on a podcast about her zero waste lifestyle. One thing that particularly resonated was that every time we take that plastic pen (insert any plastic giveaway here), we are making a statement to manufacturers and marketers about what we want. That was a paraphrase, but it struck a chord with me. It’s not just a pen. The smallest actions that we take have a larger ripple effect on our economy and our environment. Click To Tweet
I’m resolving to do the first R of her 5Rs – Refuse. The first step in a zero waste lifestyle is to take in less things. We can all do that.
How do you feel about the “F” word?