For many, letting go of gifts is one of the biggest challenges on the path toward minimalism. There is often a sense of obligation to keep gifts, which leads people to assume they will feel guilty if they part with them, or that the gifter will feel hurt.
It certainly helps to set the right expectation with people about whether or not you wish to receive gifts in the future, but what do you do with the ones you have already gotten?
It’s quite simple–if you don’t want, like, or need them, feel free to get rid of them. If you aren’t convinced that it can be that easy, consider the following things:
Do you remember every gift you’ve ever given?
When you give a gift, is the intention to give someone a new possession or to show them love?
Would you be hurt if someone donated, passed along to a friend, or sold a gift you gave them because it didn’t make them happy?
If someone you gave a gift to told you that they appreciated the thought and time that went into the gift but it no longer serves them, would you try to guilt them into keeping it?
When we reverse the roles and consider ourselves as the gifter, rather than the receiver, we can see that many of our fears about getting rid of gifts are rooted in not wanting to appear ungrateful. We know that the purpose of a gift is to show love when giving or receiving it. However, being afraid to get rid of a gift puts all the emotions and intentions into the physical item.
To be able to part with gifts requires us to change the way we think, rather than assuming the way the other person will think. Make this your mantra until you are able to let go: The gift itself holds less importance than the exchange.
What other struggles do you have with downsizing? Please share in the comments so we can help each other!