Haaaavvvveeee you met “Someone Else’s Clutter”?
There are two main strains of this kind of clutter. Strain 1: Clutter that you can’t admit you have feelings for (sometimes those feelings are guilt), so you try to pass it off to someone else as a half-step towards letting it go. Kinda like setting up a blind date between your friend and your work crush.
This avoidance often sounds like:
“I’m setting aside that bag of clothes for my sister. It’s probably not really her style but I’ll let her decide what she wants to keep.”
“I’m saving that for next Christmas. It’s the perfect White Elephant gift.”
“Monica, do you want this? It’s a perfectly good _____, I just don’t use it.”
I hear all three of these lines ALL the time, and when I do, I work with my clients to evaluate whether they are ready to thoughtfully re-home the item or if they are turning their clutter into someone else’s problem.
On some occasions, I do accept other people’s clutter if I find it to be a treasure. This UFO plant was given to me by a client a while back. The little guy was doing pretty well for a year and a half, but it suddenly took a turn for the worse in the past two weeks. Though I’m sad about this #plantmomfail, it is a reminder that anything we bring into our homes or into other people’s homes requires energy to maintain. So if you know you are #notamessybitch, please make a commitment to not turn your clutter into work for someone else. As you break your own clutter cycle, be careful not to contribute to the vicious cycle in someone else’s life.
It can often be difficult for our loved ones to say no to us, so if you offer something, they will likely accept it out of love for you, but not really know how to deal with the item. Here are my tips for respecting other people’s boundaries:
Unless a friend or family member has expressed an interest in a specific item of yours, please do not start a giveaway pile.
When selecting items to put in the giveaway pile, ask yourself why you don’t want the item anymore? If the item doesn’t work well or is broken, will it actually add value to someone else’s home?
If you do create a giveaway pile, ASK your loved ones for consent before you show up at their home with a big bag. On that note, avoid bringing over a big bag of stuff. Try to the number of items for them to select from to five or less to avoid overwhelm.
Be mindful that anything you drop off at a donation center also requires someone else’s energy, so avoid doing a mass dump and take the time to further sort your donation items so that they reach organizations that could really benefit from them (eg. old linens to animal shelters, business attire to Dress for Success, etc.)
If any of the above tips feel challenging to follow and if you’d like to work on creating and enforcing your own boundaries around physical things, book a free Compatibility Call, to see if 1-on-1 Clutter Coaching is right for you.