I love freebies. Seriously. At one point, when I was into extreme couponing, I spent probably 10-15 hours a week signing up for freebies and entering giveaways. I’ve gotten a lot of awesome things through signing up for free stuff, but also got some junk and got really frustrated when I had a gazillion emails in my inbox.
Now, I sometimes struggle with my desire for a minimalist home and my love of acquiring free things. Now, I work really hard to maintain a balance so my life is filled with things I love, not just junk. The time I spent living in a hoarder’s house made me realize the danger of just keeping things – it all will eventually get to the point where it can’t be managed and then you have a disgusting disaster on your hands that takes hours upon hours to bring back to a livable condition. Seriously, it made me a little bit crazy about being anti-clutter once I moved out of there. My feelings about keeping clutter out are right up there with my desire to get out of debt.
How to keep the freebies, and not the clutter
Use an email just for your freebies. This is the biggest thing that will keep the rest of your real emails from your freebie junk mail you’re going to be swamped with. Occasionally I use a service like Unroll.me (which is free- yay!) to unsubscribe from thing in bulk. When you unsubscribe, you’ll come to a screen like this one.
The 704 emails are the ones I have unsubscribed from since I have been using Unroll.Me for that email account. I don’t use their “Rolled Up” Feature, I tried it once and found that I didn’t have the dedication to look at the email it sent me. If the email is important to me, I don’t want it hidden away, but you may love it. It’s a handy feature.
The other thing is, if you get a sample and it’s not what you need, have a plan in place for getting rid of it. Here are the options I use for getting rid of things I don’t want:
- Offer to local friends on Facebook
- Sell on local Facebook selling groups, or on Facebook Marketplace
- Donate to local charity
- Sell on Swap.com (for various children’s things)
When to keep things and when to toss them
As someone who keeps a stockpile at all times, I know how easy it is to justify keeping things “for when you need them” or “just in case.” It’s easy to do, but if you don’t learn when to get rid of thing you may find yourself overwhelmed with clutter and things that you can’t keep. At that point, your freebies aren’t free – they are costing you precious minutes.
Count the cost
How many times have you rearranged an item? How many times have you thought
- Oh, I should use one of those exfoliating face masks!
- I have a lot of lotion, but one day I’ll use it! It’s great when the weather is cold and my skin gets dry!
- If only I had a place to put my collection of (whatever you thing is!), but I already have so many things everywhere, there’s no way I have room for decorative things!
Yeah. I, of course, know nothing about clutter and my house is the epitome of cleanliness all the time. NOT! My house is currently sporting the lived-in look, but I’ve gotten a lot more vigilant about not keeping things that aren’t useful to me, even if they are useful in theory. For example, when I went through my challenge to simplify 10 things a day for 30 days, I found a lot of things that could be useful, but aren’t useful in the stage of life I’m in, and they most likely won’t be for the next few years. So I got rid of them or packed them up.
Stick to your priorities
The other thing I ask myself is how much mental space does this take up, and is it good space? Basically, I want to know if it’s driving me crazy or pushing me to be better. I’ll give you an example. In my bathroom when I cleaned it out the other day, there were some things that kept getting left out on the counter. One of them was a bottle of lotion I don’t particularly like, but felt obligated to use, so I would (sometimes) put it on after I showered. When I looked at it, it didn’t make me feel happy, inspire me to be a better person, or really add anything positive to my day. So, bye-bye went the not-so-great lotion!
The other thing that has taken to living in my counter is a jar of coconut oil. Both Ian and I hate dentists (Ian’s parents left him alone with a horrible dentist as a child, I just hate them in general) and so we avoid going like the plague. So, instead of going to the dentist to heal our cavities (since dentists don’t actually heal cavities, they just drill them out) we have started oil pulling. Leaving it on the counter reminds both of us to do it consistently, so I left it there. It makes me better. Now, if I wasn’t using it, and it just made me feel guilty about because it was one more thing I should be doing and wasn’t making time for, then it would have left the bathroom counter.
So – long story short – don’t keep things because you ‘should’ use them. Make your list of priorities and run everything through that filter. For me, that looks like this with the items from my bathroom, along with a few other things I’ve gotten rid of recently:
- Having soft feet because I felt obligated to use up a bottle of lotion? Not important.
- Not having cavities and sensitive teeth? Very important!
- Using cheap, disposable razors because I found them cleaning out a closet, even though they cut me every time I use them? Not important.
- Using the excessive stockpile of beans I’ve been getting, then sitting on top of the kitchen cabinets and forgetting about? Important. They may not be expensive, but using them can save me tons of money on meals!