Sunday, December 07, 2008

More on "having too much stuff"

There are several ways to deal with people so they don't feel that they are being asked not to love you when you ask to avoid "more stuff." My daughter's best friend had a birthday party where all the presents went to the local Children's Medical Clinic. Everyone was good with that, the parents loved it, the kids were happy to go roller skating and they got to give presents.

For me, I've a paralegal and a secretary, etc., at work, and they understood that it would make me happy, so they were good with it (I gave them amber earrings for Christmas -- my wife's idea -- staff that result in my being happier end up with jewelry as she notices the difference in how I'm doing). My eight year old, I let her wrap up some things for me that I already had (because I've shrunk so, I'm replacing some of my work shirts -- from 17.5" to 16" trim cut -- a big difference).

For other family members, I've told them that as tough as things are this year, instead of spending money on me, they should spend more money on their own families. That works out.

So far it is going well. Yes, I have a lot of dress shirts wrapped up under the tree that I'm not going to get to wear until after Christmas (unfortunately, Lands End is really pulling back on its trim cut/etc. [they keep changing the name of it] shirts, but that means that they've been dumping them through the discounted overstocks section -- I got a lot of shirts for under a hundred dollars). But it works.

I'm also getting some gifts, a new frying pan from my wife, computer gear, etc. I'm giving some jewelry, people rarely think they have enough (matching earrings is what Rachel gave her mother and older sister, and she is getting a pair as a gift to her from the cat). But I also gave the local library several large loads of books. I went through and got rid of a lot more. I've realized that a lot of things that I was holding on to, if I really, really find myself needing them, there is always the used book section of

It has taken several waves, but I'm now probably more than a thousand or two books lighter, about five bookshelves worth. I still need to finish up reorganizing things, but it is a real improvement.

Anyway, hope that answers how I'm implementing the concept and how it is being received. So far, so good.

Great links:


Papa D said...

For the last few years, we have been culling through our stuff by donating to a homeless shelter for families with children. We also donate one of the gifts each of us would have received for Christmas, so there is something brand new in what we donate.

I have been considering seriously asking our extended families to pick a common charity and donate to it instead of exchanging "stuff" for Christmas. There are enough siblings and cousins that we could make a sizable contribution all together. We'll see how the reaction goes.

adamf said...

As a lover of stuff myself (well, mostly books and movies) I occasionally find the need to go through everything now and again. It's kind of cathartic actually.

sojourner said...

we draw names for gifts in my family - i told my son (who drew my name) to donate enough money to the homeless shelter to pay for 1 week of shelter and food - he told me it took away the joy of giving for him because he wanted to give me a gift and i shouldn't dictate the process of giving on his behalf - so i told my daughter-in-law (whose name I drew) that i was going to donate money to the homeless shelter on her behalf in stead of buying her a gift - that wasn't received so well either - so i guess i will be giving to the homeless shelter myself in addition to the other gifts i give until or unless the rest of my family buys into the idea. The up side is that we don't spend alot on gifts within the family because we draw names for gifts under $30. I'm glad you're able to involve others in your unselfish giving :0)

Stephen said...

Well, I gave gifts, some people feel like you are stealing their gift when you give to your own charity.

And, some people feel a real need to give you something.

But many people can be convinced to shift, at least a little, at least if you work at it every year.

Most of what I'm involving people is just not giving to me, which is different, and it isn't everyone, just the "incidental" gift givers (like small children, staff members, that sort of thing).