Just because something’s free of charge doesn’t mean it won’t cost you.

How many “free” toys from a fast food joint are lurking in your home or car?  How many “free” cosmetic samples, hotel soaps or teeny bottles of shampoo can be found at the bottom of your bathroom drawers?

I’m no different to most of my clients.  I hate to waste.  I hate to throw things out.  If I own something I like to make good use of it.  So I try not to take the “free” stuff when offered.

Why not?  Ok, remember I said just because it’s free doesn’t mean there’s no cost.  Well, first there’s the cost to the environment in producing and then discarding this free stuff.  Then there’s the cost to you in storing it.  It costs you in space, in time spent maintaining/cleaning/moving/looking for it, and in peace of mind.  So many of my clients feel guilt because of their clutter, then they feel guilt when it’s time to get rid of the clutter.  And in many cases the clutter came “free”.

As I said, I try not to bring free stuff home.  But sometimes it comes uninvited.  I entered a competition once.  I didn’t win the major prize but I did win a consolation prize of 3 cartons of Brush Ups.  These are little individually-wrapped mint-flavoured “textured teeth wipes” which you slip over your finger to “brush” your teeth on the run.  Now while I would never buy something like that, now that I have them I find it very hard to get rid of them.  I consolidated the 3 cartons into one to save space.  I keep some in my car, some in my handbag and some at home.  I could use one a day for over a year.  Still they linger.  It’s time for me to set an example.

Out they go.


Goodbye Brush Ups

What are you ready to let go of?

  1. Jose Climaco 16 years ago

    There’s something about the word free that gets people going. I don’t know why people are willing to wait in line for an hour just to get something free when they have almost no use for it.

  2. Marilyn Bohn 16 years ago

    Oh, I couldn’t stand that you threw them out. If you were using them, what was wrong with putting them in a plastic container and storing them on your shelf.
    How about stocking stuffers? (Or don’t you do that in Australia)?
    How about donating to a shelter–I bet those would be a big hit at shelters.
    If we lived on the same continent I would even have bought some from you.
    How about giving them in a cute bag as gifts to friends and family, or slip into a thank you or get well card?
    I do agree with you and Jose. In my quilting group women are always taking patterns because they are free and I know and they know they won’t use them. That I don’t do either.
    Nice blog, good food for thought.

  3. Avatar photo Author
    creatingorderfromchaos 16 years ago

    I totally understand, Marilyn. If I did actually use them I’d probably value them more. But even though I have some in the car and the handbag, I never use them. To my friends they are kind of a joke. I really dislike what they represent, all that packaging and unnecessary too boot.

    But you’re right, a homeless shelter would have probably used them.

  4. […] still proud of not taking the free pen though.  As I’ve mentioned before, free stuff doesn’t come at no cost.  The first step to eliminating clutter is to not buy […]

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