How was your Christmas? Was it everything you wished it would be?
Guess what, it’s not over. In a few days or weeks you will be putting all that stuff away. Already? It was just yesterday that we put lights on the bushes and ornaments on the tree? And where are we going to put all the new stuff?
We sure could use some more room
Most people say they could use more room. Consider this:
- 3-car garages that are equal in size to the square footage of an average house in the 1950’s have become parking spaces for stuff instead of vehicles
- I believe Rubbermaid makes more money in January than any other month (for obvious reasons)
- The average American child has more than 500 toys
Does it make sense to keep it all?
We have too much stuff. In the room next to me there is a shelf of plastic bins holding plastic stuff that my daughter has collected over the years. She doesn’t play with any of it until we say we will donate it to someone with less stuff. Suddenly she finds value in these dust-collecting trinkets. Now what are we to do?
Rubbermaid can help us manage our stuff but can’t help us get more space. We can shelve it, stuff it, and hide it but the walls will continue to close in on us unless we pay the price: Get rid of stuff or buy even more storage space.
I think the answer is much more radical:
One In – One Out rule
There are many ways you can get rid of stuff responsibly. Please consider the alternatives before feeding the garbage truck.
Give of yourself
Create a coupon or home-made gift certificate offering to baby-sit or help them clean out their garage. It won’t eat into your need to earn an income and the recipient will appreciate your effort more than another sweater.
How valuable is your time? I would say it is much more valuable than you think.
Let us use the example of a $29.99 gift that costs at least $32.25 after sales tax.
If you earn $13.00 an hour then you would have to work 2.5 hours for this gift.
But wait, we forgot about income taxes that eat away at your paycheck! You actually have to work 3 hours in order to have the cash to pay for a $29.99 gift!
Random act of kindness
This follows the same agenda as paying it forward but in the honor of the giftee. Donating to their favorite charity is an easy way to give a gift but is not as personal as acting on their behalf towards something or someone they value:
- Do they volunteer at their church? Fill a single-mom’s gas tank
- Do they coach a kids baseball team? Sponsor an after-party game
- Do they take in stray cats? OK, I got nothing here – you’re on your own.
Try getting creative to really knock their socks off!