Thursday, May 6, 2010

The best things in life aren't free

Of course, sometimes they are. Like love and taking walks and sleeping in on Sundays. But most free things aren't the best. They are usually that dreaded c-word, clutter. Even though something about our frugal natures thinks that if something is free we should take it home with us and love it, please don't. Most of the time it's not exactly right and you end up by paying for it over an over again with your valuable time and space, having to maintain and clean it, and then having to dispose of it eventually. Don't accept things that are "free." It's as simple as saying, "No, thanks."

Here's a partial list to help you recognize free clutter.

  • Anything sitting on the side of the road.
  • Conference freebies. These are just promotional items that you can live without.
  • Stuff that people give away at fairs, from bookmarks to pamphlets to magazines to shopping bags.
  • Things that your friends give you because they would rather give their clutter to someone they know than donate it, for some reason. 
  • Free samples of cosmetics, cleaning products and food. (Slightly better because they are consumable, but still 9 times out of 10 clutter.)
  • Free "gifts with purchase" at stores. Often these are inferior products that are not what you came into the store to buy in the first place.
  • "Free" trial issues of magazines or subscription services that send you a bill when the trial period runs out.
  • Promotional items like posters, pens and postcards you might pick up at a movie preview or book signing. Again, it's the company trying to get you to advertise their product, for free.
What other free junk examples can you think of?

Creative Commons free photo posted to Flickr by andrew steinmetz
Creative Commons free junk photo posted to Flickr by cogdogblog

Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email 

1 comment:

  1. Most things you have in storage (either rented storage or in a friend or family's basement or spare room) and never see or use. Of course, heirloom furniture you don't have room for and certain other large, sentimental items are one thing, but if you don't need that box of t-shirts, box of old papers, etc. in your home now, will you ever?