Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by Brooke McAlary of Slow Your Home.
“Bottom line is, if you do not use it or need it, it’s clutter, and it needs to go.” —Charisse Ward
When was the last time you were given something for free?
It may have been a gift with purchase, a deal sweetener, or an added bonus at no extra charge. You may not even be aware of it, but I can almost guarantee you’ve received at least one free item in the past 12 months. I know I have.
And aside from adding to our collection of Things We Didn’t Want or Need, what is the purpose of these freebies? They are designed to get us to buy.
More specifically, these giveaways are designed to rope us in to buying something we may or may not need, just so we can score a free doodad that we definitely do not need. They are designed to make us feel as though we’ve come out winning.
How often do you gratefully accept these freebies, only to toss them out months later because, strangely enough, it wasn’t what you were buying in the first place and, shockingly, you have no use for it?
Recently I decluttered my bathroom cabinet. In there sat my well-used travel toiletries bag. Next to it were two brand new toiletry bags I’d been given as promotional offers. For free. Of course.
Needless to say, they were added to a box bound for the charity shop, but they left behind a sinking feeling. Donating these items and ridding myself of their burden will not help anything if I keep accepting the freebies.
Maybe you’ve seen these free offers before. Maybe you even have a few of them floating around your home. Maybe even more than a few:
- Beer glasses
- Key rings
- Drink bottles
- Tote bags
You’ve probably been handed these free items at the checkout, or when redeeming a coupon. You may even use these items regularly.
So, what’s the harm?
The truth is, these items are not free.
There are, of course, the resources used in their production, money spent on the marketing campaigns and wages to pay those who sell the actual products you’re buying.
But there is also a major cost to you.
Sure, you paid no (extra) money for it and you may even make use of it. But did you need it in the first place? Was it necessary? Or is it simply contributing to the clutter that stresses you out?
At some point you will have to pick it up and decide where to store it or how to rid yourself of it. And to be honest, I think your time is more important than that. Your well-being is more important than that.
The status quo will not change and marketing campaigns will continue to include these freebies, unless we start sending the message that, “No, we don’t want this.”
So next time you’re offered something for free, try saying no. See how it feels.
That’s what I did recently when I was buying some make up, and the result was… interesting.
Shop Assistant: “And you get a really nice tote bag for free.”
Me: “Oh, no thanks. I don’t need another bag.”
Shop Assistant: “But…it’s free.”
Me: “Oh, I know. But I don’t need it. Thanks though.”
Shop Assistant: “But… it doesn’t cost you anything. I can give it to you right now. You could give it to someone for a gift. It’s actually really nice. And it’s free.”
Me: “Uh, no, thanks.”
Me: “Can I have my make-up now?”
Now, as I’m two years into my simple living journey, I have cleared out, decluttered, de-owned, sorted, donated, and thrown away thousands of items. And looking back, I find myself wishing I’d said no a heck of a lot more.
What are your thoughts on accepting freebies?