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When “Free” Is No Longer a Good Deal


Do I use it?
Do I need it?
Do I treasure it?

These three questions can be very helpful when trying to get rid of junk and clutter. If your answer to any of these is “yes,” your next question is, “How many do I need?”

Often the “extras” we collect that end up crowding our closets and cupboards are things we got for free. Sometimes these items come to us with a purchase or gift, without our effort or even consent. Other times “freebies” are offered to us and are simply impossible to resist. Free just feels like such a good deal!

“FREEBIES” include things that:

Accompany a Purchase:
Plastic food containers from margarine, yogurt, whipped topping, etc., glass jars and bottles, tins, grocery sacks, “nice” shopping bags with handles, boxes, coat hangers, plastic gardening plant containers

Come with a Gift:
Vases and floral containers that come with flowers, gift baskets filled with goodies. After the flowers or goodies are gone, we are left with extra vases and baskets.

Are Included with a Hotel Room:
Tiny soaps, shampoo, conditioner and lotion bottles, pens and tablets, sewing kits

Are Sent or Given to us to Promote a Business or a Cause:
Imprinted mugs and water bottles, t-shirts, hats, tote bags, stationery, greeting cards, address stickers, calendars

Are any of the above items creating clutter in your home? Consider the following tips to keep your freebie clutter under control:

Limit the quantity you keep on hand. A few extra coat hangers are handy. An extra hundred are taking up valuable space.

Decline to take items you will not use. You don’t have to take the toiletries from the hotel. Only take what you know you will use or give away.

Donate extras that others could use. There are many organizations and individuals who can use what you don’t need. If you don’t know where to donate, ask your friends or call some charities. Or give the vases back to your favorite florist and wire coat hangers back to your dry cleaners.

Recycle. When you are in doubt whether the item is recyclable, call your local recycle hotline. A little effort keeps valuable resources from ending up in our landfills.

Even if “free” feels good, “free” is not always a good deal. Those extra freebies can clutter our lives, homes, and offices. Next time you are offered something for free, think about whether or not you will use it and if so, how many you really need.

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