Are the Best Things in Life Free?
I love that song by Janet Jackson where she sings that the best things in life are free.
But… are they really?
Let’s look at some free things in our life and see if they are the best thing for us:
- Free gifts with a purchase
I saw a fast food restaurant had resurrected the free glass with every burger purchase. The glasses are lovely colours and big enough to hold your daily amount of water, but do you really need it? How many glasses do you have in your cupboard currently?
Just because it is on offer you don’t need to take it. I always say no or if they don’t listen give it to a family who have received one already (at least they will have a pair of them).
The same applies to the toys that are given out at these places. Those toys always break within a few minutes of playing with them and end up at the bottom of the cluttered toy box. Just say no, unless your child is doing an Oscar worthy tantrum.
- Buy 1 get 1 free
How many times do you get this offer thrown at you (especially at pharmacies). If you have a shopping list and you only needed 1 moisturiser, just buy 1. If you keep accepting all the buy 1 get 1 free offers, you will end up with a warehouse of clutter in your home.
Next time you are offered buy 1 get 1 free price ask yourself, “do I really need 2 of these”? I.e. Will I use both of these within the time frame. If yes, do you have space for it? If there is no space for it, don’t take it.
- Free gifts in bags
How many times do out go to networking events or shop openings and get handed a bag of free goodies. But the reality is that they are not goodies worthy of bringing into your home. Who needs another thermos style coffee mug, keyring or notebook (how many notebooks do you have in your home already??).
When you are leaving the event politely decline the goodie bag and feel lighter walking out. If you must take the bag to avoid being rude, give the bag to the security guard in your building or to your maid. They will find a use for the items or give them to family/friends.
- Free samples
I often receive free make-up and toiletries samples from stores, magazines and box subscriptions. I collect all these free samples and put them into the box you see below. All the items are divided into categories and bagged – I have bags for moisturisers, cleansers, hair products and miscellaneous. Due to the amount of free samples i have gathered especially for moisturisers and cleaners, I have stopped buying full size products until these bags of samples run out. I do check the expiry of these samples every so often and throw out the ones which have expired.
If you have a lot of samples, review the expiry date and discard those that you can no longer use. Also remove the ones that you can’t use (such as samples for curly hair when you have poker straight hair) and ones that don’t match your skin colour (I often give these unwanted samples to my maid or friends who would appreciate them). Then start using these samples rather than buying full size products.
The same applies for food samples, or any sample to be frank. Check if they have expired, do you need them, will you have ever use them. If you have replied in the negative, toss them out of your home (or donate them to someone who will use them).
- Free shipping
How often have you bought stuff online and then realised you are not over the free shipping threshold and bought more products? Hands up! You have gone online to buy one item and end up buying two more items to reach that important cut off point. So you have ended up spending over $20 to save $3.99 on shipping. What a saving!
Not only do you spend more money than originally envisaged, but you have now got unplanned purchases that don’t have a place in your home. It is clutter you didn’t want or need. Forget the free shipping and save money on not purchasing clutter.
I find that we don’t tend to value an item as much if it is free, as we don’t have a personal investment in it (i.e. we didn’t spend our hard earned cash on the item). Also these free items only offer short term satisfaction, but rarely provide anything useful for our lives.
So before you take the free offer or item consider this:
- Do you really need it?
- Will it make you happy?
- Do you have a place for it in your home?
If you answer no to any of these questions, do not take it home with you. Really. Don’t! They might be free now, but they won’t be free when you have lose your free-dom to the clutter caused by them.
If you need help to declutter your free stuff, fill in the contact form here and we will be in touch to book your first session as soon as possible.
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Second photo by Shelina Jokhiya/DeCluttr Me.