Decluttering the Guilt around Gifts

I received an interesting comment on one of my Instagram posts from a follower last week stating that her biggest roadblock in minimizing her possessions was gifts. It is a difficult dilemma, and one I struggle with myself, in particular items from my partner since we live together and it’d be hard for him to not see what I’m discarding.

It is easy to say, “it’s the thought that counts” and “It’s the giving of the gift that matters,” when it comes to decluttering gifts, but in practice…not so much.

The first step to addressing the issue is to dig into the reason you’re having trouble decluttering the item. I find that with gifts it usually falls into one of the following categories:

  1. Concern that the gift-giver will notice its disappearance. If the giver is only an occasional visitor, I can assure you that they won’t notice. However, to set your mind at ease I suggest doing a trial run. Put the item away in storage and if its absence isn’t noticed in X (I’ll let you set this number) amount of visits, you can discard confidently.
  2. Attachment due to the giver’s passing.  This is a much more sensitive issue. I would recommend gathering all the gifts, letters, photos, and other sentimental items from that person (almost like a mini-KonMari category). Once you’ve done this, it’ll be easier to pick out the items that mean the most to you and best represent that person and your relationship with them.
  3. Items from exes. In almost all cases, discard. KonMari likes to say that holding on to old relationships doesn’t leave room for new ones. And really, do you want to have items around that remind you of that person?

And as a final note:

Regifting.  It might be tempting to recycle gifts no longer wanted by regifting them. I personally think that the trouble involved – making sure it’s given to someone who doesn’t know that it was a gift to you, having to explain a lack of gift receipt, etc., makes it not worth it. I would simply discard or donate like any other item.

I hope this helps with what is a very difficult category of items to declutter. Definitely add any of your tips below!

Hugs from Hobbiton,



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