What’s the cost of “free” stuff?
You might be mentally responding right now, “Uh, Stephen, it doesn’t cost anything, it’s free.”
OK, free stuff doesn’t cost money. However, if you want to declutter your life to design your lifestyle to work on your terms, the cost is enormous in my humble opinion.
I attend conferences pretty regularly for work. I’m constantly being offered free schwag. You know, pens, flash drives, T-shirts, bags, paper pads, bouncing balls, mouse pads, and other useless crap.
Supposedly it’s a big deal to get this free stuff. People eagerly accept this bag of clutter at the conference registration desk, rifling through it like a 5-year old on their birthday.
I politely decline.
Apparently this is a faux pas. I’ve been stunned by the reactions from conference staff ranging from bewilderment to annoyance, even being told to “just take it, it’s free.”
And most surprising of all, they actually try to start selling me on the free stuff, telling me how useful each item could be. It’s kind of sad. I stay firm and say “Yes, I’m a weirdo, but no thank you.”
Where on earth do all those free t-shirts, bottle openers, frisbees, magnets, glasses and toys people collect end up? Cluttering your home, office or car.
Rejecting free stuff is the first step to decluttering your living or work space.
So who doesn’t want free stuff? Me. I don’t want clutter. I don’t want stuff I won’t use or “may” use one day. I don’t want stuff to choose me. I want to choose what I need, even if I have to pay for it.
Over the last few years I have accepted exactly 3 pieces of free schwag. A reusable shopping bag with nothing in it (I actually had them remove all the other free stuff). I use it all the time. I also added two T-shirts from World Domination Summit to my wardrobe because I love spreading their mission.
I was unaware of the rule of “If it’s free, you take it.” Somehow only when something is assigned a price do we have the choice to take it or not.
Just because something is free, doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Next time someone else is pushing something free on you, let them know that you want to leave it for someone else who needs it more than you do.
You want to know the true cost of free stuff?
It weighs you down. It drains you. It’s cluttering your ability to see your vision for your ideal lifestyle.
It takes up space in your life for items that might be more meaningful to your purpose.
It sucks up your time and energy by forcing you to deal with it. You have to move it out of the way every time you are looking for want you really want.
It’s not an expression of your purpose or your values. It’s someone else’s ideals. Whether you realize it out not, you are kinda being bought to advertise someone else’s message with every corporate logo you have splashed across your chest.
You don’t end up using most of the free stuff, so you deny it from being used by other people who might see its true value. You’re denying its purpose, but at the same time your mountain of free stuff is helping to prevent you from living yours.
Stuff only has value if it provides you with meaning and purpose, regardless of the dollar amount.
If you don’t have to pay for it, all the better. But if it doesn’t meet those two criteria, don’t accept it into your life. If you aren’t going to use it, leave it. Even if its “free”.
Once you stop accepting free stuff, start purging the free stuff you’ve already accumulated.
Declutter your life by proudly rejecting free stuff!