A Pox on Gift Shops

Seasonal candles and candle holders in a gift shop window
Seasonal candles and candle holders in a gift shop window

I’ve referred to gift shops as places that sell things you wouldn’t buy for yourself. Recently I had to clean out a house that included gifts like these that had become a burden. In fact, an entire cabinet was filled with candles received as gifts.

As I was filling (and hauling) boxes, I was not thinking nice things about the nice people in the nice gift shops selling those nice gifts. Quite the contrary, I thought about the people who wanted to do something nice by giving a friend or loved-one something they’d enjoy looking at, not realizing the recipient would eventually need to do something with it. It was also a wake-up call to me that I want to deal with my own clutter now rather than subjecting someone else to it later. Not only does it take up space, but clutter is unhealthy.

As I hauled several loads of boxes to the storage unit I was reminded of Americans’ love of storage – in large part because so many of us are good at accumulating stuff and not so good at winnowing it down to what we really need. More armies of sales people await, happy to rent storage space, no questions asked.

Long row of storage units with blue rolling doors
Rows of storage units holding things people aren’t ready to throw away

The rows of storage units begin to look like the expansive warehouse (Hangar 51) that Indiana Jones stumbled upon. I’ve already got a New Year’s resolution in mind relative to my own stuff, and I hope it doesn’t take until next year for me to get started on it. 🙂

How do you avoid being taken over by clutter?


4 thoughts on “A Pox on Gift Shops”

  1. My new apartment is down to the minimum. Remember in February when I couldn’t find a place to live and had to hop from couch to couch for about 4 months? Well, I put everything in storage and I didn’t want to pay for a large storage place because I thought that I would find a place really fast. I was wrong. But when I found my new place and unpacked, I took my time and started to throw things away or give it away. Just to make sure that I didn’t change my mind, I would put the stuff to give away in my trunk once a plastic bag filled up. Or I would immediately take the garbage to the dumpster in our complex. It is quite liberating.
    Now I am about to do the same thing with my holiday decorations. Whatever still works and I want to keep stays, the rest goes bye bye immediately.
    I also found out that many animal shelters want much of what we give away. That makes me feel better because I know that my stuff will continue to have a purpose.

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