Keep the Love, Chuck Out the Stuff


This morning I was talking to the teacher at Niamh’s creche and she was mentioning that she’s been given a few pieces of jewellery that she doesn’t like, that she’ll never wear, but feels she can never throw out because they have been given as gifts.

I see this phenomenon often with clients too, who have clothes in their wardrobe that they don’t like and don’t wear, but don’t feel they can get rid of because they were given as gifts.  Also, people often feel that they can’t throw out old clothes that they no longer wear because of the memories these clothes arouse in them – it was the dress they were wearing when they met their husband etc.  They worry that if they throw out the clothes, they are also getting rid of the memories.

Nobody who gives gifts wants to think you’re keeping stuff just because it was given to you.   I tell my clients to keep the love, to keep the memories, but get rid of the stuff.  There is only so much stuff we can keep in our life, too much clutter is bad for our mental health.

Are you worried that if you get rid of a gift, that the giver will come and want to ‘look for it’ in your wardrobe?  Has this actually ever happened?

If you feel you need an excuse in case you’re asked about the item, just have a little white lie stored up ready for the occasion, like “it snagged when I was wearing it and tore”   or “it got stained and I couldn’t get it out”.

Nobody expects you to keep stained or torn clothing do they?

So, keep the love and the memory, but get rid of the stuff.


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  • Yesterday I was going through my jewellery keeping only what I really wear and I feel goes with my current style, and I ended with a few pieces for me and half a shoe box of rejections. I didn't feel like just giving them to charity yet, because there were a lot of emotions in there, some were gifts, but also there were a lot of identities that I had tried on hoping they one would be the good one. As lately I'm developing an obsession for color seasons, I started to classify the pieces and then thinking about friends who might be those seasons, and I really started to see how the pieces would work much better for them than for me. I feel it much easier to part with an item if I can give it to somebody I know will use it and enjoy it.


    Nobody has looked for a gift in my wardrobe but sometimes they have asked me if they can see me wearing it sometime. And I always conveniently forget to please them but say I wore it for some occasion or other.

  • When getting rid of jewelry gifts, it's a good idea to offer it back to the giver. Don't find out the hard way that it was a family piece that her other daughter-in-law wanted.

  • Just take a photo and donate it, that's what I do. But I hear Core re: identity search; if I think I may want it later, it goes in a plastic bin to be reviewed a year later.

    – tall & slim anon

  • Wow. I am the opposite on the memories. I will give away or donate a perfectly good piece if I have bad memories from when I got it our wore it.

    As for holding onto gifts even though I hate them? Guilty. Unless it was like and office gift exchange then I donate very quickly.

  • So true! We all do it sometimes – worry that they'll "know" we got rid of it, even when it's an item that doesn't suit us at all, that we don't love and never wear. Very good reminder!

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