When you’re trying to rid yourself of clutter, it’s helpful to become a bit of a human filter. The goal is to only have things that truly spark something inside you enter your life. Deciding to do this can mean a lot of awkward and sometimes hurtful conversations. There are lots of people who get tremendous joy from giving gifts to their loved ones and the last thing we want to do is cause them pain.
I realize there are, of course, exceptions to saying no in certain scenarios. But for other situations, I’m learning that as I practice with the smaller nos, I gain experience to start saying the trickier nos. I tried the following five steps for learning to saying no, starting with step number one and moving on to the next when I felt ready.
- Start by saying no to free things. One thing that I have heard is that if you wouldn’t pay good money for the item and if it isn’t something you’ve been wanting for a while, say no. (Ex: promo items, hand-me-downs, etc.)
- Say no to store credit cards, newsletters and membership. The goal is to be very selective about what you buy, not to guilt you or encourage you to spend more on things. Unless it is your favorite store and you get your favorite things there, say no.
- Say no to sales. I find that the easiest way to avoid falling into the sales trap is to make two secret Pinterest boards. One is called “Pending Review” the other “My Wish List.” If an item stays in the “Pending Review” board for longer than 2-3 months, it gets to move into “My Wish List” board. If the items that are on sale are not on your wish list, say no.
- Say no to spending time with people you don’t like. Your time is so precious. You don’t need to spend time with people that make you feel any sort of negative way about yourself or those you love. Keep an open mind on this one, though. People change.
- Be honest to those you love and say no. Now it starts to get a little harder. Sometimes we need to say no to people we care about. It’s really important to be honest in these situations. If you really don’t want something, be honest and be gracious. If you really don’t want to do something, be honest and be kind. I’m sure they would like you to be honest with them, but in order to avoid hurting those you care about, it is helpful to over communicate what you are trying to achieve. Maybe even months before an actual event happens, like a birthday for example, tell them why you’d rather go somewhere and spend time with them instead of receiving a gift. If they really want to give you a gift, share the “My Wish List” board you have on Pinterest. Make sure to let them know that what really matters is their friendship and their love.
These are just some of the interesting situations I have found myself in and how I’ve tried to find solutions for them. It’s important to note that there are no hard rules. The “recipe” will always need to be tweaked for each person. If you have any tips or stories about learning to say no, I’d love to hear them!