What to Do With Gifts That Don’t Spark Joy

The scarf you got from your office Secret Santa that’s currently stuffed in your closet. The throw pillow your aunt gave you a year ago that doesn’t match your home decor. The city-themed mug your neighbor brought home from his travels that still sits in its box. What do all these items have in common?  

They are all gifts that someone used precious time to pick out and purchase for you. They are expressions of love and kindness, but they don’t suit your taste. You don’t want to donate them just yet, but you also shouldn’t shove these gifts into a closet. Surely the people who gave them to you don’t want you to stow away the gifts without using them, only to make you feel guilty every time you see them! So what should you do? Here are my three simple rules for making the most of gifts you receive:

  • Rule 01Open them immediately.
  • Rule 02Remove the packaging.
  • Rule 03Start using them now.

Try out every gift at least one time – even those that don’t immediately spark joy. The ability to feel what truly excites you is only gained through experience. Be adventurous and welcome things that are different. The more experience you gain, the more you’ll refine and heighten your sensitivity to joy.

“The true purpose of a present is to be received.”

However, you don’t have to keep using the gift forever. If you try using the item and decide that it still doesn’t suit you, thank it for the joy it brought when you first received it – and bid it farewell. The true purpose of a present is to be received, because gifts are a means for conveying someone’s feelings for you. When viewed from this perspective, there is no need to feel guilty about parting with a gift that ultimately doesn’t spark joy.

Photos by M.K. Sadler for KonMari Media, Inc.

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