Q: Hello! I'm facing a dilemma: I struggle with de-cluttering gifts I've been given by loved ones. I want to be gracious and appreciate the gifts, but I also want to simplify our home, keeping only things that are useful, we love, and that fit. I'm especially concerned about gifts we've been given by my future in-laws. I do not want to seem ungrateful and do appreciate their thoughtfulness, but I also have anxiety about the amount of stuff we have and am focused on making an effort to de-clutter. I should note that my fiancé and I live in a 425-square-foot one-bedroom apartment, so space is at an EXTREME premium. I need advice!! -Sent by Erin
Editor: Of all the many things I appreciate about my parents, one thing that always impressed me was how they handled gift-giving during the dozen years I lived in studio apartments. They thoughtfully gave me mostly small gifts and always reminded me that I should feel comfortable returning ANYTHING they gave me, because they knew that there wasn't room in a teeny apartment for anything that wasn't useful or beloved. I'm not telling you this to brag, but rather sharing just in case anyone happens to find themselves in my parents'—or Erin's in-laws-to-be's— position. If someone is living with extremely limited space, there's a very good chance they don't have space for [insert gift here]. Consider asking what they could use, perhaps including gift cards to places that specialize in small-space living, and don't take it personally if they don't prominently display ceramic turtle/coat-of-arms/wagon wheel coffee table you lovingly bestowed upon them.
Anyway, enough rambling about the future: what should Erin do now? How are you handling gifts as you embark upon your own January Cure?
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