What Should You Do With Gifts That Don’t Spark Joy? Marie Kondo Has the Answer

published Dec 31, 2020
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It’s almost inevitable, during the holidays, that you receive a gift that doesn’t spark joy. Maybe you feel no guilt about donating or giving away the gift right away. But what do you do when you’re on the fence—when the gift is not really your taste, but you’re not ready to get rid of it just yet? Of course, tidying expert Marie Kondo has the answer.

After Christmas, the KonMari blog shared a post about what to do with gifts that don’t spark joy. Kondo’s advice has three steps:

One —  “Open them immediately.”

Two — “Remove the packaging.”

Three — “Start using them now.”

Why use an item you’re not sure you like? Kondo explains: 

“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.”

Think of it as an exercise in listening to the part of your brain that lights up with joy. Maybe you’d never buy yourself fuzzy microfiber socks with dogs’ faces on the cuffs. But when you put them on your feet, you might be surprised.

That said, you don’t have to try to keep a present if you already know you don’t like it. In her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Kondo gives this reassurance about parting with presents:

“The true purpose of a present is to be received. Presents are not ‘ things’ but a means for conveying someone’s feelings. When viewed from this perspective, you don’t need to feel guilty for parting with a gift.”