Sometimes, an object is just too big to keep. This happened to me recently. My husband and I were celebrating a milestone anniversary, and he very kindly sent me a large floral arrangement. He sent the flowers in a vase, which is always my preference, since arranging flowers isn’t my long suit! They were beautiful and I greatly enjoyed them. Here is a photo:
Eventually, the flowers perished, and it was time to wash and put away the vase. When I went to the sink, I realized that it was actually quite enormous. I had trouble washing it because it was so tall, and I started to think, “Where in the world am I going to store this thing?”
The item was a challenge to store because…
- It was too tall for any of my cabinets
- It was heavy, so it needed to be on a sturdy shelf
- It was fragile, so I didn’t want to stick it where it could easily get bumped
As I pondered this challenge, I also acknowledged that since flower arranging isn’t my favorite hobby, the odds of my creating a floral display in this container were slim. I wouldn’t even know where to begin! Yes, I keep a few vases around for when I receive a bouquet, host a party, or cut flowers from the yard, but I wasn’t likely to assemble a display of this magnitude.
This is where the emotion kicked in…
“But, my husband got this beautiful vase for me…
and he paid good money for it…
and he might feel badly if I don’t keep it…”
Do these rationalizations sound familiar?
At this point, I had to take some of my own organizing medicine, and remind myself of a few realities:
First, the money had already been spent. Keeping this huge vase wasn’t going to bring it back.
Second, I had enjoyed the flowers, so the purpose of the gift had been fulfilled. Keeping the vase wasn’t going to make me like the gift more. In fact, struggling to store, clean, and protect the vase might become a burden, creating a negative association with the gift.
All right, I was ready to let it go. Now I had to consider my options:
- I could try and sell the vase, but it wasn’t of incredible value, and I certainly wasn’t going to pay to ship it anywhere.
- I could give the vase to a friend or relative, but to be honest, none of them probably had space for storing it either.
- I could recycle it, but it was in perfect condition… this was a good option, but maybe I could do better.
So are you wondering what I did with my giant vase? Drumroll please….
I ended up taking it back to the florist. Yep, I put the clean vase in my car and drove it back. I thought I might look a little strange walking in with a huge empty vase, but I did it anyway. To my surprise, the clerk was delighted to get the vase back. I started to tell her how I had cleaned it (in case I had missed some protocol…), and she said, “No worries, we will take care of it. Thanks for bringing it back – we will use it!”
I felt great! Not only did I solve my storage problem, but this vase was now going to bring a smile to someone else’s face, and probably save the florist some money in the process.
I tell this story for one purpose: to remind you that you don’t need to keep everything, especially large or bulky items that you won’t use. Large pieces of furniture you were “handed down”, sporting equipment you rarely use, artwork you don’t love, yard tools you never touch, giant stuffed animals you won at a carnival… many items fit this category. Instead of automatically keeping every item that enters your space, give yourself permission to take it back, pass it on, or let it go.
I’d love to hear you have ever gotten rid of something large. How did you do it?