Just Because It’s Free, Doesn’t Mean It’s For Me

Back in my 20s, I had a good friend and neighbor named Larry. Larry was a nice guy, but he had a problem. Larry collected free junk. Larry would take almost anything if it was free. In time, his house and his yard became a junk pile.

classic-car-582812_1920 Just because it's free, doesn't mean it's for me: Photo of old junk car.

Free is good. But just because something is free, it doesn’t mean we have to take it. They say one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. That might be true, but I’ve found that 95% of free junk is just that: junk. 

Larry’s house became so full of junk that you had to be careful where you stepped. His yard was filled with old cars, old engines, old appliances, furniture, and so much more. It got so bad that the landlord asked him to move out.

When Is It Okay To Take Free Junk?

Read my post: Got An Unwanted Gift: What Do You Do With It?

I don’t want to tell you how to live. You can take anything you want. But I’ve found that these guidelines help me know when I should take or leave somebody’s free junk:

  1. Evaluate your needs: When someone tells you they have something to give you for free, don’t just take it because. They’re trying to get rid of it for a reason. It didn’t serve a purpose. Before you accept free junk, ask yourself if it’s something that you really need. If it’s not, pass on it.
  2. Consider the value: Maybe the free junk isn’t really junk. Maybe it’s something that’s valuable. If you could really use it. Take it. If you think you could resell it. Take it. But be careful of overvaluing things. My old friend Larry thought everything was valuable. He wound up buried in junk.
  3. Don’t get pushed: We all have a friend that tries to pawn stuff off on us. They almost make you feel obliged to take their free junk. Don’t. Just politely say, “No thank you. I really wouldn’t have any use for that.” If you do take it, some people keep tabs. Then you’ll feel guilty if you ever want to let it go.

Don’t Be Like Larry!

Larry wound up getting rid of most of his junk and buying a small house by the highway. I haven’t seen Larry for years. We live about 100 miles apart. But over the years, when I drive down that stretch of highway, I’ve watched his yard become recluttered with free junk. I guess some things never change.

If you want to learn ways of uncluttering your home, I have a couple of free ebooks that get to the heart of the matter:

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