“Be a ruthless editor of what you allow into your home. Ask yourselves, “what does this object mean to me?” – Nate Berkus

For the longest time, I never said no to a hand-me-down. Never.

Even if I didn’t want something, I always said yes. And before I knew it, my house was filled with furniture, decor and other things that I didn’t pick out and didn’t fit the vision I had for my home.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there have been many things that I have LOVED. Things that I have kept forever and still have today. (My mother-in law has the BEST decor!) But a majority of the items, I just took because I couldn’t say no.

And before I embraced minimalism? I didn’t even realize I did it.

Looking back, I was living with such a scarcity mindset that I felt compelled to take things because I couldn’t afford to buy things myself. How could I pass up a box of Christmas decorations when I couldn’t spend the money to buy my own? I didn’t feel like I was in any position to turn things down.

I have also found myself not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings. Scared to say “no” and let someone down. (Definitely not healthy!)

Boy, was I wrong.

What I have learned is that it is more important to fill your home with items/decorations/furniture that you love and that bring joy to your home then it is to just fill it with “stuff.”

If you are like me and find yourself having a difficult time saying “no” to hand-me-downs, here are three tips that have worked SO well for me! 

It isn’t always comfortable and some people may get upset but with these three tips, it will be easier to say “no” and not hurt anyone’s feelings (hopefully!)

Remember: unless you really love something, it is okay to say no! Let go of the feeling of obligation. It is your home and your life. You get to decide what stays in it!

#1: Be honest.

For as long as I can remember, I was afraid to be honest with my feelings. I was so scared to upset people that I never said how I felt and kept things to myself. Do you know what that did? Upset everyone.

At the end of the day, the more I kept things inside and didn’t say how I felt, the more it backfired. Embracing minimalism has helped me find my voice and I have learned to be confident in my decisions for my home.

When someone offers hand-me-downs to you and you don’t want or need them, the best thing you can do is to be honest. Explain that you are making changes in your life and are minimizing the things in your home. Honesty is the best policy!

#2: Offer an alternative.

Instead of simply turning someone down when they want to pass something along to you, offer an alternative to them. Whether that is someone else in your family who may love the item(s), a friend of yours that you know would want the item(s) or where the best places are to donate, help them find a home for the item(s) in question.

Many times, the person is letting go of items because they don’t want them anymore or they need more space in their home. Because of this, the chances are good that they will be open to other options.

#3: Express gratitude.

Something that I have found is that, regardless of whether I take the hand-me-downs or I don’t, I am so grateful that someone thought of me and wanted me to have the things. And even when I have said “no” to keeping something, I always try to show gratitude and thanks for even asking me.

It is a definite possibility that someone will be disappointed or angry when you say “no” to a hand-me-down but it is still important to say thank you and just how much you appreciate the thought.

It’s not always easy for people to get rid of things so be gentle with them if you are deciding to not take the item(s). Don’t get defensive if they get upset. But know, that you are 100% able to say “no” and that you aren’t wrong for doing that!