Get Organized Mission #4: Forgo The Freebies

Get Organized Mission #4: Forego the FreebiesWelcome to Mission #4 of our 52 Get Organized Missions.

If you’ve got your finances sorted now after completing our previous mission (Get Organized Mission #3: Organize Your Bills) then you’ll be happy with this week’s change of pace.

This week’s task involves a mindset shift.

Our aim is to raise the barrier for accepting into your life a source of mental and physical clutter for many people – the ‘freebie’.

Your challenge this week is to spend your 30 minutes:

  1. Learning how to distinguish the freebies that add to your life in net terms
  2. Deciding to say NO to all the others.

Remember – you only have to spend 30 minutes to complete the basic mission. If you want to go further check out the Extended Organizing Mission Options below.


Get Organized Mission #4: Forgo The Freebies

One of the fundamentals of the Get Organized Wizard philosophy is:

The less of anything you have, the easier it is to get organized and stay organized.

The problem with freebies is that although they may not cost you money, they always cost you in other ways, including time, added clutter and greater barriers to personal organization. Occasionally a freebie is worth the cost; most often it’s not.

Your mission this week is to adjust your mindset so that before you accept any freebie into your busy life, you ask yourself four questions:

Q1: How much money must I spend to get the freebie?

  • Do I have to buy particular items or spend a certain amount to ‘qualify’ for the freebie?
  • Is the qualifying purchase something I need?
  • Is the qualifying purchase worth the price independently of the freebie?

Case Study:

  • Don’t spend $100 on beauty products you don’t need to get a free $60 lipstick, if all you really want is the $60 free lipstick.
  • Do simply buy and enjoy the $60 lipstick!

Q2: How much time must I spend to use the freebie?

  • Do I have to read it, assemble it, learn how to use it, invest time to get value from it?
  • How much benefit can I expect from investing that time?
  • Is the benefit worth the time?

Case Study:

  • Don’t pick up the magazine at the gym or department store just because it’s free if the information quality is poor or the articles are disguised advertorials. It will waste your precious time.
  • Do borrow or buy a good book or magazine if you want quality information.

Q3: How much mental clutter will the freebie create?

  • Will I feel pressured to use the freebie once I have it, even if it’s not something I’m immediately focused on?
  • Will it add an item I don’t genuinely care about to my mental to-do list?
  • Is the benefit of having the freebie worth the mental clutter?

Case Study:

  • Don’t sign up for newsletters in exchange for free e-books, reports or PDFs on topics that aren’t already top-of-mind for you. Keep your focus on what’s important now to save yourself distraction and concentrate your precious mental energy.
  • Do search – and pay, if necessary – for highly relevant, good quality information when you’re ready to use it. It will be worth it in terms of saved mental energy.

Q4: How much physical clutter will the freebie create?

  • Will I need to store the freebie?
  • Will it create visual clutter in my home, office or life?
  • Is the benefit of having the freebie worth the physical and visual clutter?

Case Study:

  • Don’t accept your friend’s discarded 237-piece Lladro collection just because ‘it would be a shame to let it go’. Unless you will use/love/enjoy it, it’s cluttro.
  • Do let someone else with a yen for Lladro enjoy it, and fill your life with only things that you love.

Dos & Don’ts

  • Don’t fret over losing out on stuff. Take a look around – you probably already have more stuff than you can use, read, slather on your face, or enjoy. More will come.
  • Do enjoy the feeling of freedom and clarity you get from saying no to things that don’t earn their place in your life.

Extended Organizing Mission Options

Want to go beyond this 30-minute organizing mission?

  • You can apply these principles to things on sale, too. Compare the sale price with the total cost:
  • If you have kids, this is an excellent mission to discuss with them. In this age of excess, teaching children to assess the value of things means equipping them with a useful skill.
  • If you have a cache of free stuff languishing in drawers, the garage or your hard drive, why not take this opportunity to let it go. Create some extra time, space and clarity for yourself.

Ready, Set, Go!

Remember – move quickly, act fast, don’t overthink.

Before You Go – Please Check In

You’re now accountable to your organizing mission-mates! Once you’ve completed this week’s Get Organized Mission please add a comment to let us know you’ve done your assignment and you’re keeping your commitment.
(Click ‘Comment’ at the very top of this post or scroll down to the bottom. Depending on how you’re viewing this post, one of those options will be available for you.)

And see you back here next week!


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Click here to sign up for 52 Organizing Missions.

Image by koka_sexton

Michele | Get Organized Gal

Michele is into writing, books, simplicity, love, TV, productivity, and staying thin in a world of chocolate.

120 thoughts on “Get Organized Mission #4: Forgo The Freebies

  1. Kimi says:

    This was easy. Went a step further. Decided to unsubscribe to several email newsletters etc., that I don’t read anyway. Saves a lot of time not having to sift through your emailbox for “important” stuff. Yay!

  2. Julia O'Connor says:

    sometimes “freebee’s” arrive even when we have not invited them, the only way to deal with them is to dispose of them immediatly, into the “give” bag for the next trip to the ” Opp’ shop. this weeks mission is very much a mind shift.

  3. Amber says:

    Yikes. Just read this weeks email. I am going to tackle the hundreds of free ebooks I accumulated through amazon when I first got my kindle. I still only read my favorite authors and with two young kids I am not reason nearly as fast as I once did. And saving for the day they are old enough for me to read for hours on end is just silly. And mental and kindle clutter. Clearing it out this week.

  4. Raleigh says:

    This one was speaking to me.

    I’m not into the freebie cosmetic type stuff but I LOVE a glossy catalogue.

    I stopped buying magazines when I stopped working and haven’t really missed them but the glossy catalogues I will dream shop with.

    I know that I have ikea catalogues from as far back as 1998 in some book boxes in the garage, (I will be getting to those piles of books soon as I still haven’t needed any of them) we don’t even have an ikea near us any more LOL. So these must go! These are not the only culprits!

    I think I will allow myself to keep my howard’s storage world catalogue though. I better just throw away the old edition 😀

  5. Lisa says:

    I’ve been working with a professional organizer and have been amazed at how much easier it is to have organized stuff if there’s a lot less of it. When I’m tempted to take a freebie it helps to remind myself of how much time, energy and cash I spent getting rid of it. I have to remain vigilant, though; it’s easy to let one’s guard down in the face of ever-present freebie offers.

  6. Jenni says:

    I’m not a big shopper or spender, so it is always easy for me to pass up free stuff when you have to buy something in order to get it. I realize it’s not always good to get more for your money when you can pay less and get just what you need. However, I have felt obligated to take things from people in order not to hurt their feelings. I have figured out a way to handle this when someone offers me something in the future. If I don’t have a place for it and can’t really use it, then I will just politely decline.

  7. Lene says:

    Mission #4 completed. At first I thought this does not apply to me, but then I read through it and realized that it does in some ways and also it has been worth it to think trough. As a result I have stopped two magazine supcriptions and I decided not to consider buying things on sale, unless it is something I need and was going to buy anyway. I think I will stop newsletters arriving by e-mail with different special offers as well. After all I know which places have good prices if I need something anyway.

  8. Abigail says:

    Loving these missions! This was a tough one for me, since it wasn’t as much a task to complete as a shift of thinking. Really good to think about though. Stored the questions in my iPod to make myself look at when faced with future freebies. Thanks!

  9. Chris says:

    I too thought that this wasn’t going to be something that I needed to do, as we don’t have junk mail delivered to our house, therefore no coupons to keep – or get rid of! Where I live is a small town where there’s no shopping centre “giveaways”, so no problem with being given things we don’t need there either. However when I read through some of the replies above, I realised that the tea bags, coffee, sugar, shampoo, conditioner, shower caps and moisturiser that come from motels we stay in and my husband insists on bringing home with us (because we have paid for it) actually count as freebies! I have now got all those little bottles lined up in the shelf in the shower so that we use them before I buy any more shampoo and conditioner, and I have the tea bags, coffee etc put into the canisters that sit near the kettle so that we can use them up too. That’s a start to this…think I will probably find other things if I take the time to think about it. As someone else said, this will probably be an ongoing mission, at least for a while!

  10. Jenny says:

    Saw this more as a shift of thinking than an actual task. Will be using the Gretchen Rubin concept of “spending out” and USING UP all the freebie shampoos, moisturisers, bits and bobs before I buy more. Also enjoying and using stuff I already have rather than getting more. Will be taking some “gifts” people have given me to the charity shop this week too. These count as freebies in a way don’t they?

  11. jeannie says:

    love Crystal’s idea. have just written myself the same post it. Love this un-cluttering business. No more freebies yeah!

  12. Doro says:

    Luckily, this is something I already do. I only have two reward cards for stores where I shop frequently and out of necessity, not to get the discount these cards offer. I also cancelled some newsletters I never read couple of weeks ago, so mission 4 accomplished!

  13. Lee-Anne says:

    I unsubscribed to a few rewards programs where you do surveys and get points. I just don't have the time. Unsubscribed to a couple of others where its just tempting to go for the sale or freebie. Took me 10 minutes.

  14. Shannon says:

    Not really into the freebies or two for one, but I did close an email account I didn’t use and the associated newsletters that I never read 🙂

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