De-Cluttering White Elephants

How to De-Clutter Your White Elephants

White Elephant = Moving Forward IncA white elephant is an idiom for a valuable but burdensome possession of which its owner cannot dispose and whose cost (particularly cost of upkeep) is out of proportion to its usefulness or worth.

The term derives from the story that the kings of Siam (now Thailand) were accustomed to make a present of a white elephant to courtiers who had rendered themselves obnoxious, in order to ruin the recipient by the cost of its maintenance.

In modern usage, it is an object, scheme, business venture, facility, etc., considered to be without use or value.

White Elephants in the Home

My friend Edna’s house is populated by a large colony of white elephants. Not the true albino elephants from Southeast Asia, but the white elephants that have been “gifted” to her.

Edna once shared with me the story of her grandmother’s table. When it came time to deal with the belongings in her mother’s house, the family was faced with Grandma’s table.

They couldn’t donate the table after all it was “Grandma’s good dining table”. None of them wanted it because it was really awkward to use, with too many legs and extensions. Finally, one of their aunts came to the rescue and explained that Grandma had always hated that table!

How many things are we clinging to because we think that we need to, but don’t really use or want to keep? Edna has items that have been passed down to her with great ceremony.

De-ClutterGrandmasGlasses-MovingForward IncQuestions to ask yourself when deciding whether to accept a “White Elephant”:

  1. Do I have to accept the white elephant?
  2. How can I graciously decline the job of being custodian of grandma’s eye glasses or Uncle Fred’s war memorabilia?
  3. What can we do with these things?

To Keep or Not to Keep…

Sometimes we have to first deal with the guilt of not really wanting this “treasure” that has been bestowed upon us. Well we could always hand it down to someone else, making it their white elephant. Or, we can find an organization or charity that can make good use of the item. The Lions club collects used eye glasses for example.

Call on Moving Forward to assist you with donating, selling and de-cluttering your “White Elephants”. They can find good homes for those particular animals!

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