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Saying "No Thank you" to Free Stuff

Author | Kiki Wootten


Greetings from the world of intentional living! As we navigate our minimalist journey together, we often encounter situations where our values may be put to the test. One such scenario is graciously declining free gifts—a common occurrence in a world that often equates abundance with possessions.


As advocates of simplicity, we understand the importance of surrounding ourselves with only what adds value to our lives. Here are some tips on how to gracefully say "no, thank you" to free gifts while simultaneously sticking to our values while not feeling like a complete jerk:



  1. Express Gratitude: Begin by expressing genuine appreciation for the gesture. Acknowledge the kindness and thoughtfulness behind the offer. For example, "Thank you so much for thinking of me. I truly appreciate your generosity. You are so kind."

  2. Politely Decline: Keep it simple and straightforward. You can say, "I hope you understand, but I've been trying to minimize the number of possessions I have, so I'll have to decline the offer. I appreciate it, though." But remember that "no thank you" is also a complete sentence :)

  3. Take Part of the Gift: Maybe it doesn't need to be all-or-nothing. For example, if your friend offers you an entire trash bag of clothes they recently decluttered from their closet, you can say, "Oh, I love this one! I've been needing a new sweater for work."

  4. Suggest Alternatives: If appropriate, suggest alternatives that align with your values. For instance, recommend donating the item to a charity, passing it along to someone who might need it, or even repurposing it in a meaningful way.

  5. Offer Quality Time Instead: If the gesture involves an experience or event, consider expressing your preference for shared experiences over physical gifts. You could say, "I would love to spend time with you instead. How about we catch up over coffee or plan a simple outing?"

Remember, saying "no" is a powerful act of self-care and a way of staying true to your values. By doing so with kindness and gratitude, we continue to foster meaningful connections while embracing the beauty of a minimalist lifestyle.


Have you ever been in this semi-awkward scenario? It's hard, we get it. But it's also necessary at times, and it's ok to say no :)

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