7 Reasons It’s OK To Say ‘No’

7 Reasons It’s OK To Say ‘No’

index card that says it's OK to say no

Life teaches us pretty quickly that we can’t have it all. Choosing one thing usually means there is something else we have to forego. What does that mean when it comes to decluttering and organizing your home? If you make life choices other than devoting yourself to a perfectly clean, Pinterest-worthy home, is all hope lost? Not at all!


It’s counter-intuitive, but the less time you spend at home, the messier your house is. If you’re out of the house more than you’re in it, you have little time to keep up with paperwork, handle laundry, move out-of-season clothing to storage, and do other projects. Not only do you have less time for projects, but drop-and-run also adds to the problem when you have only enough time to run in, drop off the mail, change clothes quickly, and run on to the next thing.

What can you do to tame the madness? One of your most effective tools is to learn to say “no” or “not at this time.” Stand firm because:

woman holding a pile of unfolded laundry

Many things we’re asked to do or want to get involved in are good things. They wouldn’t tempt us if that weren’t the case. However, while many things are good, they’re not all best. Commit to choosing what is best for you and your family so that although you’re saying ‘no’ to good things, you’re saying ‘yes’ to the best things–for you.

The law of diminishing returns is frequently explained using the example that one candy bar is delicious, and the second candy bar may taste pretty good too. But the fifth candy bar doesn’t taste nearly as good and will leave you feeling sick. Saying ‘yes’ to too many good things doesn’t feel good for long.

Saying ‘no’ now doesn’t mean you’re saying ‘no’ forever. Everything has a season and will eventually change. It is challenging to visit three sets of relatives on Christmas Day when you have small children but, it is easier when the children are older.

Time is a limited resource like money and should be budgeted. You have 24 hours in a day and need time for sleep, eating, attending to family and home needs, productivity, learning, fun, and downtime. Don’t overspend in one area (watching TikTok videos) to the detriment of another area (washing and putting away dishes). Neither option is wrong, but balance them against your available time and their relative value.

A room of excess furniture


When we reach a certain age, many of us begin to receive furniture and other possessions from our parents as estate beneficiaries or because Mom and Dad are downsizing. Receiving items from one relative might be manageable. But when a wife receives things from her parents, and a husband receives items from his parents, excess is the result. Adding blended families to the mix makes the situation even more challenging. Rather than blindly accepting everything that is offered to you, consider the following:

The giver may be unhappy (to say the least!) if you decline what they want to pass on to you, and it can make life challenging. However, if you don’t have a place or purpose for what you bring in, it becomes stress-inducing clutter. Be brave. Say ‘no, thank you’ now and bypass years of angst. Pro tip: Don’t let the excess come into your home. It’s tempting to think you’ll deal with it later without counting the cost of time and space.

You are you; not the family historian. You are not obligated to accept something just because no one else in the family will take it, and you think it shouldn’t leave the family. It only has value if the family wants it. If they’re unwilling to accept it, you should question its actual value.

Like money and time, budget your space. If both spouses receive a dining room set and you already have one, decide which you like best and keep only that one. If you need to keep a set your folks give you but it doesn’t match your décor, talk to an interior designer or professional organizer about ways to make it fit into your environment better.

You can’t have it all so only say ‘yes’ to what’s best for you

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