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Clutter-free Gift Giving

by Vali G. Heist, M.Ed., Certified Professional Organizer

Nov 26, 2018
Vali G. Heist M.Ed.

‘Tis the season for gift-giving! Anyone who has tried to choose a gift for someone special knows how challenging it can be. It can be also be frustrating when someone says “I don’t want or need anything!”

I have met with clients who try to tell family members that they don’t want “stuff” for the holidays, but very often they are ignored or their family thinks they really don’t mean it.

Clutter-free gifts are a gift of time, memories, an experience,  health, or a gift that helps others who have needs beyond our imagination. Maybe a clutter-free gift is the ticket? Let those you love know how much you care by giving gifts that are clutter-free. Let’s break it down:

  • Clutter-free gifts
    • 529 plan contributions for college
    • Car wash coupons
    • Cooking lessons
    • Dance/Yoga lessons
    • Gym membership
    • Movie tickets
    • Museum membership
    • Pottery/glass-making glasses
    • Self-defense classes
    • Tattoo in honor of someone
    • Tickets to the symphony or the theater
  • Gift cards 
    • Garden nursery, home improvement stores, and bookstores
    • Gas station, grocery store, and convenience store
    • Music downloads
    • Restaurant, coffee shop, and fast food
    • Spa, medi-spa, facial and massage
  • Non-profit gift-giving–cash donation to a charity in honor of the recipient. You can let the recipient know via a card.
  • Gifts of time
    • Join a friend (instead of exchanging gifts) for a local art studio class, yoga, book club, film club, scrapbooking classes
    • Babysitting coupons for nieces, nephews and grandchildren
    • Take a child: to lunch, on a day trip, the museum, a local college for a sports event or theater, the zoo, or bowling.
    • “First Christmas Together” (or other name) coupon book: Make a list of the things you know your partner would enjoy and include practical and fun things: for example, a backrub, do the dishes for a week, make a candlelight dinner, do grocery shopping, clean the cat box, etc.

Remember if you have a gift closet, box, or drawer in which you keep gifts that you have bought ahead of time, don’t forget to shop there first before you shop for more gifts!

Finally, I get that gift cards aren’t very exciting and opening a small envelope isn’t exactly a Hallmark moment, but the gift isn’t for you, it’s for the recipient. Think of what they want, not what you imagine gift-giving to be.

“The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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