5 Tips for Giving Gifts without Adding Clutter


It’s holiday season – and we all know what that means: Presents!blog clutter free giving

Whatever holiday you’re celebrating this month, it will most definitely include some form of gift giving. Everybody loves a great gift but it’s not always easy knowing just what to buy.

As an organizer, I would say buying gifts is one of my most difficult tasks. I want to show appreciation and love but don’t want to add to anyone’s clutter by giving them something they don’t actually need or won’t actually use – two major criteria I follow when deciding what items to bring into my home.

I recently bought a tea set for a client because I know she loves tea – but only remembered afterwards how much tea she already has. Oops. Even organizers make mistakes.

Here are five ways to give the perfect gift – without adding clutter to anyone’s already-clutter-filled life.

1. That Thing You DoWe all have that special something that only we can do. If you’re known for a particular dish, why not consider making a few extra batches. (And I’m not talking about a fruit cake – although I’m sure it’s delicious.) Some of my favourite gifts consist of yummy food that I can eat or freeze for a future date. Do you own your own business? Perhaps offer your services as a gift. One organized toy closet coming up. Have a particular talent that your friends admire? Offer to teach a class.

2. Show Them a Good TimeGiving experiences can create memories that last far beyond the initial gift excitement. Depending on your price point, experiential gifts can be anything from a night at the movies to a pair of airline tickets. Concerts, escape room adventures, karaoke room rentals, a night or two at a hotel, dance classes, a zoo membership, digital subscriptions – give your loved one something they might not give themselves.

3. Pamper ThemYou may not be able to afford a full day spa package for everyone on your list but you can still offer the gift of being pampered through gift certificates for manicures, home massages, or salon services. Maybe arrange for a weekly or monthly flower delivery from a local florist.

4. Give the Gift of TimeLife is so busy, I think most of us would appreciate this one. Imagine if someone offered to take your kids for the afternoon, or better yet, the night? Perhaps offer to do someone’s carpool for a few weeks, or make dinner, or give a week of school snacks already packaged. If you want to spend a bit more, provide a day (or week) of cleaning help. When our twins were born, the best present people could give us was money to put towards more hours with the night nurse – I may not always remember who bought which onesie, but I sure know who provided a few more precious hours of sleep:)

5. Listen CloselyOften, you can come up with the perfect gift idea just by paying attention to your daily interactions. When walking through the store with your kids, notice what they’re looking at. Pay attention when they tell you what they enjoy playing when they go to a friend’s house. Even if your gift is a “thing”, try to think of something that the recipient can enjoy right away so your gift is truly a present, and not just another item to throw on the re-gift pile.

I recently bought purses for my sister-in-law and mother-in-law because they both mentioned that they could really use one but didn’t have the time to shop. One look at their current bags to get a feel for their taste, and voila, the perfect gift that they were able to put to use immediately.

Want to know the best gift I’ve ever given? I had a garden planted for my husband who really enjoys nature. It wasn’t cheap but it has provided years of enjoyment and beauty worth many times more than what it cost.

Tell me about the best gift you’ve ever received and the best one you’ve ever given.

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