Clutter-Free Gift Ideas

This is not a clutter-free gift!One way to de-stress the holidays is to give clutter-free gifts.

Can we all agree that the best gifts are fun to give, fun to get, and fit within our budgets? And the worst gifts just add clutter, guilt, and work to the recipient’s life in the form of having to store, clean, and maintain the gift? Sometimes the very best gifts are not even things. They are gift cards, memberships, subscriptions, experiences, services, and consumables.

Here are some of my favorite clutter-free gift ideas.

One way to de-stress the holidays is to give clutter-free gifts. Click To Tweet

Gift Cards

Gift cards are easy to find and purchase; customizable to the recipient’s taste; available in every price range; small, lightweight, and easy to mail; and fun for the recipient to use. Think they are too impersonal? Not if you put some thought into it. Here are some examples:

  • For adults who like to go out: Movie theater and/or favorite restaurant
  • For readers: Local or online book store
  • For business associates: Coffee shop you know they like
  • For drivers of all ages: Gas card, car wash coupons
  • For teachers: Olive Garden, Target or Starbucks (best choices according to a teacher client of mine)

Of course, if YOU are the recipient of a gift card – use it or lose it! Keep it in a safe spot (and don’t forget where it is). Use your gift cards before you lose them in a pile of clutter, and before they expire (some never do; read the fine print). Many can be looked up online to see how much they are still worth.

Memberships and Subscriptions

  • For adults who prefer to stay in: and/or local food delivery service
  • For anyone: Favorite magazine (one they will actually read each month)
  • For families with kids: Annual pass to local zoo or children’s museum
  • For adults who need and want nothing: Donation in their name to their favorite charity
  • For computer users: A year’s worth of back-up service

Experiences, Services and Consumables

  • For moms: Massage or spa treatment
  • For out of town friends and relatives: Airline tickets to come visit you
  • For artists and crafters: Classes, tools, supplies
  • For seniors who don’t drive: Postage stamps plus a selection of greeting cards; handmade IOUs for lunch out together, rides to and from the doctor, trips to the library, etc.
  • For those who enjoy them and will use them up: Candles, tea, wine, chocolate (do you know what kind they especially like?)
  • For music lovers: CDs and MP3s don’t take up much space, nor do concert tickets
  • For anyone who has actually requested help around the house: Gift certificate for house cleaning, organizing, or handy services (hint: not such a great idea if you are the one who thinks they should get help)

Something you know they want

Your gift will not become clutter if it is just what the person wanted, and will really use or enjoy! What are their hobbies? Do they have a wish list? Ask them to make one. (Don’t forget to follow proper wish list etiquette!) Ask their parent or significant other for ideas. Pay attention to what they say and do in the days and weeks preceding a gift-giving occasion. Jot down the gift ideas that occur to you so you won’t have to remember them later.

What are YOUR favorite clutter-free gift ideas?

Please share with us in the comments below!

Copyright 2008-2016 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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  1. Janet Barclay on October 27, 2013 at 8:52 am

    These are all excellent ideas – I myself would like to receive almost any of these gifts!

    Gift cards are perfect for nearly anyone. The recipient gets to choose something THEY like, but by making the effort to choose a store you know they will like, it’s more personal than simply handing over cash – plus there’s no risk it will just get rolled in with the household spending money!

    • Hazel Thornton on October 29, 2013 at 9:03 am

      I’m with you, Janet!

  2. Karen McLaughlin on December 21, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Hi Hazel,
    I just discovered your site yesterday through Mari Smith’s FB party and I’m so glad I did 🙂

    I think another great clutter-free gift for busy moms is a subscription to a menu planning service. There are many different ones available to suit the needs of the recipient, whether they have special dietary needs or would like something that features local and seasonal foods, etc.

    Of course I’m a bit biased as I’m a cookbook author who happens to offer such a service myself 🙂 but I know for moms who are always struggling to figure out what to cook their families for dinner, they are thrilled to see the weekly plan arrive in their inbox. Not only do they not have to worry about what to make (or what to shop for, as they will get a grocery list too!) but they will be exposed to lots of new meal ideas. The average family only has 6-8 standard dinner meals, so it can help them break out of a rut and end mealtime boredom.

    Have a great holiday!


    • Hazel Thornton on December 22, 2013 at 8:35 am

      Hi Karen, I took a look at your site, and I think it’s a great clutter-free gift idea!

  3. Sabrina Quairoli on November 30, 2020 at 10:40 am

    Thanks for sharing this great collection of clutter-free gift ideas. I am a fan of giving gift cards from stores like Barnes and Noble. It is a great option for people who often read for entertainment.

  4. Seana Turner on November 30, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    At this stage of my life, I love things I really need, most of which is “replacements” for things I own that have worn out. Clothing, kitchen utensils, office supplies, etc. I also love a gift of service, when someone does something for me that I really don’t enjoy or is hard for me.

  5. Janet Schiesl on November 30, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    I love these ideas and for me, it’s the thought that counts. If someone gives me a $5 gift card for Starbucks I just love it. I enjoy Starbucks but never go, so it’s a really treat when I can go for coffee as a gift from someone else.

  6. Linda Samuels on November 18, 2021 at 10:22 am

    I’m a huge fan of giving (and receiving) experiences, not things for holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries. This is an awesome list you created- so many great ideas!

    For my birthday, I was recently gifted a certificate to my favorite spa, a day out in NYC with my family for a few good meals, seeing a play, and going to a craft fair. I haven’t used the spa certificate yet, but I am looking forward to it. And the day in the city was amazing…not just the doing, but having time with the people I love. TIME is precious and is the best gift of all.

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