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.
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: Netflix.com 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 Carbonite.com 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!
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