OK – let’s face it – giving a gift that is thoughtful and doesn’t add clutter to your recipient’s life takes a bit of mindful contemplation.
Sometimes people choose to give store-bought gift cards so they can let the receiver choose the gift that he/she truly wants.
As a professional organizer, I have seen way too many gift cards languishing and /or lost in drawers or stashed in old wallets for years, before they are rediscovered by my clients, to feel these are a good idea.
Almost one in three gift cards never get used at all
CBS reported in 2014, citing Consumer Reports. Americans spend $32 billion a year on the cards, representing nearly $10 billion in wasted money for consumers (and pure profit for retailers).
According to a survey by bankrate.com, only 27% of Americans said they would like to receive a gift card this holiday. So where does this leave the conscious gift givers who don’t want to create useless clutter in their loved-ones life?
These are my top 13 picks for thoughtful and clutter-free gifts starting from number 13 to the best of the best top pick!
13. Tickets for Events
It’s always nice to look forward to upcoming special occasions. Give the gift of tickets to an event your person would truly enjoy: a play, a sporting event, concert tickets, comedy club. Think about what they enjoy and give them the gift of experiencing it again from you! If you think they would enjoy company, buy yourself a ticket too and make it a social outing.
12. Personal Chef Voucher
If cooking is your game, why not pass on your talents to those who need it? Think: lonely bachelor, single mom, starving college graduate or whoever else might enjoy your talents. Another idea: precook a few meals and deliver them in freezer bags so your recipient. This will ensure they have meals ready to heat when they are craving a nice home-cooked meal!
11. Perpetual Vanilla
This made it onto my favorite gifts list when I received a bottle from a friend last Christmas. I loved it! Every kitchen needs a bottle of vanilla and real vanilla, not the imitation kind, can be expensive. Not only that, but real vanilla is often hard to find. The best part about perpetual vanilla is that as the bottle becomes empty, you simply add more vodka to it and it keeps creating more vanilla extract! I love this concept so much that this year I am making 12 bottles of real vanilla along with custom labels to give to my friends as holiday presents. Shhh, don’t tell!
10. An Act of Service
Almost everyone I know has a few needed honey-do’s. Whether you are the handy type or not it doesn’t really matter. As a god cook you can cater in a meal. Create a certificate for one task done for them based on your skill sets! Mow their lawn, cater in a meal, paint the bathroom, wash their car, run a few errands, whatever you feel they might need to make their life easier. A timely gift, especially if they live alone – help them decorate the house or trim the tree. They will appreciate the help and also enjoy the friendship!
9. Massage or Facial Treatments
Who doesn’t like a good massage or wold welcome a facial? Hmmmm, no one that I know. Many people don’t spend money on themselves for massages so this is always a welcomed gift. Also – I love facials but often don’t buy them as much as I want them because I still consider them a luxury for my face. I would welcome a gift for either of these treatments any time! Just my personal opinion…
8. Queen or King For The Day certificates
This handmade gift certificate provides a whole day of recreation for your recipient. Details vary but the day often it starts with coffee and breakfast delivery followed with an excursion to their favorite place (a hike, beach walk, museum etc) and after that lunch! This is a special way to show your receiver that you truly enjoy their company and want to spend the day just with them! Helpful hint – this is meant to be one on one time.
7. Plants or Flowers
Many people never buy flowers just for themselves. If you have one of these types n your life, I am almost certain they would enjoy a bunch of flowers to brighten their day. A hint – Stargazer lilies not only look fabulous, they spread an amazing fragrance throughout the room.
You can create a longer-lasting present by giving them a gift of a low-maintenance plant. I have gifted several plants over the years and even my most brown-thumbed friends find it hard to kill a snake plant (aka Sansevieria trifasciata).
6. Himalayan Salt Lamp
Salt lamps are not only beautiful, they clean the air and are calming and pleasant to have in the home. When a salt crystal is lit, it clears the air naturally of allergens like smoke, pet dander, pollens, and other air pollutants. It dilutes odors so that one can breathe easier.
Experiential gifts are always memorable and can create memories that last years especially when you join in the experience. Why not give the git of an outing? Consider bowling, zip lining, beer / wine tasting or even a trail ride. (I’ll take that one!)
4. AAA membership
OK – we all have a friend or two that drives a car that is a bit old. These are perfect recipients of a year-long AAA membership. The will thank you profusely after they need a jump or tow when their car goes on the fritz! AAA always comes through with shining stars when you opt need them!
3. Dryer Balls and Essential Oils
I made sets and gave these as gifts last year when I discovered how great my clothes smelled when I started using them! When you add a little orange or lavender oil to these balls and toss them into your dryer, your clothes always come out smelling great. A clutter-free benefit is that these cotton balls last forever and eliminate the need to buy dry sheets which often contain harmful toxins. Additionally, they save time drying clothes as they not only fluff but help to absorb water as they work their magic in the dryer. This gift will help your giftee save time, money and they will never have to buy dryer sheets again!
2. Health Club Memberships
If your budget isn’t large enough for a year membership, why not buy a few classes as a gift? I was gifted 4 pilates classes and ended up loving pilates! Now pilates is my fitness routine of choice, who knew? Well I surely would not have tried pilates without the gift of a few classes!
1. Decluttering Services
This idea is at the top of my list because many people will not spend money on themselves in the area where they probably need the most help. The gift of professional organizing makes a fabulous gift for your friends who have too much of everything. One on one organizing professional organizing sessions are customized for each individual. Because each session focuses solely on the client’s needs, it has the potential to give your beneficiary more freedom and joy in their life and probably a functional closet!
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So with all of these choices, have you discovered what idea might work best for you? I encourage you to think outside of the box this year and consider what you can give your family and friends that they will truly enjoy. I promise you, it is not usually about stuff but about things that will save them time, money or expand their fun experiences.
If you think of other ideas for any awesome clutter-free gift please leave your tips in the comments below so everyone can enjoy even more nifty ideas!