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The Clutter-Free gift list you've been waiting for

If you’ve been decluttering your home…

…focusing on the less tangible, enjoying the peace and simplicity of a home without excess, and reveling in your newfound freedom from STUFF, chances are you’re hoping to keep things this way.

That means you would prefer to receive clutter-free gifts, and since you recognize the benefits of being clutter-free, you’d also like to GIVE clutter-free gifts to the people you love.

And even though gift cards are great, they’re not always the most fun to give or unwrap.

Charitable Gifts

If your gift recipient is passionate about a certain issue, a donation in their name could be the perfect clutter-free gift for them.

For Kids

For Adults

Be sure the charity you choose to support in their name is in line with their values. Often, a “cause” can have many different charities, some of which may be preferred over others to your gift recipient for various reasons.

  • Heifer International – gift animals, stoves, or irrigation pumps to a community in a developing nation, send a child to school, or help women start sustainable businesses.

Ingredients

When you give ingredients for a project, experience, or recipe that won’t clutter the recipient’s house, you’re giving an experience that’s enjoyable and memorable.

For Kids

  • Craft materials for a specific project that will be used and enjoyed, not one that will clutter up the house. Like a moccasin kit, a birdhouse kit, and so on.
  • Beeswax candle kit – then actually USE the candles once they’re made.
  • Kit for making bubble gum, root beer, or bath/body products like lip balm.
  • Ingredients for a special baking project to do together
  • Ingredients and a recipe for homemade play-doh, slime, bubble soap, sidewalk chalk, or other fun things that get “used up.”

For Adults

  • Ingredients for a gourmet dinner (fancy pasta, really nice olive oil, tapenade, etc.)
  • Homemade herbs/spice/seasoning mixes with instructions for how to use them, or recipe ideas.
  • “Movie night in a box” with a DVD or iTunes gift card, or a gift certificate to Netflix or another service, popping corn, popcorn toppings, favorite candies, etc.

The ultimate clutter-free gift guide

Subscriptions

Subscriptions can be really fun clutter-free gifts, because they “keep giving” over several months, or even the whole year.

For Kids

  • Kiwi Crate – a subscription service that provides kids with “ingredients” each month for specific craft projects.  Extra materials can be added for each additional sibling, so no one is left out.
  • Magazines – like National Geographic Kids or Little Kids, Highlights, Muse (a science magazine for big kids), Zoobooks, Ranger Rick, Dig into History, Sports Illustrated for Kids, or tons of others.
  • SparkleStories – audio story subscription for kids (by age group)
  • Agnitus iPad app subscription

For Adults

Memberships or Experiences

Memberships to favorite local attractions are awesome clutter-free gifts that “keep giving” all year, but even if you can’t or don’t want to gift an entire year’s membership, you could give the experience of a one-time visit. Send tickets or money for a day’s admission, along with a note, if you’re far away. Or, if you’re local to the recipients, you could invite them for a trip and all go together.

For Kids

  • Zoo membership, or a trip to the zoo
  • Skating Rink membership, or a visit to go ice skating
  • Children’s Museum Membership, or a day at the museum
  • (Same for aquariums, gardens, science senters, theme parks, rock climbing, swimming, and so on.)
  • A manicure, pedicure, or other spa treatment either with a parent or a best friend.

For Adults

  • Tickets to a concert, play, or sporting event (to a single event or the whole season)
  • Gym membership, or a session with a personal trainer.
  • Yoga Studio Membership, or a lesson or class
  • A manicure, pedicure, massage, hair cut, or other spa treatment.
  • Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) Membership
  • A fishing license (and a gift certificate to a bait shop) or hunting license (with ammunition)

Something alive

Plants and animals are definitely NOT clutter! Just make sure you NEVER give someone a pet unless you’re 100% sure they’re prepared for and committed to the responsibility (and expense, including preventative and emergency veterinary costs) of owning that pet for its lifetime.

For Kids

For Adults

Clutter-free gifts for Everyone On Your List

Education

Lessons or tuition money toward more education in a subject the gift recipient is interested in is a clutter-free gift that will be with them forever. “Stuff” comes and goes, but knowledge and experiences are forever.

For Kids

  • Extracurricular classes – a sport, instrument instruction, dance class, swimming lessons, etc.
  • EngagewiththePage.com subscription – Each kit includes a book, along with 3-5 hours worth of step-by-step related activities to do with your child.

For Adults

  • Membership to an online course, community, or program they’re interested in.
  • The Define School for photography – I took an online class here (no longer available) a couple of years ago, and it totally changed the way I used my camera and how I “see” pictures.

Food

Do I even have to explain this one? All year, my daughter has been telling me how she’s so excited about Christmas, because she might get a chocolate chip Larabar in her stocking again. I can’t make this stuff up. Food might just be the ultimate clutter-free gifts. Just be aware of dietary restrictions and allergies.

For Kids (or Anyone)

  • Larabars – my kids love the chocolate chip flavors as a very special treat
  • Extra-big/juicy raisins – I found jars of these at TJMaxx last year, and the kids went CRAZY for them.
  • “Buddy Fruits Bites” 100% fruit/juice snacks
  • Harry & David pears, fruits
  • A favorite nut butter – Justin’s chocolate hazelnut spread is a favorite of mine, and my husband loves any crunchy peanut butter (I got him a case of this kind for his birthday and he LOVED it)
  • Gourmet popcorn
  • Fair-Trade chocolates
  • Something homemade – cookies, peppermint bark, peanut brittle, pralines, etc.
  • Hot cocoa mixes
  • Mixed nuts or trail mix

For Adults

  • Wine from a favorite vineyard, or craft beer
  • Gourmet coffee
  • Homemade jam, canned tomatoes, or other preserved goods.

Non-Food Consumables

These are fun things to unwrap, but they will be used, and used UP, so they won’t be forever-clutter.

For Kids

For Adults

  • Essential oils
  • Bath salts
  • Bubble bath
  • Nice lotion or moisturizer
  • Hand soap in a favorite scent
  • Clay or cucumber face masks
  • A favorite makeup or nail polish

Your Skills and Time

These are great clutter-free gifts for people you’d love to spend more time with, especially if you have a skill you can share with them or teach them.

Teach a friend or family member:

  • How to knit, crochet, embroider, or sew
  • How to bake your “signature” treat, or cook a favorite meal
  • How to play an instrument
  • How to do pottery

Or:

  • Be a running buddy or coach, personal trainer, or yoga partner
  • Practice using a second language in conversation, if you’re fluent in a language they’re learning
  • If you’re a photographer, give the gift of a photo session.

There you go! Clutter-Free Gifts!

Now you’ve got a whole ton of ideas for what to put on YOUR wish list, if you’re trying to stay clutter-free, and what to give to friends and family members without adding to the clutter of their homes!

Here’s the thing though.

Sometimes people DO want “stuff.” So if you like to give “stuff” and the person wants “stuff,” go for it!

I have a wish list that’s not non-stuff, personally. A lot of camera/video related things, a pair of shoes I really want, a few kitchen things, some of my favorite treats, a specific picnic blanket to replace the one we wore out, things like that. If you’re not sure if your recipient has a wish list, ask!

And sometimes I like to give “stuff” too… I just always try to give thing I know the person actually wants (like from a wish list), or that I’m almost positive they’ll use and enjoy (i.e., it won’t be clutter).

But if there’s any doubt in my mind about whether what I’m thinking of giving will be clutter or not, I try to aim for a clutter-free gift instead.

I’m sure I missed some!

What are your favorite clutter-free gifts to give? To receive?

5 Comments on Clutter-Free Gifts – The Ultimate List

  1. Jamie says:

    What great ideas. Families that already have too much, or ones that want to make a difference can benefit from these! Thank you for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty

  2. […] minimalist families love “clutter-free” gifts and experience gifts. (Here’s my ultimate clutter-free gift list, by the […]

  3. This is a great list, Emily! I have always enjoyed getting gifts like these, from a Highlights subscription when I was young, to fancy tea in my stocking! These kinds of gifts are great because they spark creativity and keep on giving throughout the year!

  4. Rebecca says:

    These are some awesome ideas. I love how you separated adults and kids for each category. Every parent I know complains about the clutter their kids create, so I try to give gifts that are clutter-free, but sometime it can be a challenge. Thanks for the great list.

  5. […] about what sort of gift to give, I lean toward clutter-free options whenever possible. I even wrote The Ultimate List of Clutter-Free Gifts to serve as a reference for future gift-giving […]

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