As an organizer, I deal with people's clutter year-round. Among this clutter is usually a TON of gifts my client has received from a loved one that isn't their style or they do not really have a use or space for, but they feel obligated to hold on to out of guilt or fear of hurt feelings.
The last thing we want to do when we give a gift is place pressure on that person and create guilt and negative emotions.
This year I challenge all of us to make a resolution early - to make our holiday gift-giving clutter (and guilt) free.
Here are a few ideas for some clutter-free gifts you can give the person who really does have it all (or wants to have less):
Paying for services to improve the home, relax and de-stress them or help out with difficult chores can be a great gift that will be remembered for years to come. Professional Organizers, maids, carpet cleaners, handymen and more will often accept prepayment for services as a gift.
Educational memberships or classes give knowledge that lasts forever. Adult education classes such as your local community college often offer a broad range of classes from QuickBooks training to belly dancing. Arts organizations often have anything from photography to acting classes available. Memberships to Toastmasters or a gym have benefits that outlast the usual holiday gift. You can also choose online classes through specific businesses or membership sites like LinkedIn Learning (link: https://linkedin-learning.pxf.io/Library) (While you’re there – check out some of my courses such as “Going Paperless From Start to Finish.” This is an affiliate link, just to help me pay the bills. It won’t affect how much you’re charged.)
Memories last longer than things – and take up no space! Why not give a gift of experience. Send them for a ride in a race car, or a sunset boat cruise. Maybe a trip to the zoo or a concert is more their style. There are TONS of things to do. For ideas check out Groupon.com for local experiences, als visit the website for your local arts groups, state and local parks, local festivals ane more.
If in doubt, give a home-made coupon. You can offer a day of doing their chores, brunch & pedicures together, a fun day with family at the beach or family portraits to be taken. There are many ways to present coupons like this, from simply giving the brochure or webpage printout to creating a scavenger hunt or symbolic object (such as a Rubbermaid bin to symbolize an organizing gift.) Make sure the object is useful and does not add to the clutter, though!
Create your own coupons ideas (just a few):
Ways to give a small gift certificate or coupon:
Grandparents and loved ones will really appreciate photos of the kids or family. Create a flash drive of photos or give a pre-stocked digital photo frame with pictures of the grandchildren already loaded in. Digital frames often use media cards – you can easily mail a new card periodically with more photos they can easily pop into the frame. Or choose a wireless frame that you can send photos to through the internet. (This is great for anyone in Assisted Living as well.) You can also de-clutter by transferring their favorite old photos, slides, VCR tapes or film they have to CD or DVD through a local transfer service. I did this with my family and each Christmas transferred one reel to reel to DVD and gave each of us a copy. We loved watching the DVD together each year and now we are happy to know our favorite memories are much safer and more accessible.
You can also open an account and invest or save money for their future. This is great for small children especially.
Remember - a good clutter-free gift does not include an item to store, it does create happy memories, should fit their personality type and interests and should not require an extra outlay of money on their part. (If the event requires parking, food or additional expenses feel free to give cash with it to cover these expenses.) When purchasing any tickets or certificates in advance find out about the return/exchange policy.
Hopefully these will also spark some ideas of your own - and lead you to a reduced stress and clutter free holiday season!
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