It’s that time of year again that we’re looking for presents for our loved ones. If you’re into decluttering, you might be quite conscious about the gifts you’re buying for people, as you don’t want your presents to become clutter. Here are some tips from me, a Professional Organiser, to minimise the chances that your thoughtful gifts will turn into clutter and will be relegated to the back of the cupboard. Read on for the no clutter gift giving guide by Tidylcious.
Items for daily use
There are items that most people use on a daily basis, or at least regularly, and these type of items can be great gifts.
Years ago, a guest on the Graham Norton Show said that she often asked her family to give her cleaning products. I had never thought of these as gifts, and it was a real eye opener for me. I don’t think cleaning is the most fun activity I can think of, but I do it, because I enjoy having a clean home. When using a cleaning product that has been given to me by someone special, it makes cleaning a bit more fun, and it makes me think of that person quite often. Cleaning products I like buying as gifts are the products by Method as I love the scents, and E-Cloth glass and window cleaning cloths. These type of presents are also great as a home-warming gift.
Brushing teeth is something most of us do very often. Nowadays there are quite fancy oral health care products available. From stylish tooth brushes (yellow handle and blue bristles, Tidylicious-style), to fancy mouth water (the bottles, the flavours!) and special edition tooth paste (sweet and sour rhubarb anyone?). Just like with cleaning products, when you give this to someone, that person will undoubtedly think of you very often. With a broad smile on their face, showing off their beautiful clean teeth!
I bought some earrings the other day which were made from recycled bullet cases from Cambodia. The earrings are pretty, but to me they’ve become even prettier, as it’s an item with a story. Added bonus: it provides an interesting conversation topic at Christmas dinner! I bought these earrings from Magazyn 105 who also stock earrings made from recycled whiskey bottles, sunglasses from fishing nets, reusable shopping bags made from recycled plastic bottles, and many more lovely items that are earth-friendly.
If you like the idea of sustainable gifts, you could go down a very practical route. You could buy some pretty glass pots or other containers and fill them with lovely food from a zero waste shop. Think pasta, nuts, cereal, chocolate, coffee. Or even non-food: cleaning and personal care products. A lovely local shop, run by neighbours of mine, is Art of Zero Living in Greenwich.
Another type of presents that fits well into this category, are eco-friendly, reusable products to replace single-use, disposable items, such as silicone food coverings, silicone muffin/cupcake cases, silicone baking sheets (in case you didn’t realise yet, I love food, and I love colourful (silicone) kitchen items!), water bottle, coffee/tea travel-mug, stainless steel straws, and unpaper towels.
Eat it, use it up or break it
A rule of thumb you could use when looking for gifts that you don’t want to turn into clutter is to make sure the gift is edible, perishable or breakable. These are the wise words of an ex-colleague’s mum.
Edible – think of anything you can eat or drink: chocolate, cheese, tea, coffee, liqueurs, spirits.
Perishable / Use it up – same as above, but also: flowers, candles, perfume, personal care products/make up/nail polish.
Breakable – anything that can “accidentally” be dropped on the floor and shatter to pieces…… If someone doesn’t like the vase you’ve given them, they can either really drop it or give it to charity and tell you they’ve dropped it if it’s too hard for them to admit they didn’t like your present. This suggestion is in here more as a joke, but who knows, it might be helpful!
Any physical item can turn into clutter, so as part of this no clutter gift giving guide I’d like to suggest some non-physical gifts:
– Give an experience. Buy a gift card or tickets for the theatre, a concert, sports event. Or a yearly membership to a zoo, museum, National Trust, English Heritage. Or treat someone to a manicure/pedicure, massage, spa, sky-diving, racecar driving.
– Pay for a course they’re interested in, e.g. bread making, art class, music lessons, learn a language, cooking skills. A couple of years ago, I gave a Virtuous Bread baking course to my husband, which he loved and I now get to enjoy all his bakes. It’s all about giving and receiving!
– Donate to charity. Quite often, when you donate to a charity as a gift to someone else, the charity sends out a little present, such as a toy elephant when you adopt an elephant through WWF, monthly postcards from Paddington when you support Unicef’s work for children around the world, chocolates when you give a super goat, running water or education for girls via Oxfam.
– Give money or a gift card, so that the person can choose something themselves. That could still become clutter, but this reduces the chances!!
– Give someone the gift of a clutter-free, organised home. Tidylicious offers tidying sessions in-person and online, so even though I’m based in Lewisham/Greenwich, my services are not for people in south east London only.
You can keep the above tips and suggestions in mind when looking for (Christmas) presents for children, but here are some extra tips, specifically for when you’re buying gifts for children.
First, I’d like to share some wise words from Gemma Bray, a.k.a. The Organised Mum:
It is much better to buy one or two much-wanted presents than lots of bits that will never get played with again. If you are worried that the present piles won’t be big enough, try this: go and ask your kids to write down what they got for Christmas last year. I bet they won’t be able to remember half of it, so try not to overthink it.
When I buy presents for my children, I try to think in categories, and buy a maximum of one gift per category. Buying something in each category is not necessary! Examples of categories: toys, clothes, books, arts and crafts, (board) games, personal care (my kids love a new toothbrush), sports/outdoor activities, food/drink (I just bought hot chocolate in three different colours – it’s for my children, but I’m very excited about this myself!).
To finish off this no clutter gift giving guide, I’d like to share Mother Tesera’s wise words that it’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving. Try and enjoy looking for gifts, and put some love into it.
It’s a bit early still, but as I had Christmas in mind when writing this post, I’d like to wish you an amazing festive season.
None of the links in this article are sponsored.