Clutter-Free Holiday Gift Giving

It’s that time of year again when gift-giving is traditional and retailers ramp up their efforts to take full advantage of it. The pressure to find “the perfect gift” for loved ones, acquaintances, and strangers is felt by many. Plenty of material gifts, while appreciated, are actually unwanted for a variety of reasons. They end up cluttering up home storage and creating disorganization because the recipient doesn’t want to part with the gift but also, doesn’t really want it. The rest go to thrift stores, the landfill, or are regifted*. 


*CLICK HERE to decide when it’s ok to regift!


Perfumed soaps, trinkets, lotions and bath bombs may not be to the recipients’ taste. The same goes for holiday and everyday decor items. Unless it is absolutely known that someone wants a particular item of these types in their home, a better, more thoughtful gift can be had.


Here are some clutter-free gift suggestions:


  • Personal services such as spa day, massage, pedicure, housecleaning, Professional Organizing, etc.

  • Gift cards to restaurants, online shopping, big box stores, small specialty stores. If you know where someone likes to shop, you know they will appreciate a gift card from there.

  • Flowers and seasonal arrangements are heartwarming and festive and will not create long term clutter. 

  • Consumables such as fruitcake used to be a traditional gift. Fortunately, we now have a plethora of options that actually taste good! Options include chocolates, freshly baked artisan bread, cookies, wine, and specialty liquors. There is an abundance of pre-wrapped holiday goodies available at this time of year.

  • Offer your own services. You can make handmade or computer-printed “gift certificates” offering to make dinner, take someone out, babysit, etc.

  • Prepare a meal or baked goods. This can be a double gift because if you are a proficient baker or cook, you can pass on your skills to family and friends whose company you enjoy and who like to help.

  • Volunteer your time in their name or for a cause that’s dear to them. Animal shelters, soup kitchens, churches, and nursing homes always need help.

  • Give someone a ride. Do you know an older person who can no longer drive? Would someone you know love to go to the farmer’s market?

  • Make heartfelt phone calls, perhaps in lieu of or in addition to cards. eCards are very beautiful and can be personalized and set to song.

When you do have physical gifts, wrap them with reusable gift bags instead of wrapping paper. Have a bin for storing these bags as you receive them throughout the year and you will always be ready to easily wrap and make any gift a little more festive.

Of course, there are those people in our lives who we really want to buy physical gifts for, so here are some suggested guidelines to think about when deciding what and how much is appropriate. First, ask yourself, ‘who are we buying for and giving gifts to?’ 


For family, friends, and coworkers in your inner circle:

  • Something they want

  • Something they need

  • Something to wear

  • Something to read

  • Something to share

  • Something one-of-a-kind


Friends and coworkers who are more casual acquaintances shouldn’t be stressful or difficult at all. Any of the gifts in the lists above would be most appropriate.


Employees. Taking a survey and finding out each employee’s favorite gift card makes a great strategy. That’s what we do at IOD!


The surprise giver. This is the person who brings you a gift when you didn’t expect it and you have nothing in return. This is where some pre-wrapped gift cards or pretty bags of chocolates really come in handy.


Service Professionals such as the postman and anyone else who does service or delivers things to your home should generally be given a cash tip. A cash envelope from the bank with your note of appreciation on it works and they sometimes have holiday ones at this time of year. You can also purchase these where cards are sold. If there’s any chance of thieves, it’s best to give the cash directly to the recipient. 

If you follow these strategies, and take some of the pressure off of yourself to find the “perfect” gift for everyone, both you and they will be able to relax and enjoy more quality time during the holidays.


Founded in 2009, Ideal Organizing + Design offers professional services in Downsizing, Move Management, Home Organizing, Personal Business Organizing, Office Organizing, Product Services and Interior Space Planning and Styling. Our team of talented and dedicated experts has decades of experience helping countless clients to love their spaces and lifestyles again. 

Contact Ideal Organizers + Design at 757.777.8685 or to learn more!