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  • Writer's pictureAshleigh

The Clutter-Free Holiday Gift Guide

Do you ever feel stuck trying to find the perfect gift for someone, but also have in the back of your mind the added pressure of not wanting to give someone more stuff?

As a professional organizer, this is one of the most challenging parts of gift giving. I know for myself, that I feel overwhelmed by getting stuff, so putting this on others is the last thing I want to do.

That being said, finding the perfect, clutter-free gift can be challenging, and requires some creativity.

So here are some ideas to get you started:


Give the gift of experience

Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that create lasting memories for years to come. The gift of an experience really comes down to the individual person and what they would find most enjoyable.

Of course, due to COVID-19 this year, some of these options might need to be postponed if no virtual experience is available. Safety first!

Here are some other ideas broken down into categories:

  • Classes and lessons: e.g. cooking classes, music lessons, sports lessons, language classes, art classes, yoga membership

  • Entertainment: e.g. movies, escape rooms, virtual reality, winery/brewery tour, concert tickets (likely in the future), customized photo book

  • Subscriptions/memberships: e.g. magazines, food delivery/meal kits, wild animal adoption/sponsorship, streaming platforms, audio book platform, Rosetta Stone®or other language-learning software

  • Food/drink: e.g. chocolates, bottle of wine/alcohol, home baked goods, dining/takeout gift certificate, edible arrangement


The gift of experience – it can go both ways

Sometimes, the gift of experience can be something that you and the gift receiver(s) can do or share in together.

This year, my family and I, knowing likely we won't be able to spend the holidays together due to COVID, organized a cookie exchange. It was simple, fun, and made us all feel connected. We each made 4 dozen cookies, each a different kind, and all ended up with lots of variety - perfect for those long winter days safe at home.

Planning and being intentional about how you spend time with loved ones is the core of what makes the gift of experience so special and personal.


Re-gifting and letting go – it’s okay to do both

Have you ever been given a gift you know you’ll never use or is just not to your taste?

I ask you to then think about what happens next? Do you end up holding onto that gift, clothing, or home décor item?

Whenever the person comes over, do you begrudgingly drag it out of storage to either wear it, or else pretend that it’s always been a permanent fixture in your living room? Does it make you feel any better to continue this lie, just to spare the feelings of the person?

Of course it doesn’t.

When it comes to the giving and receiving of gifts, the sole purpose of any gift is to be given and received, and once this exchange has taken place, the gift itself has fulfilled its destiny and its job is done. After that, it doesn’t matter what happens to the gift.

So if you think someone else might really appreciate it, then it’s okay to re-gift it or donate it. Either way, let it go.


A quick gift-giving tip:

People typically give gifts that they themselves would like to receive. Seeing as they have already spent their own time and money on this gift, they clearly see its value.

So the next time you’re feeling stumped on what to get that “incredibly-difficult-to-buy-for-person”, take a mental inventory on gifts they have given you in the past – chances are, it’s something they would be happy to receive themselves.

Thanks for reading my Clutter-Free Holiday Gift Guide. I hope it inspires you to “think outside the box” (pun intended) this holiday season and give the gift of experience rather than stuff to your loved ones.

Believe me, they will appreciate the extra thought and the extra space in their home not taken up with clutter.

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