Father’s Day is on Sunday and it brought to mind my message about avoiding gifts that create clutter. I’ve been writing about that for years in terms of Mother’s Day gifts, but it’s just as true for Father’s Day. Your dad (or husband) probably doesn’t need another tie or bottle of after shave. I thought I’d repeat a post I created last year for Mother’s Day, which actually reprints a newsletter article I wrote in 2007. I’ll share a little secret (because my father doesn’t read my blog): I’ll be giving him cut flowers, like I have been for some years. They brighten his day and and he doesn’t have to find a permanent home for them.
Mother’s Day is just around the corner. Since moms tend to want to hang on to gifts their children give them, I urge you to consider giving her something that won’t become clutter.
Way back in 2007, in the very first edition of my monthly newsletter, I wrote about clutter-free gifts. I think the info bears repeating!
Clutter-Free Gift Giving
So many of my clients develop attachments to inanimate objects. Those attachments make it really hard for the client to part with the objects. And what happens? Clutter happens. I’ve found that clients who tend to get sentimental about stuff find it particularly difficult to part with gifts that have been given them.
This has certainly changed the way I think about gift giving. I personally believe that once I’ve given a gift, the recipient is free to do whatever he or she wants with it. My feelings won’t be hurt if the gift is given away or even thrown away. But I don’t want to clutter up anybody’s life. So I try to give gifts that won’t add to clutter. And I encourage you to think in the same way about gift giving, particularly if anyone on your gift list has a problem with clutter.
Here are some of my favorite ideas for clutter-free giving:
Fresh flowers. A beautiful arrangement of cut flowers livens up any room. After the flowers have died, they can be tossed guilt-free. I try to avoid including a vase with the gift—I’ve seen many a home cluttered by florists’ vases! An easy website for ordering flowers is 1-800-flowers. I’ve also used Proflowers with success. Sometimes I’ll call a local florist in the recipient’s town, if I know of a good one.
Pampering. If you have a friend who would enjoy a little pampering, consider a gift certificate for spa services. Many cities and even towns have day spas. A massage or facial (even for men!) might be something your gift recipient wouldn’t do for him or herself. To find a spa in your gift recipient’s community, try Spafinder.
Services. Give someone the gift of time by offering to perform some needed services for him or her. You could offer a few hours of babysitting, offer to shovel snow, rake leaves, walk dogs or even clean house. If you’re a gardener, offer to do some landscaping. If you’re good with computers, offer to set up a wireless network or make their computer more secure. These gifts are clutter-free and really very special. You can also give a gift certificate for organizing services if you’re sure that the recipient would love to work with a professional organizer.
Clutter-free subscriptions. Giving a magazine subscription is a nice year-long gift, but many people let magazines pile up. Instead, consider giving a subscription to a services like Netflix or Blockbuster Total Access, which send rental DVDs right to your recipient’s home. If your gift recipient likes to listen to the spoken word, a subscription to Audible might be just right.
Edibles. Give something perishable to eat and you know it won’t linger in your gift recipient’s home. You can make homemade goodies, or send a gift package from a place like Wolferman’s, which sells English muffins and specialty breads, or Harry & David for fruit or other editbles. In 2006 Food and Wine published a terrific article on giving edible gifts.
A side benefit to giving an intangible gift is that you don’t have to go out shopping! Let your fingers do the shopping online. And give yourself (and your gift recipient) the peace of mind of not adding clutter to a cluttered world.