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90 Clutter-Free Gift Ideas

The following post is from Rachel of The Minimalist Mom: 90 Clutter-Free Gift Ideas

Are you getting complaints that you’re impossible to buy for since you de-cluttered your home and possessions?

Or do you have a simple living enthusiast in your life that you’re struggling to find a gift?

Here is a list of 90 clutter-free gifts to give and receive this holiday season.

Things to nibble, sip, read, watch, learn, laugh, smell, relax, pamper, sweat through, and love. Nothing to dust.


Gifting something to eat or drink is a great way to introduce a friend to a treasured delicacy. The recipe links here are from some of my favorite food writers. The peppermint bark is divine, and I made many, many batches of the biscotti as favors for my wedding.

  • Wine
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate, Cheese, Fruit, Wine of the Month Club membership
  • Flowers or Plants
  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share or membership
  • Homemade Baking: peppermint bark, biscotti (keeps well), peanut brittle,
  • Homemade Food Gifts: soup ingredients in a jar, dessert ingredients in a jar, make your own Smores, hot chocolate mix, trail mix, peanut butter granola, a frozen meal that you have prepared with them in mind and that they can thaw out for an easy and delicious dinner amid the holiday busyness.

Experience Gifts

Tip: if you receive an experience gift, send a review and some more gratitude to the person post-use. It will make the gift feel tangible and encourage more experience gift-giving.

  • Tickets to a play, movie, event, or concert
  • Season pass or annual membership to a museum, art gallery, aquarium, science center, amusement park, or zoo. Own a watery pet, and gift a red sea aquarium to make them feel good.
  • Tickets or passes for ice skating, swimming, skiing, snowshoeing, and indoor rock climbing.
  • Own a holiday property? Gift a few nights to a friend or relative.
  • Own a boat? Give an afternoon out on the lake in the summer.
  • Massage
  • Spa Treatment

Gift Cards

Look into local stores that the recipient enjoys. Things like small cafes, specialty stores, hobby stores, or perhaps a prepaid punch card for a drop-in yoga class.

The other way to put more meaning behind a gift card is to attach a note suggesting what the card could be used for. Ex. iTunes Gift Card: I know you’ve wanted an album ______ – here it is! or for an electronics store gift card: a little something to help with the iPod you’ve been saving up for.

  • iTunes Gift Card
  • ZipCar Membership *gift your friend the opportunity to try out car-sharing
  • Fuel Gift Card (for their winter road trip!)
  • Bookstore Gift Card
  • Kindle Gift Card
  • Amazon Gift Card This is pretty much the gift card for everything and anything. Include a note with a suggested purchase.
  • Starbucks Gift Card For your friend that refuses to get their morning java anywhere else.

For Your Partner/Spouse

You probably know them best, so what’s the one thing your partner always asks you for more of?

  • Massage (by the giver) Gift Certificate
  • Sleep-In Tickets Great if you have children or a dog that needs walking in the early morning.
  • Foot Rub Tickets
  • Romantic Letter Tell the person you love why you love them. Thank them for all that they do for you. I have a small box of letters my husband sent me when we were dating and all the ones since. I love to read them again once or twice a year.
  • Chore Tickets Take over some household duties for your significant other. These don’t have to be big jobs like painting a bathroom. It could be as simple as doing their laundry or packing a lunch. Half the fun of the gift will be your spouse thinking up elaborate and hilarious chores before they simply ask you if you could unload the dishwasher.

Share Your Expertise

Everyone has some expertise, and chances are they also have a friend who wants to learn whatever the skill is. From baking bread to making homemade yogurt to decoupage to using PhotoShop, many of us have talents and knowledge that would make excellent clutter-free and useful gifts to our friends.

This is a gift that you should feel quite confident in giving. Perhaps the recipient has mentioned a few times that they would like you to show them how to start a blog or knit socks. Make a nice card up detailing the gift and even suggest some dates that you’re available.

  • Sewing
  • Knitting
  • Baking
  • Cooking
  • Blogging
  • Music Lessons
  • Running
  • Yoga
  • Personal Taxes If you’re one of those who enjoys filing taxes, people like me offer to help a friend that loathes the paperwork.

Helping Out

Who couldn’t use an extra set of hands for a project? Offering your help for a big task is a wonderful gift for friends and family.

Be sure to offer an amount of time that you can reasonably fit into your schedule.

  • Babysitting
  • Pet Sitting
  • Painting
  • Renovation Help
  • House Sitting

Digital Gifts

It’s true. These gifts could clutter up a hard drive or someone’s spare time. But they are clutter-free gifts that won’t clutter the home, so I’m including them here.

  • Digital Subscription to the New York Times or another newspaper/magazine
  • Netflix Subscription
  • Flickr Pro Account For the photographer in your life.
  • Kindle Book. If you have a Kindle owner to give to, you can give them a book for their Kindle by selecting “Give as Gift” on Amazon Kindle book descriptions. Personally, I’d love to receive 168 Hour: You Have More Time Thank You Think by Laura Vanderkam.


Listen carefully to your friends and loved ones. They’ll often mention things that are on their life list or bucket list. Usually, it’s prefaced with “someday I’d like to learn to _____,” and the person will get all wistful.

Here is your chance to help them learn something new and strike something off their bucket list.

If you decide to give the gift of learning, think about how and when the recipient will use the gift. Look for courses that run in sessions year-round and that will hold tuition for at least a year.

  • Dance
  • Language
  • Voice
  • Music
  • Horseback Riding
  • Cooking
  • Pottery
  • Painting
  • Writing

Charitable Gifts

When you keep hearing the phrase “I have everything I need,” consider the gift of a charitable contribution.

  • Donation to their favorite charity in their name.
  • Goat, ducks, clean water, honeybees, send a girl to school, small business start-up cash, and so much more to people in a developing nation through Heifer International.
  • The Salvation Army
  • Hurricane Sandy Relief – Red Cross

An End to Traditional Gift Giving

What a relief when you finally agree not to exchange gifts with a friend after years of passing the same wine, chocolates, bath soaps, and candles back and forth. Here are some more suggestions to end or replace traditional gift-giving

  • One Less Gift gift certificate from Miss Minimalist.
  • Potluck Dinner Replace a gift exchange or expensive restaurant celebration with a potluck dinner.
  • Just say it. Tell someone that they’re important to you, but you’d like to stop exchanging gifts and find another way to mark the importance of your friendship. They’ll be as relieved as you are not to have another name on the to-buy-for list.

What clutter-free gift would you like to give or receive this year?

Rachel Jonat is a world medalist rower turned marketing professional turned SAHM/writer. At The Minimalist Mom, Rachel writes about living a rich life with less stuff. Currently living on a windswept island in the middle of the Irish Sea, Rachel owns two pairs of jeans, loves taking the bus and is attempting to become a tea drinker.