Tips on Giving the Perfect Gift


Confession: I have a love/hate relationship to gift giving. Personally, there’s nothing I like more than opening a beautifully wrapped present. Or the child-like joy of watching someone open up a gift. But as a professional organizer who often helps clients ‘liberate’ gifts they really don’t like, I have a very difficult time giving someone a gift that won’t collect dust. Or worse yet, giving them something they feel obligated to keep.

When I first started changing how I give gifts, I considered a few options:

  • Not giving gifts (decided that was NO FUN!)
  • Give gifts that my friends really, REALLY want. Unfortunately for them, new houses and cars are not in my budget.
  • Make them a handmade “something.” (Candy, cookies, jam… yes! Knitted toilet paper cover… not so much.)
  • Giving gift cards. This can work, but after a while, I realized how often I was giving and receiving gift cards in the same amount!

So, here’s what I recommend:

Get really clear on what’s truly important to your relationship with that person. For me and most of my loved ones, spending time with friends and family is at top of the list. Here are a few ideas for zero-clutter gifts that prioritize time together:

  1. Give them a customized trick & tips class in something you know all about but they struggle with (like technology, gardening, repairing a bicycle, baking, home repairs)
  2. Give a party or plan a potluck.
  3. Suggest going out for cocktails, dinner, or to a place that’s on their “must visit” list. (The latest restaurant? An art exhibit? A new shop?)
  4. Offer to dog-sit or babysit (but only if you love doing that!)
  5. Hire a handyman to fix the switch in their hallway that never gets fixed.
  6. Invite them for mani-pedis.
  7. Help them hang artwork.
  8. Clean out a room in their home or their garage (Maybe not your list, definitely on mine!)

Hope these spark some ideas of your own!


I am a professional organizer, interior designer, and move management specialist rolled into one. Learn more about how I can help you by looking over my services or reading a story or two about how I’ve helped someone with a challenge just like yours.

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