There are many types of clutter. Almost every client I have worked with had to deal with “Gifted Clutter.” These are the things that don’t really serve a purpose in our lives, but we hold on to simply because someone gave them to us. I usually take this opportunity to not only help them let go of this clutter, but also to teach them how to become Conscious Gifters. So they themselves do not clutter up their loved ones homes with baskets of smelly bath oils or that bulky at-home-donut-maker.
As Mother Day approaches it can be hard to figure out what to gift the woman who holds the whole family together. Here are a few simple guidelines to remember when picking out the “Clutter Free Gift” that is meant to show her how much you appreciate all she does.
1. Avoid seasonal or decorating items for gifts
My grandmother used to collect nut cracker statues. It was a nice touch to the holiday decorations, but soon it became the automatic gift to get GG. The collection rivaled the guest count, and continued to grow. GG’s expression when she opened another one was no longer “Oh how lovely,” but more like “Great...where on earth am I going to put this one?”
- Perhaps the most important reason to refrain from seasonal or decorating items is because they require a place to be stored or displayed. Plus if the gift isn’t really her style, she may feel guilty about hurting your feelings if it's not displayed.
- The exception to this rule is if your gift is replacing something that she needs or has expressed desire for. If every time you walk by Pottery Barn she fawns over that gorgeous coral base lamp, head toward the check-out line.
2. Give an “experience” gift
- Tickets to events, movies, or concerts will leave a lasting impression. Cooking, dance, or art classes make unique gifts that keep on giving.
- Services, like massages, pedicures, or Professional Organizers (ahem) put that fancy wine opener to shame! And give Mom that much needed break.
- Something simple like a well-planned hike with a packed lunch the kids prepared themselves, is sure to be something she’ll remember.
Tip** Groupon, LivingSocial and Gilt City have great “experience” gift ideas.
3. Don’t shy away from gift cards
Giving cash can feel impersonal, plus Moms tend to spend their extra money on everyone else anyway. A gift card will “force” her to find something for herself that she really wants. Or it may force her to spend some time alone. Believe me, she needs it! Plus, knowing that you pay attention to what she likes will make her feel great.
*Remember to pick a place where she can only spend the money on herself – vs. a Target or Trader Joe’s gift card.
Sometimes giving a wrapped present makes a gift feel more personal, but that’s no reason to buy a gift for someone. Go ahead and wrap up the gift card or certificate in a fun box or bag. Or better yet, place it on the tray of her breakfast in bed. Yum!
Remember, the best part about all of these gifts is that they do not require closet, cabinet, or shelf space. Be conscious of your recipient's space. If you hear your Mom complaining about her crowded closet, pass on the cashmere cardigan. If your wife struggles with over-flowing kitchen cabinets, skip on the set of cheese knives. By being a Conscious Gifter you can make this Mother’s Day truly special for that truly special lady!
Coriann Bright is a professional organizer for Bright Living.