Gift giving can be stressful for both the gift giver and the recipient. As a gift giver, you want to find just the right, perfect thing. As a recipient, you may feel stressed out by the thought of finding places for these new things. If your favorite person happens to like non clutter gifts or if you are looking to simplify your family gift giving, then welcome! This is the guide for you. :)
Stuff and gifts are tricky because what one person calls clutter, another person may not.
To me, the definition of a non-clutter gift would be experiences or things that are: fun, useful, can make you smile, make you happy, or are meaningful. Here is a list of ideas that I think almost everyone will enjoy.
Experience Gifts: These are fun, local, and can often be purchased at a discounted rate. Ask for their multi-visit rate or check Groupon (or any other deal site) for special offers. This list could be a post in itself, but here are some of our favorites:
- Mini Golf
- Trampoline Park
- Water Park Passes
- Theme Park Passes
- Indoor Water Park Pass
- Inflatable Jump Park
- Movie Passes
- Tickets to a Sporting Event
- Concert Tickets
- Trip to Chuck E. Cheese + Tokens.
- Trip to Arcade + Quarters/Tokens.
- Indoor Rock Climbing Passes.
- Indoor Play Zone Passes.
- Gymnastics Lessons
- Swimming Lessons
- Cooking Class or Lessons
- Museum Passes.
Museum or Zoo Memberships: These usually will last about a year and are great if you’re buying for a family or several kids. If you don’t think a membership card is exciting enough, try pairing it with a small toy they can open. Ideas include:
- Science Museum Membership + Science Experiment Kit. We like Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.
- Zoo Membership + Jumbo Plastic Jungle Animals. We love these sets, high pitched voices while playing included.
- Aquarium Membership + Bath Toys or Jumbo Ocean Animals.
- Planetarium Membership or Passes + Telescope. We like the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, but you might find a local community college or university with one too.
- Children’s Museum Membership + Art Supplies. Children’s museums are so fun, the promise of going often might just be enough. :) We like the Dupage Children’s Museum in Naperville.
- Amusement Park Membership. No other gift needed, you’re clearly going to score some cool points here.
- Water Park Membership + Water Toys, Squirt Gun, or Bathing Suit.
- DVDs. We don’t have as many now that we have Netflix, but I will buy movies that we enjoyed when renting from the library. These include Disney movies and anything from Leapfrog.
- Books. Always. :)
- iTunes gift cards. These are great for apps, extra packs in educational games, or their favorite songs on repeat.
- Movie or TV show Soundtracks. Find these on iTunes and search by character/show/movie. We have Frozen, Cars, Thomas and Friends, Dinosaur Train and it’s a great alternative to watching a movie or show. Pair them with some guys and your kids will have a blast acting songs out!
Art Supplies: These are great because they actually get used. To save money and reduce clutter, look more to actual supplies rather than kits. This way you can replace the supplies as they are used. Here are some favorites we have/are getting:
- Anything from the IKEA MALA line. I love IKEA’s simple toys and their art supplies are no exception. Here you’ll find big rolls of paper, paintbrushes, an easel, perler beads, paint, construction paper, and plenty more.
- Target’s Kid Made Modern Line. Simple design, fun kits, and no extra trip required.
- Dollar Store. Some of our favorites are pom-poms, popsicle sticks, glue sticks, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, paper, markers, coloring books. Just be sure to organize them into zip bags or containers and give the kids a spot to store them.
- Blank Books. I found these at Michaels recently! My kids love to make their own books out of stapled paper and I’m excited to try these out.
- Other resources: Constructive Playthings, Michaels, or Dick Blick.
Non Clutter Toys: When you’re trying to simplify, toys aren’t bad! I define non-clutter toys as those that last, are a set that can be built on, promote free play, or are played with a ton. These also can be bought second-hand as they can be expensive and/or built to last. My kids are all under 6, but here are some of our favorites:
- Legos. We have a few sets with favorite characters, but I like adding onto them with big buckets of Lego pieces. Here is a big bucket of Duplo (watch for Black Friday deals!) and a big bucket of the tiny Legos that hurt your feet.
- Train Sets. These are a favorite in this house. I have bought the tracks cheap at Aldi, IKEA, second-hand, or a big set like this on Amazon and then add in their favorite Thomas characters or other wooden trains. Also check Craigslist for complete sets, or the little 25 cent bins at garage sales for the Thomas cars.
- Magna-tiles. Santa might be bringing these or Playmags for Christmas. You can go with big sets or add on small sets.
- Dress-up or Costumes.
- Blocks. As old school as these may seem, my kids still play with them and I still add to them. I’ve heard these wooden stick blocks are a big hit with older kids.
- Guys and Animals. My kids love playing with “guys” and animals that they use as guys. I’ve bought the characters from Daniel Tiger, this 6 person set of people from Frozen, Spiderman or other Dollar Store people, doll house people, Lego guys, and together they all live in one bin.
- Pattern Blocks and Boards: These are a set from Melissa and Doug, but you can also buy a huge bin of just the tangram blocks for the same price.
- Math Sets and Toys.
- Cash register and play money.
- Other learning sets and games. We have a few from this brand and they get played with often!
- Kitchen toys.
- Dress up and costumes.
Active Play Toys: It’s always good to be active. These can be used indoors during the winter or outside.
- Razor Scooters. We have two of these for ages 4+ and the kiddie version for younger kids.
- Balance Beam.
- Play Mats.
- PlasmaCar. Keep an eye on Amazon and Walmart! These have been going on sale.
- Sports Balls. I like these soft ones for inside play.
- Kid Friendly Tool Set. A friend gave her son some tools, scrap wood, and gave him a little workshop area and he LOVED IT. I loved helping my dad in the workshop as a kid, so why not start them early?
Like I said above, non-clutter gifts are tricky because clutter is defined differently for every person! Here are a few things that might appeal to almost anyone.
Night Out Package: Every year my sister gives me the gift of babysitting and every year I look forward to it. Offer to take your recipient’s kids for a night, come to help during the day, or even Saturday afternoon for project completion. Couple it with a gift card to a restaurant or cuisine you know they enjoy.
Streaming Subscription: These days streaming movies or shows online is the way to go. Pay for a yearly subscription or a few months worth of Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Prime. Bonus! Some of these can be shared across family members.
Black Garbage Bags: Totally joking! If the person on your list (or you) likes to declutter, you might go through a lot of these. I know I do, especially with the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge. But don’t give these as a gift. :)
Bluetooth speaker: We have had this Bluetooth speaker for over a year and have given a few out as gifts. The sound quality is awesome, it has been reliable (unlike other ones we’ve gone through), and you can’t beat the price.
Minimalist Keychain: I saw this and thought it was cool! My keychain is a big honking mess, why not streamline it? Would make a nice stocking stuffer.
Adobe Lightroom: This is one of the best gifts I have ever received and it’s something I wish I had bought many years ago. This program is VERY user friendly, WAY easier to use than Photoshop, and will transform your photos instantly. I can’t recommend it enough. The link is to purchase a monthly subscription, but paying full price for the software is worth it.
Heart Shaped Photo Art: I love this piece from Minted, available in a print or framed. Perfect for candid Instagram photos and the style would appeal to anyone on your list!
Photo Calendar: These would be great as a treat for yourself or for grandparents!
Organizing Supplies or Gift Card: One year I got labels in my stocking and it was awesome. If someone on your list likes to organize, give a gift card to IKEA, The Container Store, World Market, Staples, or even Target packaged with a pretty container, basket, or tiny mint garbage can (why not?).