Posts Tagged ‘clutter’

gift card wrapping ideas
Gift card wrapping idea by So Shelli

I love choosing gifts for loved ones. But it can be tricky if your recipient:

  • struggles with clutter
  • has expressed desire to unclutter
  • lives far away from you
  • lives in a small space
  • is in a temporary living situation (eg dorm)
  • is moving soon or moves frequently
  • says they don’t need/want presents
  • is a person who ‘has everything’

I’ve had to buy for people in all of these situations (and am in a couple of them myself) so I thought I’d do a roundup of some no-clutter gift ideas to follow up from yesterday’s worst clutter gifts post.

Tickets

Who wouldn’t want to be gifted a special night out?

  • Concerts
  • Movies
  • Theatre
  • Art exhibitions

Experiences

Experiences make wonderful and memorable gifts. Great for kids who have more than enough toys!

  • Zoo trip
  • Golf session
  • Travel voucher
  • Wine tasting

Classes

A great option but you’ll have to be sure it’s something the recipient is interested in and that they have time for it.

Services

Services can be some of the best uncluttered gifts. Choose from me-time treats or time-saving practical options, depending on what your recipient would appreciate most.

  • Hairdressing
  • Manicure / pedicure
  • Massage
  • House cleaning
  • Car washing

IOUs

A homemade voucher is an especially good gift for new parents or if you are on a tight budget. I provided some meals to my friend after the birth of her first baby last year and she’s still talking about it as one of the most appreciated gifts.

  • Homemade meal
  • Babysitting
  • House cleaning
  • Car washing
  • Preparing taxes
  • House painting
  • Gardening

Consumables

An oldie but a goodie. Make sure they’re nicer than your normal plonk or biccies they would buy for themselves.

  • Wine
  • Spirits
  • Chocolates / sweets
  • Chutneys / jams / sauces

Digital media

Books, music and movies used to be some of the worst clutter offenders. Not anymore!

Charitable donation

A particularly good option if your recipient is known for their social conscience, is a bit older and ‘has everything’ or is experiencing a bereavement (as an alternative to flowers). The ones where you can sign up for a particular thing are good – a pair of slippers wouldn’t have meant much to my auntie but she was chuffed knowing that someone had been given the gift of sight in her name. Select a charity that resonates with the interests of your loved one. Here are a few:

Gift cards / cash

Obviously they could end up buying something ‘cluttery’ with it but the choice is theirs.

Tangible gifts

If you’re like me and prefer giving tangible gifts, there are still ways to keep it uncluttered.

  • To replace something else if you think they would appreciate it (eg a new lamp to replace a broken one, bonus points if it’s a versatile item that can replace more than one thing)
  • Something they need and would buy anyway, such as clothes (consider making it better quality than they would buy for themselves so it still feels special)
  • Something that will help get them organised (eg labels, scanner, calendar)
  • Chip in with others to purchase one more substantial or better quality item (give the newlyweds one kick-arse coffee machine instead of 20 platters)
  • Flowers!

So, what do you think? Anything you’d add to the list?

What are your favourite uncluttered gifts to give and receive?

P.S. Happy birthday to The Man!! The last year of our twenties and I’m sure it’ll be a good one. xxoo

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cake pop dual dipper

So it’s Birthday Month here on Atypical Type A so there’s a lot of talk about beautiful gifts. But what about bad gifts? Specifically, gifts that are merely clutter disguised with a pretty bow.

Some might be perfectly fine gifts but are completely impractical for the recipient due to size or lifestyle. The Man and I actually received a bain marie as a wedding present from a well-meaning relative, the box touting that it was suitable for conference catering. CONFERENCES! There are two of us. In a unit. With limited kitchen storage. And no dishwasher. Any more than six guests and we are ordering pizza.

Others are ridiculously specific unitaskers that simply take up cupboard space to be used once or twice (if that). Take this Cake Pop Dipper (dual, no less!) I spotted on Unclutter for example: I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t just use a microwave, double-boiler even just a bowl over a simmering saucepan, which is how I melt chocolate. Of course, you will also need the Cake Pop Maker itself (regular or deluxe flip-over version, your choice), and possibly a Cake Pop MultiFunction (!!) Decorating Station, just in case you can’t work out how to turn on your oven or put sprinkles in a bowl.

(Sorry, rant over.)

So, generally clutteriffic gifts will fall under one of these categories:

  • Something big (does your apartment-dwelling brother have room for a four-burner barbecue?)
  • Something they won’t use frequently (sure a paint sprayer might be handy but I would simply borrow my parents’ if we needed it)
  • Something that’s not to their taste (how often have you kept something out of guilt?)
  • Something they don’t have anywhere to store (cupcake towers might be cute but I literally would not have anywhere to store one)
  • Something that doesn’t suit their lifestyle (don’t give your friend with a full-time job and three little kids a slow-food cookbook with four-hour recipes)
  • Something that has only one use (unitaskers such as popcorn/muffin/hotdog makers where existing kitchen basics would suffice)

Of course, your sister might really want that ice-cream maker/leaf blower/vase which is great, go ahead! But always keep in mind the home, needs and lifestyle of your loved one before buying a gift.

Tomorrow we’ll be talking about the best uncluttered gifts. Til then, give yourself a laugh by browsing the archives of Unclutterer’s Unitasker Wednesday.

Share in the comments your stories about gifts-turned-clutter.

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I think you’ll all agree when I say that paperwork is one of the biggest clutter culprits in most homes. ‘Going paperless’ is a semi-regular series on eliminating paper from your home in order to save time, reduce clutter and benefit the environment.

Step 1: Prevention

magazine pile

OK so it might not be as annoying as junk mail or bills, but even mail that you have signed up for can add to the paper clutter in your home. Here are some tactics to keep your subscriptions under control:

Cancel everything you don’t actually read
An obvious one, but worth repeating. We can easily fall into the trap of keeping receiving subscriptions out of habit or because to stop them would require some effort. Are there newspapers that you simply don’t have time to read? Or perhaps magazines that sit around for the whole month before you get around to having a quick flip through? Sounds like you wouldn’t miss them.

Go digital
Most newspapers (and an ever increasing amount of magazines) now offer digital subscriptions in addition to the traditional print options. Personally I like curling up on the couch with a fresh glossy or the day’s crossword, so this option is not going to suit everyone. But if you’ve ever had to wrangle a broadsheet newspaper on a crowded bus then I’m sure you could certainly see the appeal of switching to a news app on your iPad!

Get off mailing lists
Despite zero involvement, I was receiving letters from my university alumni for a good five years beyond my graduation before I finally got around to removing myself from their mailing list. Come on, you know you’ve got those too: that professional association you never go to, that theatre you went to once, your old hairdresser, the junior basketball league and now your kids are in their twenties… Yep, those. Cancel them.

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before&after.gif

Under stairs before Under stairs after

We’ve had a teensy issue under our stairs. Bear in mind that this is not hidden in some rarely used corner, it’s right in the middle of our small open-plan living/dining room.

It started when The Man and I got engaged, oh, almost two years ago. We (er, I…) started collecting decorations for the engagement party, then the wedding. After the wedding the boxes just, well, stayed there.

I have sloooowly been picking away at the pile, donating something here, repurposing something there. Until finally, miracle of miracles, it is now back to how it should be and I’m no longer ashamed to have anyone see it.

Does anyone else have that one problem area in your home? Please tell me I’m not the only one.

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A collection of pretty meets practical ideas to inspire a happier home

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