Father’s Day: Another tie?

As a fairly new father, I’m looking forward to spending time with my daughter on Father’s Day and having the pleasure of her company. A Father’s Day gift is the last thing on my mind since things like walking, driving, and income earning aren’t on her radar. So, why am I writing about Father’s Day gifts? It’s to steer you away from giving the gift that you might usually get for your dad. Forget about getting another tie, golf shirt, or power tool. Why not take your dad out to dinner? If your dad is anything like mine, he never lets me pay, and you can take advantage of Father’s Day by insisting that he allow you to pick up the bill.

Always consider a consumable rather than adding to his tie collection. If he is a golfer, buy a few rounds of golf for him. Better yet, if you golf too this is a great opportunity for you to spend some time with him and you can cover the greens fees. Maybe go to a course he’s never been to or that you know he loves.

Take him out to the ballgame. What better way to spend a Father’s Day then to take in the sights, sounds, and tastes of the ballpark? Whether it is a Major League Baseball game or a local minor league park there aren’t many more perfect venues to kick back with dad.

Does anyone have any unique gift ideas for Father’s Day? Feel free to share them in the comments.

Did you forget about Valentine’s Day?

vday-bearMy wife and I never observe the whole Valentine’s Day thing. Partly because we have an important anniversary date right around V-Day and partly because we don’t really find the whole holiday very romantic. That’s just us. To each his own. If you’d like to shower your loved one with romance and terms of endearment go right ahead, but don’t let February 14th give you the excuse to go out and buy anything red just to make it look like you made an effort.

If you don’t put any thought into what you are giving your significant other, then that probably leaves you scrambling to find something at the last minute. That may lead you to purchasing something like the teddy bear pictured with this post. Convenience stores and gas stations love to display this stuff prominently this time of year. If you would like some ideas on what gift to give, check out our Gift Giving Guide. It was intended for Christmas, but it can still be used for any gift giving occasion.

Holiday giving to others beyond your close family and friends

During the holidays, I would love to give something to everyone in my book club, my knitting guild, my neighborhood, my co-workers, etc.–but that just isn’t a possibility. See, I do not have bank accounts overflowing with cash like Warren Buffet or Bill Gates, so I can’t always give as much as I would like to give. When it comes to giving gifts beyond my close family and friends, I’ve discovered many ways to give that continue the generous spirit:

  • Baked goods. Easy to make, inexpensive, fun, consumable.
  • Secret Santa. Group members draw names and then buy gifts for only the person whose name has been drawn.
  • Homemade, useful, themed gifts. Book club members get homemade bookmarks, co-workers get homemade velcro cord ties to curb cable clutter, etc.
  • Group charity. Instead of everyone bringing gifts for each other, the group sponsors a needy family or gives a needed item to a local charity.

The list of ideas is seemingly endless. I’m identifying these ideas just to get your creative juices flowing. You’ll notice that I don’t suggest “white elephant” type gift exchanges because often they produce unwanted clutter. If you don’t want the singing, plastic, wall-mounted fish, it’s pretty likely your friends or co-workers don’t want it either.

Please feel welcome to post additional ideas in the comments!

2007 Unclutterer Gift Giving Guide wrap up

We hope that this year’s Gift Giving Guide has provided you with uncluttered inspiration. Here’s a wrap up of all of our suggestions for 2007. Remember, as you create your lists for others, to consider the impact of your gifts this holiday season!

2007 Unclutterer Gift Giving Guide:

We’re already looking forward to next year’s guide and unearthing even more uncluttered solutions. Happy Holidays!

2007 Gift Giving Guide: Online giving

This installment of the Unclutterer Gift Giving Guide explores the virtual world of online subscriptions.

Subscription services like Consumer Reports, Lexis-Nexis, and a flickr Pro account make great gifts. As opposed to physical subscriptions, these online services keep clutter out of your gift recipient’s home.

A subscription to Audible is a great option for book lovers on your list. Music lovers might enjoy a gift certificate to iTunes. For movie enthusiasts, you might consider Amazon’s Unbox or TiVo-Unbox pre-payments.

In the past, I also would have suggested The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. The New York Times is now free to the public, and rumors are flying about The Wall Street Journal heading that way, too. So, those are off the list.

Flower of the month and fruit of the month clubs are subscriptions that allow you to give something tangible throughout the year, but impermanent additions to a home–and you can order them from the comfort of your home.

When you are trying to keep clutter out of your gift recipients’ homes, consider virtual gift options.

2007 Gift Giving Guide: Experience giving

My father is tough to crack. My wife and I constantly ask my mother what to get him for his birthday, or in this case, the holidays. She never gives us anything to go on, so we generally fall back on some kind of golf gadget or a fashionable golf shirt.

My father golfs a lot and he has his fair share of golf equipment, so this year we are not going to add to his golf clutter. Instead, we are going to give the gift of an experience. The gift could be anything from a gift certificate for his favorite restaurant or a bunch of passes to the local movie theater.

Preferred experiences may vary from person to person. Here is a list of ideas that will not add clutter to their post-holiday lives:

Pampering: Purchase a gift certificate for a facial, massage, pedicure or manicure. Or, go for broke, and get an all inclusive spa treatment package.

Events: Give the gift of the performing arts. Purchase tickets for a play, a concert, or a musical. If the person isn’t into the performing arts they may really enjoy some tickets to a sporting event.

Food: Either go the restaurant gift certificate route or purchase some gourmet food from any number of gourmet food sellers.

Adventures: If the person you are buying for is adventurous, try to set up a river rafting trip or a hiking trip. Consider giving them the unforgettable experience of a skydiving lesson!

Obviously, these suggestions are limited by your budget, but you can be creative and give something that won’t add clutter. Your gift also will supply them with memories to cherish.

2007 Gift Guide: Consumable giving

If you love to wrap gifts and watch people unwrap them, then gifts that can be consumed might be your preference. Giving others gifts that can be used up and are necessary are ways to fill the need of giving something tangible during the holidays.

Here are some ideas to get you headed in the right direction:

Kitchen idea #1: Ziplock bags, aluminum foil, parchment paper, wax paper, paper towels, sponges, and a silicon oven mitt.

Kitchen idea #2: A collection of quality, fresh spices from a local merchant or a reputable online vendor (like Penzeys).

Garden idea: Bulbs and seeds for flowers or a garden.

Shower idea: The recipient’s favorite shampoo, bath bombs (like the ones at Lush), luffa, scented shower gel, and exfoliating scrub.

Garage idea: Motor oil, windshield wiper fluid, large garbage bags, leather palmed work gloves, and a gift certificate to the local bicycle shop covering the cost of a spring maintenance.

Gifts that can and will be eventually used are terrific ideas for people who enjoy giving gifts that can be touched and opened. Feel welcome to add to this list with your own ideas in the comments section!

2007 Gift Giving Guide: Ultimate generosity

When people ask me what is the single best organization tool I own, I do not hesitate to say the Fujitsu ScanSnap (I own a Mac version, but there is also one Vista compatible for the PC). I purchased it while doing research for Unclutterer’s Paper clutter begone! series, and continue to be fully satisfied with the purchase. It is definitely the single best organization product I have purchased this year.

Until I purchased it, paper clutter was my biggest thorn in my side. My desk was stacked with piles and piles of papers to be sorted and filed. My filing cabinet was crammed to its breaking point. My office was a complete disaster. The ScanSnap actually changed the way I do work and manage my home office.

If you’re looking to give the ultimate organization gift this holiday season, I strongly recommend considering the Fujitsu ScanSnap (Mac and PC). Also, if you don’t have one, you may think about sneaking it onto your list!

2007 Gift Giving Guide: Charitable giving

Holidays 2007What do you give the person who has everything? You don’t. Instead, you can give to people who don’t have everything in the name of the person who does.

There are endless lists of organizations you can give to financially and with your time and talents in someone else’s honor. Compiled here are a handful of organizations to inspire you in your search for charitable groups that suit your recipients:

Additionally, check out the Better Business Bureau’s Tips on Charitable Giving page for helpful suggestions. Websites like Charity Navigator and Charity Watch also can provide valuable background research for your giving.

Gift guide for the 2007 holiday season

Holidays 2007Over the course of the next couple weeks, we are going to be exploring uncluttered gifts you may want to consider for your holiday giving. Each post in the series will focus on a type of gift, like charitable giving or experience gifts, and will contain a number of suggestions on that theme.

When we were preparing the guide, one question kept coming up in conversation: How will it impact the recipient? Eventually, that question led us to develop the central focus for this year’s guide.

As you are preparing your shopping list for the holiday season, consider the impact your gift will have on its recipient. Will the recipient use the gift on a regular basis? Is this something the recipient truly needs? Will the recipient have to sacrifice substantial storage space for the gift? Will the gift inevitably become clutter? Can I find a gift instead that is perfect for the recipient that has no possibility of becoming clutter?

We hope that the coming gift giving posts will be a helpful guide during the holiday season. Stay tuned for our uncluttered gift ideas!