Handling Holiday Gift Clutter

For those of us that have been downsizing, minimizing, and generally decluttering the things around us, birthdays and holidays can be tricky to navigate. While you might be in the process of paring down so that you have less to maintain, your family and friends might still be eager to buy you the next best {insert whatever it is here}.

I've talked to several friends about my thoughts on giving and receiving gifts. It can be really hard to educate others on this newer lifestyle change of allowing fewer things into the household while respecting their generosity and desire to give. The biggest challenge I see is that those around us want to celebrate us and show they care through gift-giving while we are still trying to keep clear surfaces, continue purging closets and anything new in the house feels like a step backwards in the organizing process.


If you are feeling anxious about how to handle the potential holiday gift clutter, here are a few tips:

  • Do a pre-holiday purge to make room for a few new gifts that you are planning on getting (or hoping that Santa will send your way)
  • Plan ahead with friends and family on gifting this season - is it an option to draw names in a larger group or do a holiday potluck or happy hour in lieu of gifts? Try to shift the focus to creating a fun experience 
  • Make your list and check it twice! Have a mix of practical and "splurge" items that you would be happy to receive so that you can share these lists with the people in your life that will buy for you no matter what you say (we all know someone!)
  • Accept the gifts with grace - thank the giver, take a picture of the item being worn or in use, and then let it go so that it can find a home where it will be enjoyed/put to use. Also check with the local homeless shelters in your area to find out what items are in demand.

It is 100% ok to let others know that you are more intentional about gets incorporated into your home, that you want to focus on creating less waste, use what you have, whatever your priority is with staying on top of clutter.

What has worked well for you in minimizing holiday gift clutter? What have been your favorite experiences that were gifted to you?