Make your own clutter free gifts

by Jo
(Kent, UK)

I subscribe to a newsletter about keeping your home clean and tidy and one of the main themes is to keep clutter at bay.

When you're choosing gifts for others it's easy to fall into the trap of choosing something that's cute or that you personally like or that is trendy.

The problem with gifts like this is that they can quickly build up into a space issue. Little knick-knacks, super cool gadgets, fun little gizmos, handy tools collect in the backs of drawers, on shelves, fall down the back of the sofa, hide in the bottom of cupboards until your house is overflowing. What started off as a thoughtful gift from a dear friend or relative over time turns into "tat". Unloved, unwanted and in the way.

Besides all this it also becomes a waste of money, which in these cash-strapped times is really sad.

So, my suggestion is to give clutter free gifts. These are not only space saving they are money saving and lots of fun.

Recently some friends of mine had another baby. They now have five children under 10, so they're extremely busy. For their wedding anniversary I gave them a book of tokens that I'd made myself.

Using a business card template on my word processing software I made 10 vouchers. The vouchers are for "services" that I can give them. One voucher was for window cleaning. Another was for a "tip run" to get rid of the junk that accumulates over time. A couple of others were for an evening's babysitting so that they can go out together without having to worry about the children.

The sky is the limit for things that you can offer on your tokens.

Depending on the recipient you could offer to take them to the theatre, clean the house, dig the vegetable patch, do some mending, be a "Slave for the Day", babysit, wash the car, mop the kitchen floor, sit with an elderly relative while the family goes out, cook dinner, do the school run or anything else you can think of that costs a little time and would benefit the person you're giving the gift to.

I put a use-by date on my vouchers too, so that they WILL get used.

The template that I made is saved on my computer and I'm about to adapt it for another friend. I think this is a really nice gift to give because it doesn't clutter up the house and it's a lovely way of sharing.

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