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3 tips for giving better gifts

Updated: Feb 12, 2019

Answer me this: when was the last time you received a gift and thought – "this is exactly what I wanted!"?

Let's look at the facts: a good portion of the clutter I help my clients let go of is made up of gifts they received and didn’t want. Those gifts have remained because my clients feel guilty about letting go of them. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s probably the case in your home as well. And if you’re receiving gifts you don’t like, take a moment to think about the gifts you’ve given... (I apologize if you feel I just punched you in the gut).

So what’s the fix? Should you stop buying gifts at all? No. See below for 3 helpful gift giving guidelines:

1.) Ask – We seem to have gotten it into our heads that a gift has to be a surprise. Not true, often you can ask what someone would like. To make things even easier, tell them the price range you’re looking to spend in. A common pitfall when someone asks what you’d like is that you don’t know the price range they’re thinking of and don’t want to suggest something too expensive.

2.) Sleuth – Many people have an Amazon Wish-List or Pinterest board full of items they’d like to own. And if that’s not the case, ask someone close to the recipient.

     If it’s a wedding or baby gift, go ahead and buy from the registry; these are the gifts the person actually wants or needs. Please do this even if you don’t like what they’ve put on there; try to remember that the gift is not for you.

3.) Alternatives – A gift does not need to be tangible, taking someone out for dinner or to see a show is a great alternative. And then of course there’s always money, and chances are the recipient will really appreciate it.

     So what do you do with all the gifts you’ve been guiltily holding on to? Donation is a great option for items you’ve received and don’t want. I know what you’re thinking and for the most part (except for a few exceptions), people don’t actually ask to see gifts they’ve bought for you.

     If you’re the recipient, think about prevention. Although awkward, having a conversation with friends and family members can be very helpful in the long run. Think about making a sandwich comment: Positive, negative, positive. Ex. Hey Mom, thank you for always thinking of us when you’re at the mall. Living in a small apartment with 2 kids, it’s difficult to handle extra stuff. I would really appreciate it if you asked before you bought things for the kids. Plus, the thing they love most is when you spend time with them, so how about we set up a time to see you?

Try my tips and tricks above and let me know how it goes! You can email me at and follow me on Instagram @toritheorganizer.


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