green gift ideas

18 Creative, Green Gift Ideas—No Trip to the Mall Required

With a little creativity, you can give meaningful, personal gifts, save money, and avoid adding trash to the landfills.

By Leah Zerbe


The Gift of Organization

A 2008 Australian study found that 88 percent of households studied were cluttered, leaving residents feeling anxious and depressed. Pledge to help someone sort through his or her stuff and donate the unwanted items to a charity thrift shop, and you not only eliminate tripping hazards, you create a more peaceful environment for the gift recipient.

Here are some organizational gift ideas:

1. Give your dad a coupon promising you'll help him reorganize his garage or toolshed. You'll clear the clutter and spend some quality time together, and maybe hear a few yarns about where all that stuff came from. Start by moving big items to free up floor space, hanging items like bikes, hoses, and ladders on inexpensive screw-in utility hangers, for instance.

2. Give your clothing-hoarding friend or relative an invitation to help clear out a closet. For extra laughs, turn it into a mini fashion show and model outdated prom dresses and pantsuits. To start ditching unwanted clothes, first pick out items that are permanently stained, hopelessly ripped, or shrunk to elf size, and put them in a bag. Cut them up and store them (neatly) in the garage to use as rags, or ask a local machine or auto body shop if they could use them. Clothing that doesn't fit but that you can't get rid of can be folded and stored in labeled under-bed boxes or storage containers. Clothes that you don't like, that fit weirdly, that are out of style, or are uncomfortable should be sent to the Goodwill or a consignment shop (delivering them there—so the boxes don't sit cluttering up a corner somewhere—is part of your gift). For more ideas, check out the book Kick the Clutter: Clear Out Excess Stuff Without Losing What You Love (Rodale, 2008).

3. Not up for the task yourself? Tap into the National Association of Professional Organizers to hire a pro.

Published on: November 30, 2010
Updated on: December 3, 2010

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