Many families spend several days throughout the year packing up excess clothing, shoes and other belongings to give away to avoid overflowing their homes' storage capacity. While this practice sometimes allows nonprofits to channel much-needed resources to families in need, many charities are also filled to capacity, particularly after the holiday season. This leaves them little choice but to send the excess items to the landfill. A good deed with the intention of being sustainable does not always turn out that way in the end.
One way to combat this phenomenon is by adapting your gifting practice. Almost everyone has had the experience of responding to a gift-giver, "Thank you! That's so thoughtful!" while thinking "Now where am I going to put this?" When you think outside the box and give some of these alternative gifts, though, you may be saving friends and families from having to find another place to store one more thing.
An easy and meaningful gift is a donation in the recipient's honor. Most people have specific nonprofits they love to support, but if the recipients of your gift don't or you don't know what their favorite charities are, you can always choose one that you know is in line with their values and passions. There are many faith-based and collaborative organizations that seek donations throughout the year to help them do the work they do or fund specific projects:
If you are looking for a birthday gift, start by perusing the recipient's social media accounts. Many platforms allow their users to post birthday fundraisers, which makes finding an appropriate place to donate extra simple. Even if the person you're shopping for doesn't host a specific event, though, you may still be able to figure out groups he or she supports by looking at his or her interests and whom he or she follows.
When you give someone something that disappears after it's used, the recipient doesn't have to find a place to keep it for long. Food, beverages, and luxury toiletries make excellent gifts for this reason. You can pick up a nice bottle of wine for the aficionado in your life. When you browse the farmer's market for ideas, you are not only likely to find great gifts the people on your list will love and use but you also support local businesses and artisans in the process. If you know your loved ones' favorite perfume or cologne or know what scents they prefer, you can surprise them with something they'll really enjoy. Sometimes the best gift of all, however, is that they won't have to clear a long-term space for it on the shelf or in the closet.
Another way to pamper the people on your list is to give them the gift of memories. An enjoyable experience may be more special than even the nicest new sweater. Send beer lovers on a tour of a local brewery. Movie fanatics would get excited about gift certificates for a show and concessions at their favorite theater. Avid learners may enjoy taking online master classes about their favorite hobbies. Those who adore the great outdoors would be thrilled with day passes to a nearby state park. When it comes to finding something the people you love would like to do, the options are endless, and the memories can last a lot longer than the scarf that gets thrown in next year's donation pile.
Trying to find thoughtful gifts that the recipients will actually use can be exhausting. If you can't think of what to give the people who have everything, it helps to get creative with alternative options.