Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Clutter-free gifts: Financial and charitable

We've made it to the final category in the clutter-free gifts series. Money has not always been considered an appropriate gift at the holidays, but money can buy lots of useful things. Charitable giving, however, has been associated with the holidays as we use it as a time to help people in need. If you want to give a gift of money to your friend or relative, but don't necessarily want to hand them an envelope of cash, here are some ideas. If you want the money to go to a good cause, you can find ways to make that reflect on both you, the giver, as well as the person in whose honor will be making the donation.

  • Contribute to an established savings account/college fund/CD for a child.
  • Buy blue chip stocks for a child under a custodial account. You can buy a few at each holiday and birthday, and their pool will add up over time. They may not appreciate it until they are older, but you could use the gift as a teaching tool about investments.
  • Buy a gift card that works like cash, such as American Express
  • Charitable donation in name of receiver for a charity they are interested in—just ask where they'd like the money to go, rather than guessing!
  • Allow the receiver to choose the charities of their choice by giving a Good Card. It's like a gift card for donations. (Via Jeri Dansky)
  • Volunteer your time at a favorite charitable organization of the receiver, such as a retirement home, homeless shelter or food bank.
Creative Commons photo posted to Flickr by
Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email 

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