Gift-giving season is upon is and let’s face it: Some people are harder to buy for than others.

One of the hardest, surely, is the person in your life who has everything – and we’re talking literally everything, with stuff cascading out of closets and from under beds and flowing out of basements and garages.

Here are some suggestions for what to get the pack rat in your life that will still make them feel special without contributing to more chaos.

An Experience They Won’t Forget

Forget giving things. Give them the gift of an adventure, whether it’s a massage, tickets to a concert or play or a weekend away, says Kristin MacRae, owner of Organizing In RI.

A Gift Card to Their Favorite Place

Even if you don’t want to get them a gift card to a store to buy more stuff, you could fund their coffee or lunch habit. But make sure the gift card doesn’t end up in a pile mixed in with their clutter. MacRae says gift cards are the number one things they find when helping clients get organized.

“I tell my client to put them in a labeled envelope or pouch that they carefully store in a drawer. The simpler the system the easier it will be to follow,” MacRae said.


Pack rats need something that will go away, but that they can enjoy before it does. Consider gifts they will “consume,” or can offer to guests, such as food, wine or fancy teas. Instead of a magazine subscription you might choose a monthly snack subscription, like Naturebox instead.

Your Time

“The most precious gift anyone can give is their time,” says Nonnahs Driskill, founding organizer of in the Los Angeles area. That could be a meal out together or, even better and if they aren’t averse to the notion, spend time in their home helping them organize—but make it fun: Go through photos and tell stories as you put them in albums; scan recipes that are laying around so they can be accessed digitally; or play fashion designer and create outfit suggestions, while donating or storing items that don’t fit or aren’t seasonably appropriate.

More Space

If the pack rat in your life refuses to part with their impressive collection of Beanie Babies you can always help them store them away. You could pay for a full-service storage service (such as Clutter, Closetbox or MakeSpace) that will come pick up extra items, store them in a secure location and deliver them back on a whim. Who knows? Your loved one might eventually decide they could live without 11 Pinky the Flamingo beanies after all.

What Never to Give Them

“Even the cutest, most well-meaning gifts turn into clutter very fast if they aren’t wanted,” says Driskill.

But nearly every home she’s de-cluttered has had too many coffee mugs, T-shirts and magazines, to name three top offenders.

Cathie Ericson