The holiday season is here and that means lots of shopping trips! We all love having shiny boxes to unwrap, but unfortunately for a lot of apartment-dwellers, the gift inside often ends up simply filling space that’s already at a major premium. Tiny spaces don’t have to mean you miss out on the gift giving (or receiving) fun.
Small spaces really demand some TLC to stay clutter-free and comfy. For the short time I shared a 1-bedroom space, my roommate and I instituted a strict one-in-one-out policy. Any time we bought or received a new “thing” – whether a t-shirt, a book, or a bunch of flowers in a vase – we had to get rid of one thing already in the apartment. I was amazed how quickly stuff came in, and started being a lot more cautious of buying unneeded things just because they were pretty or on sale.
Help the apartment-dwellers in your life stay clutter-free and cutting-edge by opting for some space saving solutions. Here are some easy tips to pick out the perfect gift for your small-space-dwelling friends and loved ones.
Small spaces often come with even smaller storage. Tiny closets and cramped cabinets leave little space to stash the great new toys we receive. Surprise your apartment-living loved one with some creative storage solutions that won’t take up any precious floor space:
- Fill those hard-to-fit spaces with some cute and crafty corner shelves.
- Wall storage doesn’t need to be drab. Try these fire-escape shelves or other creative options for a daring display of plants, books, or knick-knacks.
- If floor space must be claimed, make the item multi-purpose. Storage fits nicely inside coffee tables, chairs, or foot-stools. Or combine all three in a handy reclaimed storage stool like this one.
Walls and vertical spaces aren’t just for shelves. Tiny spaces don’t leave much space for personal touches, so we have to be very choosy about what earns space on our walls.
- For the green-thumb in your life who never has enough space to garden: try some multi-pot hanging plant holders or a full-on wall garden.
- Rotating new and exciting artwork can be a real drag. Make it easy to spice up the walls with kids’ drawings, posters, or great works of art in these easy-change frames.
With minimal space, finding ways to go make your apartment chic need to be thoughtful and small.
- Functional fireplaces are pretty rare in small spaces. Surprise your apartment-dweller with this classy indoor-outdoor floor fireplace.
- Clunky coffee machines really crowd apartment counter-space. Lighten the load with a coffee-tap!
- Keep cords and speakers out of site and off of shelves with this light-bulb speaker system.
- The tiniest packages can hold valuable gift cards for space-less treasures, like e-book stores, digital music credits, or favorite local restaurants.
Of course the ultimate small-living gifts are not “things” at all. Take a total break from “stuff” and give the gift of an experience! Experiential gifts come in many forms and prices, from budget-friendly DIY projects to vacation or concert tickets. Here are a few ideas for all Santa’s experiential elves this year:
- The way to any man’s (woman, or child) heart is through his stomach. Feed your loved one’s heart and body with some homemade cookies or candies, wrapped in decorative packaging. Or let them make cookie-season last a bit longer with Cookie-mix-in-a-jar.
- Mason jar gifts don’t have to just be about cookies. Branch out into soups, bath salts, candles, meals and more!
- Memberships are a thoughtful way to support a local organization and let your loved-one remember your gift each time they visit the local zoo, museum, art gallery, or national park.
- Give a gift at Christmas and receive it all year long with an annual subscription. Not just for magazines, you can now get subscriptions for monthly clubs that mail out wine, healthy snacks, stationary, or chocolate. Or for the adventurous gifters, try PB&J club, hot sauce club, doggie treat clubs, or of course, bacon club!
- If the apartment liver in your life is passionate about movies, theatre, sports, or music, surprise them with tickets to a great upcoming event. If you buy tickets for yourself too, you have a ready-made memory-making time together.
- One of my favorite gifts to make and give is a “date-in-a-box” or “girls/boys/family-night-in-a-box” kit. Just collect an assortment of items your giftees would enjoy, and wrap them in a box or basket. Some fun ideas include a DVD and microwave popcorn, gourmet cheese and wine, some home mani-pedi kits, candles and bath salts, a poker set and bottle of whiskey, or board games and brownie mix.
- You don’t have to spend big to give big experiences. Deal website like Groupon, LivingSocial, DealChicken and more offer gift certificates for restaurants and events at 50% or greater discounts.
- Few things are more memorable than time spent together. For the special people in your life, consider planning a day or weekend away together. A day at an amusement park, ice skating and hot chocolate, or a weekend at a B&B with a nice dinner out or a pile of dvds. Making invitations and itineraries can make it feel high class and very personalized.
Small space gifts are not just great for apartment dwellers. We all fight clutter in our lives. Fewer, more meaningful gifts are great for our relationships – giving us space to connect with each other. And they’re great for the environment as we cut down on plastic packaging and the chance of useless “stuff” heading to the landfill. So consider going small this holiday season with all your gift-giving – apartment related or not.