Unwanted Mother’s Day gifts can generate clutter, frustration and stress.

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. It’s a special day of the year for showing mothers how much we love and appreciate everything they do for us. It’s a tough one to wrap up in one little gift and can often lead to frustration for all. Options for trinkets and knick-knacks abound. One thing I can tell you with confidence is, in all likelihood, she does not want more clutter that will just add to her already huge ‘motherload.’

Huge amounts of money are spent every year on unwanted gifts, which add clutter to homes and a surprising amount of stress. Here’s a bit of help avoiding that.

Top unwanted Mother’s Day gifts with high clutter probability

  1. Accessories. It might seem like a no-brainer to pick a pretty scarf or fun coloured leather gloves, but it is very difficult to shop for things somebody else will like and incorporate into their wardrobe. I hate to generalize but most dad’s or male partners are just not style mavens and generally don’t have a good handle on what is needed/liked or can be easily combined with the rest of mom’s wardrobe.  Younger kids are very likely to pick something they like so it might be a primary colour or goofy pattern mom would never wear. Even if she loves the effort, it just becomes more junk in her closet.
  2. Worlds Greatest Mom Mugs. These and similar gifts – knick knacks and doodads with Mother’s Day sentiments on them may go over well when the kids are young. If the kids made it themselves, looks don’t matter. However, the store-bought ones usually aren’t very attractive and should be left-behind early. Mother’s Day-specific gift ideas are often pink and flowery items that are likely not her usual style. Mom doesn’t suddenly become a frilly pillow or teacup collector every May. She doesn’t need 10 different ugly Worlds Greatest Mom mugs cluttering up her shelves or taking precious storage space.
  3. Toiletries. Fragrances, cosmetics and smelly bath baskets often collect dust in the bathroom. Every mom I know has their preferred daily products and aren’t interested in trying new ones because they have already done that to arrive at their current choices. Buying her some of her daily moisturizer may be practical and helpful, but it’s not very special. Unless there is something that you know she loves but is reluctant to splurge on for herself, I would let her buy her own personal items.
  4. Small Appliances and Kitchen Stuff. Nothing says ‘I think of you as my housekeeper’ like the gift of a breadmaker or new set of tea towels. This kind of gift given on a day like Mother’s Day can feel like you’re asking them to do more: ‘thank you, I appreciate you, and now you can also make me homemade bread.’ Unless she has clearly and specifically expressed a deep desire to be given something like this, avoid this area. Unused small appliances can be a massive source of clutter and visual stress.

You could ask…

There are exceptions to every rule of course – maybe she really does want a new toaster. Perhaps trying to find something ‘special’ that she may not even want simply isn’t necessary. Also, it can be tricky to read clues – women can be very subtle with their hints. If you feel lost, just ask. There is nothing wrong with saying to the mother in your life ‘I want to make this Mother’s Day really special for you, is there any gift you would really love (or absolutely don’t want)?’ This way you can avoid giving gifts that will just become another thing to dust or move when searching for something else – a source of frustration.

You could rethink the gift entirely. Stay tuned for some great ideas on clutter-free Mother’s Day gift suggestions.