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Gifts of Order

Gift-giving holidays are the trickiest times of the year for clutter fighters. There’s the incoming missiles — the received knick-knacks and sundries. Then there’s the dilemma of the outgoing; what do we give people that isn’t just going to create clutter?

Beyond my usual recommendations of cash, edibles, salon treatments and the like, I’ve come up with a few ideas that you can actually wrap up and stick under the tree. Note: These gifts are for people who will be excited by and welcome organizing stuff. They are not for the messy spouse, friend or child whom you are trying to get to clean their room.

For the person who admires tidy closet shelves or the avid T-shirt collector, folding boards are an inexpensive but life-enhancing item. They help make shelves look retail-ready, and help make sense of lumpy stacks. Acrylic folding boards can be found online for about $5 each. I like the small one-piece boards much better than the elaborate boards that fold up. Keep it simple!

Another item for the closet is the acrylic or metal shelf divider. This is especially great for someone who has a lot of handbags, which tend to flop around on the shelf and look messy. The only thing to watch out for is the shelf thickness. These work best on shelves that are about an inch thick. For thicker or thinner shelves, you will need to use shims (if thinner) or check around for a different type of divider. I love the selection on Organize.com.

For the traveler, zip cubes to divide and contain items in the suitcase are fantastic. The Eagle Creek Pack-It Cubes are my favorites. Smaller cubes are great for underwear and socks. A selection of travel cubes is not the sexiest gift, but it is one that will keep giving for years, making every trip a more organized undertaking. Who wouldn’t appreciate that?

Also for the clothes horse who can’t afford or hasn’t gotten around to purchasing good hangers, a gift of a dozen wooden hangers or, if space is at a premium, velvet-covered wire hangers is a good idea. I remember receiving a bunch of hangers one birthday in high school and loving them. They were much nicer than what I’d been using and they matched the color scheme of my room. But that’s just me — I bet most teens would rather have an iPhone 5.

I hope some of these order-related gifts give you an idea or lead to an idea that might be a great gift for someone you care about. Think travel, closet, drawer organizers, or even a Container Store gift card or a gift certificate for organizing services. Your loved one will start the new year with a little less clutter, a little more order.

Happy holidays!