Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

The Stuff-Free Gift Registry

Let’s say you’re getting married or having a baby shower (not necessarily in that order). The present-day American tradition is to set up a gift registry, ostensibly to prepare for these events. You populate said registry with stuff: Penne pasta makers, gilded napkin rings, baby wipe warmers, etc. But what if you err on the minimal side? What if you don’t want any new stuff, yet you want to be gracious (and smart) by receiving gifts? In fact, what if you love receiving gifts, just not the ones that max out your closets and landfills? How to you communicate these things to people who want to give you gifts? A website called SoKind has a solution, enabling would be giftees to receive gracefully, sans the stuff.

The site, started by the The Center for a New American Dream, allows people to put non-stuff-stuff on their registry. A sample list on their website includes cooking lessons for newlyweds, a YMCA membership for a recent graduate and homemade dinners right after pregnancy.

The SoKind website explains their motivation this way:

Today’s gift-giving culture has become ever more commercialized, fueled by ads, fads, and glitz. Here at SoKind, we know that your favorite gifts don’t always fit in a box. SoKind allows you to create a registry focused less on stuff and more on family, fun, and friends.

SoKind not only makes sense in terms of stemming the flow of stuff that might not get used, it also makes sense in terms of what actually make people happy. As we saw a while back, people are typically more satisfied when given experiences over stuff. It also reminds us of the brilliant One Less Gift Certificate, albeit a bit more comprehensive and technologically advanced.

Gift giving decorum can be an anxiety-producing subject for those of us who are looking to edit our lives. We might love the act of giving and receiving and don’t want to rebuke any gift given in kindness and generosity. But we also don’t want to have our friends, families and colleagues get us stuff we don’t want or will use; stuff that costs them money and will likely end up in a landfill or donation box sooner than later.

Tools like SoKind and the One Less Gift Certificate provide tactics for receiving gracefully and in a way that promotes the desire to simplify our lives.

Empty gift box image via Shutterstock

Via Treehugger