Eco Friendly Gifts For Minimalists Without Overdoing It

Finding the perfect gift for a friend, colleague, or family member can be a tall order. Even more so, unearthing great gifts for minimalists stans definitely requires out-of-the-box inspiration.

What do you buy someone who, by definition, already owns what is essential to them?

Here are a few insightful hacks to keep in mind before scanning the below list of gift ideas:

  • Think simple, timeless, and sober: thus, try to avoid trendy shiny items that a brand promotes as essential (only often labeled as for ‘this’ year).

  • Similarly, prefer functional and versatile features when looking for a great gift; like reusable, waste-free items that genuinely add value as well as saves time and space.

  • Try to find out whether they might already own something similar that they already absolutely love (if looking for material gifts for minimalists).

  • Take a holistic approach to their needs & lifestyle (dietary restrictions, home type, religious or spiritual preferences, and the like).

  • Both material and non-material gifts can be a success, especially if you’re close and know the person inside out, minimalist addict or not. However, if in doubt, you’ll increase your chances of nailing it with experiences and time spent together – these are often the best gifts for minimalists.

  • Last but not least, at Puratium, we strive to encourage you to adapt your lifestyle so that it becomes more respectful of the Earth and its living creatures. Hence this list was created bearing in mind eco-conscious gift ideas.

Food & Drinks

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Image by Harry & David

Most minimalists will always be grateful to receive their favorite (low waste) perishables. Try to remember some of your conversations about their favorite recipe or wine of a specific manufacturer year that intrigued them.

Also, consider their dietary habits: vegan gift baskets or gluten-free essentials are pretty popular. Fairtrade loose-leaf tea or premium coffee are also great gifts for minimalists, especially if you can choose it from a local savvy merchant.

From both a health and pleasure perspective, we think that you can (seldom) go wrong with a set of cold-pressed olive oils, top-notch spices, organic seasonings, or bakeries carefully chosen.

As usual, we encourage you to buy local, seasonal, and organic as often as possible. These perfect yet straightforward gift ideas are part of a greater good for both palate and planet!

As for drinks, why not personalize the label on the bottle? This could be a unique way to write a few kind words or remember anecdotes only you two will understand!

Bonne dégustation!

Eco friendly Notebook

If your minimalist friend is a digital ghost or simply a book lover, consider exploring the various eco friendly options of paper notebooks. Did you know that some are entirely vegan and cruelty-free guaranteed? Or that today, some brands use animal poo to produce their handcrafted, tree-free paper?

Notebooks no longer have to contribute to deforestation but rather benefit our planet by reusing materials that would otherwise go to waste.

We have shortlisted and reviewed several eco-conscious brands in this article in order to help you find the right thoughtful gift. Some can even be personalized and given via a gift certificate.

Happy writing!

Sustainable Furniture & Art

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Image by Made Trade

In addition to cherishing what you already own, the best action for the planet is for you to buy second-hand or repurposed/upcycled objects.

Even though most minimalists are known to be picky about their – clean – interior, sustainably sourced furniture, and decorative accessories, in particular, are great gift ideas if your budget allows it.

Gain some time by discovering the list of our favorite furniture brands that embrace real sustainability and transparency values.

As for minimalist art, you might get lucky and find beautiful pieces in your area, and if not, Etsy is a platform worth exploring.

It’s an environmentally sounder choice than most e-shops online: as a matter of fact, their marketplace allows sellers and buyers to find each other in a sustainable and fair trade way, which makes for the best gifts.

They offset their carbon emissions, minimize waste and keep online commerce more human. You’ll find vintage treasures, handcrafted items, and an entire section on minimalist artistic pieces at a reasonable price.

Lastly, speaking of art, why not be the artist yourself and assemble all the pictures of you two over the years in a customized photo book?

Make sure to order from a brand that used sustainably sourced and/or reclaimed materials, such as Artifact Uprising (if you live in the US).

Bath And Beauty Items

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Image by Ecoroots

Buying gifts that are the right fit for your recipient’s daily beauty routine can require further investigation.

Think about it, what can be most intimate? Unless you’re looking for a present for your (best) minimalist friend – whom we are sure you know everything about, including his/her allergies and favorite tones – you will maximize your chances of success looking at the categories ‘best sellers’, ‘normal skin type,’ and more neutral/light odors and styles.

We particularly love Ecoroots’ platform: it offers simple, efficient, and zero waste bath and personal care items at an affordable price for both men and women.

The entire collection is cruelty-free guaranteed, with vegan and organic options readily available, making it one of the best gifts platforms out there.

Namely, another way to combine eco friendly and minimalist features in a great gift such as bar soap, scrunchies, hair oil, safety razors, or lip balm – all everyday valuable eco-essentials.

Timeless Clothes Or Accessories

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Image by Conscious Step

According to the EPA, about 10 million tons of clothes end up every year to landfills.

As you probably know, sending waste to landfills comes at a high environmental cost due to highly toxic methane gas being released into the atmosphere as a result of the decomposition process.

If we want to significantly decrease these greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change, we need to apply the Rs rules as often as possible.

These rules are an integral part of the minimalism philosophy to own fewer material items. In terms of gift ideas, this means buying second-hand clothes or accessories, either online or at your nearby vintage shop. Think everyday essentials like t-shirts, socks, or pajamas.

Also within a sustainable living spirit are gifts from ethical and sustainable fashion brands. Ones that opt for primary materials that are renewable, organic, plant-based, and contains recycled content when raw materials are not available or as sustainable.

There are even great 100% vegan brands out there that commit to producing high-quality basics in ethical and environmentally sound conditions, like Vetta, which creates “mini capsule wardrobes made up of five versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to create a month’s worth of outfits” (all cruelty-free materials such as Tencel, organic cotton, linen, among others).

Lastly, clothing gifts for minimalists could also be the occasion to support a cause, as is the case with Conscious Step.

We’re convinced fans of the vegan socks brand: organic, Fairtrade Certified cotton socks produced in factories regularly audited by third parties organizations, thus ensuring fair trade conditions.

And, depending on the socks you choose, you’ll directly contribute to supporting various organizations, from animal welfare to environmental solutions, by way of social justice.

Memberships

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Digital annual memberships benefit from being waste and space-free, hence making them ideal minimalist gifts.

Think broadly! It could be a membership to a local organic store or farmers’ market delivering seasonal products regularly, but also pretty much anything downloadable: such content as gaming subscription, online classes or workshops, movies & music memberships, magazines, software, or simply a gift card from a brand they love are perfect gifts for minimalists.

Furthermore, opt for brands or platforms that offset their carbon emissions and/or use renewable energy sources.

Even though their ‘products’ are online, these companies need significant amounts of energy to power large data centers. Which is exactly what you want to avoid.

Our personal favorite membership goes to Nuuly: you can rent clothes from a shared closet with thousands of options for just the right amount.

Even though not all brands score well on the sustainability scale, we love the idea of offering a membership embracing our value regarding slow fashion: repair, rewear, reuse, and extend the lifespan of your clothes.

Fair to say that Nuuly is striving to handpick and ensure traceability of second-hand items made from earth-friendly materials such as Tencel. You can easily make an account with your personal information and start looking.

Time Together

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Experiential gifts embrace the wish for a majority of minimalists to step away from conventional consumerist culture.

Inviting your friend to an object-free experience is by default the most minimalist gift there is – one that will build new unforgettable memories together.

Bearing in mind our wish to promote an eco-conscious lifestyle beyond our home, we’d like to suggest activities that not only reduce the harm done to our planet but also enrich it in various ways, namely excellent gifts.

Concretely, look out for initiatives that clean up beaches or other areas where the preservation of biodiversity is crucial for the ecosystem to thrive.

Similarly, you could volunteer to plant trees or take care of animals in shelters. Which is a gift both for the minimalist in your life and for the world.

Depending on your relationship, we’ve always thought that great gifts can also take the form of making someone’s life easier or helps run someone’s errands.

Think: cook homemade meals, take care of the garden, furniture assembly, or help with kids’ duties. Natural chores in a minimalist’s home.

Lastly, if you’re looking for gift ideas or great tips that help your local economy, consider the following: classes (DIY, gardening, arts, sports, languages, or any other topic that might surprise the minimalist in your life!), tickets to a live game or exhibition.

Lastly, why not be curious about your own area’s secrets and go on ‘staycation’ mode for a day or two to make your life easier?

Functional & Versatile Gifts

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This section will assuredly inspire the most creative among us! And ideally, come up with a few great gift ideas to customize and upcycle end-of-life objects that would otherwise end up as waste.

Here are a few of our personal favorites when it comes to gifts for minimalists:

  • Mason jars (or cans or bottles) that you can customize and decorate modestly. It can be used with candles, flowers, or recipients for pens and other small accessories. If it comes with a lid, you can use them to store food, use it as a cocktail glass, or organizers for small objects, a versatile gift for a minimalist’s home that can last for life.
  • If you are gifted with carpenter skills, why not assemble salvaged wood pieces into a beautiful side table/chair gift with storage units. Here are a few other ideas that would make an unforgettable impression!
  • An aromatic plant set gift: recycle and embellish old jars or pots, buy ground and seeds. Add a personalized board with instructions and wrap the set with craft paper.

What Is Minimalism And Does It Bring You Joy?

At Puratium, we believe it is crucial to combine minimalism with low waste and ethical features. These notions are all interconnected and contribute to helping you reach a slower, eco-conscious lifestyle in different ways.

Thus, consider the above list from that angle and strive to be an eco-ambassador whenever you can.

However, it is vital to be self-tolerant: not everyone can afford (time, money, energy, you name it) living the ideal life based on these principles.

It is OK to combine them in a way that makes the most sense for you.

Case in point; taking this list of minimalist gift ideas, avoid any gift recipient, wrapping, or opt for eco friendly packaging no matter how much of a great idea the gift seems.

If you hesitate about a gift, then leave it be and continue searching for one of these thoughtful gifts that no one will ever forget!

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Looking at the above statement, you might be confused as to what is concretely a minimalist lifestyle. From a more theoretical perspective: minimalism is synonymous with simplicity, decluttered space, bare essentials, clean lines, or the now famous ‘less is more’ tenet, and is hence mainly associated with – today – interior design and social attitude (1).

However, did you know that minimalism is originally an art movement from the 60s? (2)

Independently of the reasons you’re attracted to minimalism, we believe it is worth giving it a try in your life once in a while.

Our Approach

Based on our experience at home, we’d like to share our approach to more eco-simplicity. Similar to embracing a low waste lifestyle, going (more) minimal in your day-to-day does not need to rhyme with sacrifice or one-fits-all method.

Years ago, we found similarities between the two mindsets and combined motivations to reach our goal towards eco-conscious choices. Of course, depending on your habits and preferences, you might find other underlying motives and objectives, and that is alright.

Here are a few methods and ideas – you might find them surprising – that we like, it is a way towards a simpler, less wasteful life.

The 3 Piles

When sorting things out, we organize items in three categories: yes, no, and maybe.

When looking at the given object, if you barely remember the last time you used it or what is it supposed to be for, we suggest labeling it as ‘no pile’.

Similarly, if wearing this piece of clothing is not comfortable or cannot easily be matched, the ‘no pile’ should be the obvious choice.

  1. The objects in the ‘no pile’ should be donated to your favorite charity, sold, or properly recycled. Remember that one of the easiest ways to do your part for the planet is to avoid sending trash to landfills.
  2. The ‘yes pile’ objects should be reorganized as visibly as possible to know precisely what you own and find each item more quickly going forward.
  3. The maybe pile is the trickiest! To friends that are used to decluttering, we say that the ‘maybe pile’ should actually go with the ‘no pile’! For people who are not so comfortable, we advise them to ask someone else in their household (or a close friend) what they think. Ideally, the ‘maybe pile’ should progressively disappear into the yes and no piles.
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Figure Out Your Why

This part is a lot less theoretical and a lot more personal. Take a moment to look at your belongings and how often you use/reuse them.

We believe an essential factor of success is for you to know why you want to live with a more straightforward, visually ‘light’ home AND what you like about minimalism in the first place.

Find your motivation and know your limits. It’s great to be outside of your comfort zone and to challenge yourself, but in the long run, we’re not so sure about the benefits of ‘going all in’ in one go.

We want you to envisage minimalism from a slightly different angle: one that makes you take a step back from your consumption habits in life and impact on the planet.

Hence, we are firm believers that minimalism:

  • helps you cherish and embellish what you already own, thus doing your good for the planet by decreasing waste(a gift in itself).

  • is an excellent opportunity to reorganize your belongings visually and create a happy, serene interior according to your own reasonable version.

  • slowly helps you move away from unnecessary consumerism by spotting the ‘new trends’ pitfalls – thus buying higher quality, timeless, and sustainably sourced items whenever you truly need them.

  • gives you energy and creativity: whatever is deemed ‘extra’ can be donated, repurposed, upcycled – valuable time you could spend with your friends and family.
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Hacks That Work For Us

Once you’ve decluttered your home the best you can, it’s great to have a few tricks under your belt to keep you going. Especially those that help you reduce waste going to landfills unnecessarily.

  • if you have not used a given material item at all for the last year, consider adopting the ‘no pile’ strategy for that object. Good news going forward; the number of objects in that category should (naturally) decrease!
  • when shopping, if you are unsure of what to do with the purchase, skip it.
  • it is best to shop regularly in small quantities to be in control of your stocks and decrease the risk of throwing things away – mainly food. Strive to eat leftovers the next day or freeze them if they are about to go bad.
  • we love organic and local, but the tenet ‘less is more’ can also be applied to food: for instance, buy rich, highly nutritive ingredients in small portions.
  • if it is difficult to use or clean or store properly, consider a better alternative.
  • consider going minimalist online as well: reduce the amount of weekly newsletter, reduce spam/email, reorganize your folders and following accounts – remember that surfing on the internet has an environmental cost as well, mainly due to powering vast data centers. Here are some inspiring ways to eco-message online.
  • lastly, unless you are ready to be a minimalist by the book, allow your sentimental objects or favorite collections, books, and the like to find the right place in your home and life. Again, we believe that finding the right balance between reason and what indeed works for you emotionally is the key to being able to reduce waste progressively and on a long-term basis.

We hope the above convinced you that minimalism is not necessarily a (luxurious) radical philosophy, but rather a journey to clean your belongings like you’d do a detox diet once in a while.

One that should be tailored-made and efficient for you.

Find your own sustainable form of minimalism, not necessarily the monochromatic, impersonal style you find in magazines.

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So Joy Or No Joy?

So, to answer the section’s question: does minimalism make you feel good? Yes, it can, and it helps you approach a low waste lifestyle more easily. However, it is not a panacea. 

Whether through veganism, sustainable fashion, zero waste, or minimalism, or a bit of all, all of these efforts contribute to a greater good for our planet.

Nonetheless, just like most crazes, minimalism at its extreme can arguably become a burden or a source of frustration for most of us. It is not necessarily for everyone, and that should not be a source of shame.

If you have tried a few of our minimalist hacks that resulted in mixed feelings, we hope that we convinced you that there are other ways.

Final Thoughts

Finding gifts for minimalists – whether for yourself or your loved ones – is the opportunity to challenge ourselves and our consumption habits. Spending time together or offering online memberships are likely the first gift ideas to come to mind.

Nonetheless, at Puratium, we have taken the gifts list one step further by giving it a unique eco-conscious dimension. We do this exercise regularly – just like this one on creating a minimalist baby registry – and constantly learn new insights and ways to grow.

Hopefully, our reflection and example have helped you find ideas or object that your (convinced or beginner) minimalist friend, colleague, or family member will remember as one of the most thoughtful gifts ever!

Resources
  1. https://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/interior-designers/a27471472/minimalist-interior-design-tips/
  2.  https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/jan/03/empty-promises-marie-kondo-craze-for-minimalism
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