18 Clutter-Free Gift Ideas for Teens

18 Clutter Free Gift Ideas for Teens

Another installment in my gift-giving series!

Teenagers can often be difficult to gift to and when I see all the “teen gift suggestions” I just want to slap the list-makers! Seriously- my teens do not need more video games or cheap nail polish.

I spend enough time trying to get my boys off of their electronics, I don’t want to encourage them to spend even more time in the dungeon basement being anti-social. Nor do I want my daughter slathering toxic chemicals on her face. Sure, it may look cool to have 25 shades of eyeshadow to choose from, but really, teenage girls are just like the rest of us- they have their favorite color scheme and they stick with it.

So, without further adieu:

 18 Clutter-Free Gifts for Teens

  1. Tools. Both sexes can benefit from these! Everyone needs their own basic toolset. Even if they just use it to hang pictures on the wall when they get to college. Toolkits last and will be useful the rest of their lives. And, if you want them to look different they have both masculine and feminine sets. As a warning though, some girls don’t like pink. 🙂
  2. A Quality Wallet. My boys are hard on their wallets. A good leather wallet can put up with the abuse though and helps them to feel more like the independent adult that they so want to be.
  3. Books. Even if your gift recipient doesn’t typically read a book, few can resist The Complete Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook and they have one for cars and work too! Life Skills 101 helps with all the questions that, as adults, we often forget we had to learn!
  4. Gift Cards– iTunes, coffee shops, movie tickets. Teens love to be out and doing something and spending their own money.
  5. Watches. Steampunk style watches and watch necklaces are fun. These are great, because in this day and age, many are too lazy to look at a watch, so they look at their phones. But I want to encourage my kids to tell time as much as possible. Reading an analog watch is becoming a lost art!
  6. Lessons and Activities. Art, music, martial arts, dance, rock climbing, zip lines or maybe even flight training. Pay attention to what interests them and surprise them with something you know they would love, or give them a coupon saying you’ll pay, they just need to decide on what they want to learn. Just don’t make fun of their interests. Ever. This is a time for them to learn and figure out what really makes them tick- it might take some different classes to figure it out, that’s ok. Be patient.
  7. Theatre, Concert or Sports Event. Exciting stuff right there! Better even than gifting these tickets: go with them! Even if teens act aloof, it means a lot to them to have people in their lives that want to join them and enjoy similar things. This builds great memories.
  8. Summer Camp. There are some really cool specialty summer camps! Horse camps, adventure, academic, special needs and church camps. And for those who can’t decide- there are the traditional summer camps that have a little bit of everything.
  9. Spa Day. Similar to the “events” gift- this is great if you can join them! Having a Mother/Daughter pedicure is so much fun! Get more friends involved and have a full party at the spa!
  10. High-Quality Make-up. Teens aren’t typically concerned about the health aspect of what they put on into their daily hygiene rituals. Now is a great time to get them used to using good quality, good for them products. The difference in the way skin feels and responds to a product is huge, so if they get used to good quality now, it will help them avoid the cheap toxic junk.
  11. Coupons. Homemade coupons are the bomb! Imagine your teen getting an “I’ll make your favorite dinner.” (For mine, they would skip dinner and ask for Cinnamon Rolls!) “One night 30 minute later curfew” “1:1 basketball with Dad”.
  12. Gym membership. As a family last Christmas, we invested in a year membership to our local YMCA. This means during the arctic winter months (well, last winter it was -20° F for several weeks!) the boys could go play basketball or work out and we could all go swimming whenever we wanted.
  13. Automotive Emergency kit. When teens start driving, it’s always good to have an emergency kit. Teach them how to change a tire and get/give a jump start. They will thank you later.
  14. AAA membership. It’s a great deal to add another family member to your own AAA membership.
  15. Gas Cards, Bus Pass, Gift Card to a Bike Shop. Really, anything that can help them get around on their own and not have to depend on a parent for transpiration.
  16. Weekend Trip. Weekend trips are great and there are fun things to do around where we live! Most people forget or yearn for something more exotic, but really, we can enjoy so many things in our own neck of the woods! Teens enjoy seeing and experiencing new things: one of mine just said he wanted to see grassy, rolling hills, with nothing else in sight. Sounds fun! I think I can handle that. 🙂
  17. Amusement or Water Park Gift Card. Is there anything more fun than hanging out at an amusement/water park all day?
  18. Coloring Book. Thank goodness coloring is becoming popular again! Get the same book for both of you and sit down to color together- see what doodles come out and appreciate how each person expresses themselves differently.

More on gifts:

Clutter-Free Gift Guide – This gift guide is a compilation of all the gift-lists published on the blog, from toddlers to grandparents and everyone in between. Clutter-free and toy-free ideas. Click here to get this 33-page PDF for $5.

About Rachel Jones

Hi there! I’m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey after I'd been doing a yearly decluttering challenge for 4 years and started to see a change in my home. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, please join our FREE Facebook Group: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group


  1. Debbie on 08/04/2014 at 12:14 pm

    I love this list! Buying for a teenager is SO difficult. We’ve always preferred to give the gift of experiences — for weddings, birthdays, etc. I also like the idea of high-quality make-up. (or high-quality anything). It’s something a girl may not buy for herself!

    • Rachel on 08/05/2014 at 12:05 am

      Oh good! Thanks! 🙂

  2. Janna on 08/04/2014 at 2:17 pm

    These are excellent! I have a 16 and 18 year old niece and nephew and we always have trouble Christmas shopping for them. Thanks for the ideas!

    • Rachel on 08/05/2014 at 12:04 am

      Oh good! Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  3. Joy on 08/06/2014 at 9:09 pm

    I’m really enjoying these gift idea posts! I’m just wondering how you recommend approaching the idea of some of these things with family who, it seems, would be happier just going out and grabbing something regardless of how meaningful it is to the child. In the past, I asked them not to buy so many little toys because we didn’t have a place for all the little things the kids got and only played with once or twice. And people got reallllllyyyyyyyy offended. And yes, I tried to word it nicely. It was like, “How dare you tell me how to spend my money?!” I know some of these suggestions would mean so much to my children — much more than what they get and then have to try to find a place for because they love the giver, if not the gift. My husband and I have really cut back the clutter the past few Christmases in giving gifts to our four kids, but when we still get these presents from family, our attempts don’t seem to be making much of a difference.

  4. Thanks! on 12/05/2018 at 6:16 pm

    Thank you so much! This is a GREAT list!! Can you offer ideas for the “coupon book” idea? Thanks!

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  12. Dennis Summers on 11/25/2022 at 3:03 am

    Thanks for sharing awesome gift ideas for teenagers. I like most i.e Hand made cards, give books and also good watches in your collection.

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