12 Thoughtful Gifts for Minimalists (They’ll Actually Like)

Gifts for Minimalists. Sounds kind of like an oxymoron. I mean minimalists don’t want more stuff, right??

Wrong.  Minimalists love gifts that are thoughtful, heartfelt, practical, or consumable.

It’s not that we completely eschew stuff, it’s that we try to own only the things which we use or love. If an item doesn’t fit into those descriptors, it’s probably not the best gift for a minimalist.

Photos showing several boxes wrapped as gifts with text overlay that reads Gift Ideas for Minimalists

If you’ve ever struggled with what to buy a minimalist, this article is designed to simplify minimalist gift-giving.

Firstly, let me clear up something about minimalists and gifts. You’ve likely heard the minimalist in your life saying ‘they don’t want anything’ or ‘I don’t need anything’.

We don’t really mean that we don’t want anything. We mean we don’t want any old thing to fill the quota of giving gifts.

We’d rather have nothing, than some crappy junk we won’t use but have to hang on to for eons in case you visit and notice it’s gone. It’s nothing personal, but sometimes it’s easier to receive nothing than to cause offence.

No, if you’re giving a minimalist gift, you just need to work a little harder. But, rest assured your hard work will be worthwhile, as your gift will be something they will treasure forever.

12 Gifts for Minimalists That They’ll Absolutely Love

Here are 12 mind-blowing gift ideas for minimalists that they’ll actually want to keep.

1. A useful tool

AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker with Tote Bag - Quickly Makes Delicious Coffee Without Bitterness - 1 to 3 Cups Per PressAeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker with Tote Bag - Quickly Makes Delicious Coffee Without Bitterness - 1 to 3 Cups Per Press

One of the best minimalist gift ideas is a useful life tool.

It doesn’t have to be an actual tool, although something handy like a Leatherman multi-tool would be awesome.

It could be something they’ll use all the time that actually makes their minimalist life easier. For example, before I owned my  espresso machine I would buy expensive coffee, every single day.

The coffee machine gave me more cash and more time (as I could make coffee whenever I wanted and not have to visit my local barista). It also stopped me from feeling bad whenever I threw out a disposable cup.

More useful tools:

2. A book that’s changed your life or made you feel something

By Arundhati Roy: The God of Small ThingsBy Arundhati Roy: The God of Small Things

A book is one of the best gifts for a minimalist. If you’ve read a book that made you feel something deep or laugh out loud; gift it to your minimalist friend with a note explaining about how much you loved the book and why you think they will too.

Tell them to pass the book on to someone else when they are finished.

For extra brownie points include a handmade voucher for a coffee date to discuss the book when they’ve finished it.

Some of my favorite books include The Hand That First Held Mine, The God of Small Things, I Know This Much Is True, Love in The Time of Cholera.

3. An experience they’ve always dreamed of

You’ve probably heard us minimalists talk about how we value experiences over things etc.

So it should come as no surprise that a great gift for minimalist friends and family is an experience.

Perhaps your loved one has mentioned they’d love to go hot air ballooning or try bungee jumping.

Maybe they are budding connoisseurs of wine and they’d enjoy a wine tour. Gifting an experience is a guaranteed way to make your minimalist friend happy.

4. Sweet homemade treats

If you’re a whizz in the kitchen, one of the best gift ideas for minimalists is beautifully presented baked goods.

I especially love getting homemade fudge or coconut ice in a mason jar.

But any sweets presented nicely make lovely gifts. Being consumable means edible gifts don’t cause clutter, making them the ideal presents for minimalists.

5. Your services

I can tell you, as a parent of young children, that one of the best gift ideas for minimalist parents is an offer of your time, in the form of babysitting, or preparing a dinner or family picnic.

You can buy or make a beautiful gift card and handwrite your gift to them.

Of course, your gift doesn’t have to be babysitting, it can be anything that needs doing. Whether that be painting the living room, tidying the garage, washing the car or sowing a flower garden.

6. Ancestry DNA Kit

AncestryDNA: Genetic Ethnicity Test, Ethnicity Estimate, AncestryDNA Test Kit…AncestryDNA: Genetic Ethnicity Test, Ethnicity Estimate, AncestryDNA Test Kit…

Every gift guide for minimalists should include the Ancestry DNA Kit. I bought this for my husband after eliminating so many other minimalist gifts for him.

He already has everything he needs, so this was a winner.  He loved it!

So much that I ended up buying myself a kit too. It was such a neat idea and I ended up finding out so much about my family tree and even connecting with some cousins I didn’t even know I had. 

I’d really recommend it if you are looking for gift ideas for a husband who doesn’t want anything.

Finding gifts for minimalists needn't be a challenge with this helpful guide from a minimalist mom

Above is the screenshot of my results – super fun!

7. Something that needs replacing

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B01LP6J8PA” locale=”US” src=”https://www.moneycanbuymehappiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/41uVibkQyaL.jpg” tag=”lhlh-20″ width=”500″]

Perhaps you’ve heard your minimalist mention one of their favourite things broke.

Or their cherished Black Hi Top Chuck Taylor’s have a hole through the sole (if my husband or mother are reading this hint, hint, hint).

8. A charity donation in their name

Image showing a lantern a card and a photo of a woman holding a light and a small solar panel with text overlay that reads How it works
Instead of buying your minimalist friends a gift, make a donation to Oxfam in their name. Image credit: Oxfam Unwrapped

A gift idea that warms the heart and makes the world a better place. For more information check out this site: Oxfam Unwrapped

9. Fancy wine

A lovely bottle of red wine will always go down a treat. Other consumable gift ideas like champagne, craft beer or whiskey might suit if your loved one has a special liking for premium alcohol.

Related post: 20+ Minimalist Gifts for Kids They’ll Absolutely Adore

10. Gift cards

If you’ve ever struggled with what to get a minimalist for birthdays, one of the easiest and most-appreciated gift ideas for a minimalist is a gift card.

I jump for joy when people buy me gift cards. I usually hug them and say ‘thank you’ for empowering me to choose my own gift.

11. Travel accessories

Figuring out what to buy for a minimalist who loves to travel is simple. The beautiful passport holders pictured above from Passport Amigo are super practical and look great. Check them out here.

Balanzza Rechargeable Lugagge Scale, Portable Digital Handheld Suitcase Weight for All Travelers, 100 Pounds, 5 Years (Blue), (BZ400U)Balanzza Rechargeable Lugagge Scale, Portable Digital Handheld Suitcase Weight for All Travelers, 100 Pounds, 5 Years (Blue), (BZ400U)


Other minimalist gifts for travelers include digital luggage scales (I have these ones and love them, I’ve even gifted my parents a set)

12. Flowers

Fresh-cut flowers are meant to be enjoyed and then discarded – preferably into compost. The perfect gift for a minimalist.

I hope this guide to the best gifts for minimalists has been helpful. If in doubt, remember minimalists are not anti-stuff as such, just anti-junk and anything that doesn’t add value to their lives.

Minimalists tend to value experiences over things, but the things we keep are things we adore. Any of the above ideas are firmly entrenched in the adore list.

Read next: Want Need Wear Read: How the 4 Gift Rule Can Simplify Christmas

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Photo of a hand with small gift



Photo of a small box of gift

Do you have frugal, minimalist-type friends and family, who make Christmas and gift-giving in general kind of awkward? If so, you'll want to read this post. Minimalists tend to value experiences over things, but the things they keep are things they adore, which make them happy. These 9 gift ideas will make the minimalist in your life smile.
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