How To Host A Clutter-Free Birthday Party | From Overwhelmed to Organized: How To Host A Clutter-Free Birthday Party

Thursday, February 2, 2017

How To Host A Clutter-Free Birthday Party

Is your house overflowing with your kids' toys? Do your children receive tons of toys for their birthdays? Are you dreading the thought of having to organize all the gifts they will receive after their next birthday party?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider hosting a clutter-free birthday party! Not only will you be avoiding the onslaught of new toys in your home, you'll help your child learn to be generous. Win win!

My daughter had a clutter-free birthday party last year and it was a wonderful experience all around.

My Daughter's Clutter-Free Birthday Party

Our kids don't have a birthday party every year, primarily because they receive plenty of gifts already from our generous family members and the idea of them receiving more gifts from all their friends is overwhelming. We usually give them an option to have a party or to enjoy a family activity together. 

Most years they choose the family activity instead of a party. Often they choose an indoor waterpark overnight getaway... they love waterslides :)  One year my son really wanted to go up the CN Tower {we actually ended up buying a Toronto CityPass because it was only a little more expensive than the CN Tower tickets and we were able to visit 5 attactions instead of only one!}. 

But last year, my daughter wanted to have a birthday party instead of doing a family outing. She'd been to several of her friends' parties and wanted to be able to do something fun with them to celebrate her birthday. She loves animals so we decided to host the party at a place where you can pet a variety of animals. 

Yep... that's her in a party dress with a snake around her neck... and a big grin on her face :)

Around the same time, my daughter joined Earth Rangers (a Toronto-based organization raising funds for wildlife conservation and educating kids about conservation).  She wanted to raise some funds to help animals. I checked out their website and noticed they had an option to have an Earth Rangers birthday party, where party guests donate to your Earth Rangers "mission". I asked my daughter if she'd like to do that and she really liked the idea. She knew she'd still get gifts from us and from other family members, but thought it would be great for her friends to give money to help save animals instead of gifts for her. 

And so her clutter-free birthday party was born! Earth Rangers had printable invitations, activities, and thank you cards, they took care of the donation part on their website, and we purchased a birthday kit from them with decorations and loot bags. 

She chose to raise funds for cold-water coral so her invitations and activities were based on that theme. 

I didn't take a picture of everything from her kit at the time, but here's one of the current birthday party kits you can download for free.

We also purchased the birthday kit which included loot bags, stickers, tattoos, buttons, balloons, and a poster (all matching her chosen animal campaign). We added a few items to the loot bags as well. 

The kids loved the colouring pages during the party (when they weren't busy petting and holding the animals). And here are all the kids with their masks.

It was a really fun party! 

The guests' parents liked not shopping for a gift and donating to a worthy cause instead (many of their kids had joined Earth Rangers too... they came and did a presentation at her school). 

And my daughter was so happy that she achieved the fundraising goal she'd set (it helped that she got a stuffed animal and some other smaller prizes for passing various goals). 

How to Host a Clutter-Free Birthday Party

There are lots of ways to host a clutter-free birthday party, but here are the basic elements:
  • You and your child choose a charity you'd like to support. 
  • When you send invitations to your party guests, let them know that instead of a gift you'd like them to donate to your chosen charity. 
  • Choose activities to do at the party that relate to or support your charity if you'd like.
  • At the party collect donations from guests (there are online options for this too... more on that below).
  • After the party, send thank you cards to your guests on behalf of your charity.

You can still have your party at home if you like home parties. Or you can do it at a venue that hosts birthday parties if you prefer. All the usual party activities still take place (food, cake, singing "Happy Birthday", etc.). Just the gift-giving part is different (and maybe some activities if you choose).

Some people prefer to give guests the choice between giving a gift or donating to a charity (in case they are offended or their love language is giving gifts, or if they shop ahead for gifts, etc.). Or perhaps family members give gifts and friends give donations. But that's between you and your child to decide. 

Websites That Support Clutter-Free Birthday Parties

If you'd like to host a clutter-free birthday party, there are quite a few websites that can help you do that. 

  • Echoage and Kids Can Give Too will send out email invitations for you and explain the process to your guests. You can manage all the RSVP's on their website and the guests can make secure donations there too. Both of these sites support a variety of different charities. Donations are split between the charity and the birthday child (they can put their share towards one larger gift or buy smaller gifts). I haven't used Kids Can Give Too, but we've attended a few Echoage parties. 
  • The Birthday Party Project has a "share your birthday" program where you raise funds towards birthday parties for homeless children (either money or gifts, depending on where you're located).
  • The Life You Can Save is geared more for adults than kids and is purely about raising funds for various charities but I thought I'd mention it here in case you like the idea for an adult party too :)

I highly recommend a clutter-free party and we'll probably do something similar in the future if my daughter or my son choose a party instead of a family activity!

Have you hosted or have your kids attended a clutter-free birthday party? I'd love to hear what you think of the idea!

Happy decluttering and organizing!