a clutter-free easter basket.

March 22, 2016

clutter-free easter basket | reading my tea leaves

In case you’re on the hunt for easy and clutter-free (or waste-free!) gift ideas for filling up an Easter basket this weekend, here are a few ideas.

Simple, sustainable, and, some of them: free!
clutter-free easter basket | reading my tea leaves+ Choose an Easter basket that can get some use post-Easter. Most Easter baskets get used for exactly one day a year, but no one will be the wiser if you dump the little basket you use to wrangle your napkins (or other things) and fill it up with treats for a day. If you’re thinking of buying something new, try to choose a fair-trade basket made by folks getting paid a fair wage. Better yet: use what you already have and think outside the…er…basket. A bowl, a box, a bag: all fair game. clutter-free easter basket | reading my tea leaves

+ Buy unpackaged treats. If you want to indulge in some seasonal chocolate, go get ’em (I’ll be enjoying it, too), but if you can, opt out of the individually tin-foil wrapped eggs and shop the bulk section instead. Bulk candy shops are still relatively widespread and lots of bulk sections in grocery stores have at least a few treats. Bring your own bags and fill up on chocolates, jelly beans, and pastel-colored pastilles. Pack ’em up in a cloth bag, lay ’em end on end in a curvilinear bunny trail, or sprinkle ’em willy-nilly in your basket. (PS. If you’d rather avoid the candy aspect of the holiday altogether, that doesn’t mean you have to be bunny trail-less. Make a trail of tiny pebbles or feathers or seashells or birdseed instead!)clutter-free easter basket | reading my tea leaves

+ Go useful and practical. Think about everyday items in your house that need replacing or an upgrade and keep them in mind when filling your basket. Slip a few new pairs of underwear in a cloth bag. Replace yucky hand towels with a bright new set. Fold a new potholder into your basket. (And then just remember to pass along or dispose of whatever it is you’re replacing.)
clutter-free easter basket | reading my tea leaves+ Consider affordable or free alternatives to cheap, plastic toys. Affordability dictates a lot of Easter treats, but there are affordable alternatives to throwaway gifts that often fill up baskets (and later, rooms). Usable (and use-up-able gifts) like flower seeds, a few new colored pencils, modeling clay or beeswax, homemade playdough, a jar of collected “treasures” like seashells and stones, and other homespun treats are all inexpensive (or totally free!) gifts for kiddos.clutter-free easter basket | reading my tea leaves

+ Choose one special treat instead of a basketful. Especially for older children or loved ones, maybe forgo the tradition of offering a basket full of tiny treats altogether and opt for one something special instead? Bonus if the gift encourages an eco-friendly habit shift: A new bento bag to bring to the bakery? A set of beeswrap to replace plastic wrap? A bar shampoo to replace your plastic bottle? A new water bottle?clutter-free easter basket | reading my tea leaves

+ Give something green. Spring is the perfect time to get things growing and Easter is all about new life. A potted plant in an Easter basket (for kids of just about any age) is a nice (and easily budget-friendly) idea.
clutter-free easter basket | reading my tea leaves+ Use the real deal over the fake version. I know a lot of folks use the argument that plastic Easter eggs can be reused in season after season. But if you don’t have them yet and you’d rather not store them or buy new plastic, opt out! Hard boil a dozen eggs, dye ’em if you’re up to it, and have kids hunt for those instead. On the Easter grass front, I never get around to posting about this early enough, but you might still have time to grow a little wheatgrass in a sunny windowsill. I worked on this post a few years ago…same basic instructions, in whatever vessel you choose. No time for real grass? Skip it altogether!
clutter-free easter basket | reading my tea leavesFor the curious, a few specifics:

The basket. (Found locally at Collyer’s Mansion.)

The seeds. (Found locally at GRDN.)

The colored pencils. (Found locally at Collyer’s Mansion.)

The brush.

The hand towel

The playdough recipe.

The bright blue easter egg recipe.

The pot. (Found locally at GRDN.)

The muslin bags.

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  • Reply Erin March 22, 2016 at 9:25 am

    These are GREAT! At our house, we try to keep Easter minimal. The older kids tend to get a few bucks, and I believe we’re going to get the little one a second hand (re: very inexpensive) bike this year. Baskets are small and filled with a few bits of candy (don’t get me started on that nasty plastic Easter grass – I hate it).

    Sadly, I am highly allergic to most Easter flowers, so as gifts – I tend to just give plants.

    I saw Fair Isle had a neat post on dying wooden eggs. That seemed like a neat idea – those could be given away to family members as gifts! May be neat to see the children’s artistic progression over time. 🙂

  • Reply Heather March 22, 2016 at 9:39 am

    So helpful. Thank you! Was just discussing ways to not spend a lot of money or give out a lot of sugar come Easter Sunday with a good friend. Just sent her your post. Love these ideas.

  • Reply Bridgit March 22, 2016 at 9:52 am

    I love the basket. What size did you get?

    • Reply Erin Boyle March 22, 2016 at 10:36 am

      Not positive what size this is. Medium? I’d guess it’s about a foot in diameter!

    • Reply Jenn March 22, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      FYI if you are looking for these baskets elsewhere- they are Lantern Moon Rice Baskets. You can find them with different colors woven in, usually on knitting sites.

  • Reply Heather March 22, 2016 at 11:02 am

    I love this! So pretty and practical. My oldest is four and I’ve never made an Easter basket, but this makes me want to sneak over to the garden store for treats!

  • Reply Trish O March 22, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Great ideas. My boys are older (middle school), but for years we have given a little bit of small candies (jelly beans etc) we do use plastic eggs that we have had for years. We got these when the kids were very little at an Easter Egg hunt and have just kept using them. we also always get each a big chocolate bunny, then they get a small thing. For the past few years it has been new googles for summer (we never seem to be able to keep those from one summer to the next). Often it is an itune gift card (they are in middle school and like to get new music, apps, and books for their ipads).

    anyway, cute ideas.

  • Reply Mo March 22, 2016 at 11:22 am

    In Sweden you give reusable paper or tin Easter eggs that you fill with bulk candy. The one in the link is rather tacky but shows the concept well, others are rather sweet. (try googling påskägg)

  • Reply Jessie March 22, 2016 at 11:51 am

    It’s hard to find posts like this on the internets. Thank you for filling the void! This year is the first year we are doing Easter basket for our 2 year old: gifting him a backpack (for summer adventures), a new sun hat, and a vintage Beatrix Potter book set. I am sure the grandparents will contribute as well… so at least keeping our contribution to a minimum.

  • Reply Chloe March 22, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Do you have any clever kitchen storing/organizing solutions? I have very deep cupboards that I can’t reach the back of without standing on a chair, and drawers so deep you have to stack (and hide) items. I just feel like I’m wasting a lot of potential storing space, and that what I need often isn’t easily accessible.

  • Reply Elizabeth March 22, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    This is one of my favorite posts by you! So clever and creative! Definitely going to give this a go! Thanks for sharing, Erin.

  • Reply Alexa March 22, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Erin, you are truly my soul sister. I am doing this exact thing…but yesterday I wanted to cry when I opened up a box of plastic disposable stuff that came in the mail from the grandparents for Easter. I wish I could strategically place this blog post in a way that they could see it and maybe just consider why this is important to me. Its so wonderful to know I’m not alone in this, even if it hasn’t hit home with my family members.

    • Reply Nicole Brant March 22, 2016 at 5:15 pm

      I feel for you. I have the same situation. It’s hard to try and be eco-minded when it feels like your efforts always are met with resistance (or in my case, mockery). Makes me very thankful for Erin and this community full of like-minded individuals.

    • Reply MissEm March 23, 2016 at 10:18 am

      Yes – every year I try and do a simple, natural, beautiful Easter, and every year multiple family members inundate the kids with a pile of garish, cheap stuffed animals and disposable, poorly made and highly packaged stuff. They’re big into giving this sort of stuff for every. single. holiday. I love that they love my kids and think about them, I hate that it equals a pile of garbage and a consumeristic, disposable mindset in my kids.

  • Reply colleen March 22, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    What is the name of this beautiful plant I keep seeing in your posts?

    • Reply Erin Boyle March 22, 2016 at 10:05 pm


  • Reply Lisa March 22, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Such sweet ideas Erin! Though being from Sweden where we don’t generally give gifts beyond edible treats for Easter, the idea of going hunting for gifts AGAIN so soon after Christmas makes me a bit tired… My mother always cleverly rationed fruit in our house when I was little, and to this day an opportunity to eat unlimited amounts of fruit or cherry tomatoes is the height of luxury for me (even though as an adult I could theoretically do it every day if I wanted to). For easter my mother used to fill huge paper easter eggs (“påskägg”) with fruit and only a few pieces of our favourite candy. My brother and I probably got 1.5-2 kg of fruit each and it blew our minds. Love the idea of using a handmade basket instead.

  • Reply Ella March 22, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    A perfectly timed and very helpful post, thank you! I’ve been searching for hollow wooden eggs that we could re-use but now I am rethinking that and will perhaps just go for the real thing and fill some little baskets we already have on hand with edible treats instead.

  • Reply Nicole Brant March 22, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    This is terrific! Thank you for the suggestions!

  • Reply Libby March 22, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    Beautiful!! I don’t know why it never crossed my mind to fill an Easter basket with… anything that’s not completely tacky. 🙂 I feel like with things like this, you’d never grow out of looking forward to a basket every year.

  • Reply MissEm March 23, 2016 at 10:23 am

    We did a family of handmade dollhouse dolls one year, holding a little felted lamb and a tiny, dollhouse sized basket of jellybeans. It was so sweet. Sometimes we do good spring/Easter books (Beatrix Potter, a book about nests, books about Jesus’ life, etc), a chocolate bunny, and some little toy baby animals (like schleich or Holtziger). Flower seeds, radish seeds (easy for little ones to grow), gardening gloves – all good. Some year I really want to give them a real bunny as a pet, or if we ever live in a place that has room for chickens, I’d love to have baby chicks for Easter morning, a la Tasha Tudor.

  • Reply MissEm March 23, 2016 at 10:24 am

    Btw, I LOVE your idea of bulk candies in a muslin bag.

  • Reply Anna March 24, 2016 at 1:18 am

    Interesting read. We’ve skipped Easter baskets the last couple years; it was never really much of thing in my husband’s family and while I vaguely remember my grandparents giving us Easter baskets filled with candy, my parents tended to focus on the religious aspect of the holiday. This is our child’s third Easter so I’m thinking of colouring some eggs and giving her a little candy and calling that good. I like the idea of making it less plastic-ridden and choosing items more thoughtfully; I remember hating the “grass” that gets all over the place and growing out of liking the not-so-great cheap chocolate.

  • Reply heidi March 24, 2016 at 10:40 am

    love this.

  • Reply Shelly HW March 24, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    I thought about maybe putting in kite-making material in my son’s basket this year. He is 12 and I’m getting to the point where I am stumped on what to get him. He still thinks the Bunny is real too, so I am trying to hold onto that as long as I can. He loves kites, so maybe some wooden dowels and some light paper?

    • Reply Erin Boyle March 25, 2016 at 10:14 am

      Sounds perfect!

  • Reply Mun March 28, 2016 at 2:35 am

    Lovely, very well considered 🙂

  • Reply Steph M. March 14, 2017 at 8:46 am

    This is a really good idea! I always add something green when I make a gift basket, no matter what the occasion is. Love the way everything is packed, but you are not throwing anypackage atee the end 🙂 I’m surely making my Easter baskets like yours this year.Thsank you for the no-clutter idea!

  • Reply Karen T. March 13, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    My grandson is 2 1/2 this year. Instead of a basket, I bought a painted tin bucket he can use at the beach this summer, and I’ll shred some green printer paper to use as “grass.” I’ll add a bottle of bubble solution, one of the small Beatrix Potter books (he has “Peter Rabbit” and “Benjamin Bunny,” so I’ll choose another), a cardboard box of organic animal crackers, and a few chocolate eggs (they are foil-wrapped).

    When my kids were small we grew wheatgrass for Easter several times, and made paper flowers to decorate their baskets. They loved it.

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