Your new spouse might be the best present you receive at your wedding, but the other gifts are pretty great, too.

However, the process of registering for gifts can often be more overwhelming than fun, especially in the age of the internet. And the last thing you want is to start your new life together with a bunch of clutter and gifts you’ll never use.

Here are a few expert tips to help you register smarter – and avoid having to do a bunch of returns when you return from your honeymoon.

1. Take inventory

Before you can determine what gifts you want or need, you need to figure out what you already have. Go through each room and make a list of what is in good shape, what needs replacing and what is missing. Be sure to start early, preferably soon after you get engaged so that you can publish your registry long before the wedding date.

2. Cover the basics

If you don’t already live with your significant other, you’re probably starting from scratch. So, be sure to include plenty of household fundamentals on your registry before you think about extras, like an air fryer or espresso machine.

Some must-haves for every couple: “A great set of everyday china and flatware, a set of pots and pans, and some nice platters,” says Barbara Reich, owner of Resourceful Consultants, LLC, adding “there’s a chapter in my book, ‘Secrets of an Organized Mom,’ that lists the basic needs for any kitchen. This is a great place to start!”

3. Be realistic

One of the best ways to excess clutter on your registry is to be honest with yourself. Don’t register for items just because you’re “supposed to” or because you’ll maybe use it someday.

“Register for what you’ll use in the foreseeable future. Many couples that register for fine china and fancy flatware end up never using it. After storing it for years, they then realize that it’s no longer their taste,” explains Reich.

4. Consider your space

In addition to considering your wants and needs, you should also factor in your living space when creating your registry. In other words, “avoid registering for things [you] have no room to store. That usually prevents filling the list with clutter,” says Reich.

It can also be helpful to start making extra room in your home for new gifts by decluttering before the wedding. If you’re planning to move soon after the wedding, you can also rent extra storage off-site while you make the transition.

5. Think outside the (gift) box

Another great way to prevent clutter: register for experiences rather than material items.

Love to travel? Ask guests to help fund your honeymoon with services like Honeyfund. Want to experience more culture? Put annual memberships to a local museum or season tickets to a local theater on your list. Is there a new skill you want to pick up? Register for classes to learn how to cook, surf or make cocktails. 

You can also use your registry to do some good by asking guests to donate to your favorite cause rather than buying a physical gift.

6. Know your audience

“Think about who will be invited to the wedding and how much they will be likely to spend on a gift. Then, make sure there are items at every price point,” advises Reich. “You want to encourage friends and family to buy gifts on your registry instead of ‘going rogue.’ Random gifts you don’t want create work when you want to return them.”

©CTW Features