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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Do you keep a gift closet?

It doesn't have to be a full closet. It can be a dedicated shelf in a closet or cupboard, or a storage trunk, or a box under the bed. Just a place where you stockpile gifts as you buy, receive free, or make.

My gift closet is a small section of my bedroom closet. In it I have items suitable for birthday, Christmas, Valentine's, housewarming, weddings and bridal showers, and group gift exchanges. At Christmas, I raid the gift closet for stocking stuffers for my kids. And at Easter, I do the same for basket fillers. In my gift closet, I also keep components of a gift, such as jars that I plan on filling with something yummy, to use as a gift, or containers that I'll use to nicely package a hand-crafted gift.

When I have specific items for specific people, I put those items into plastic shopping bags, with handles, and hang them from a hook on the inside of the door to that closet. Just a way to insure I don't accidentally gift something intended for one person, to another, or for me to check my bag for a specific person and see if I'm about done and ready to wrap and box for shipping.

Which also brings me to this, I collect shipping boxes  and mailers, year round. Mostly I'm looking for small and lightweight boxes or mailers, trying to match the size of box as closely as possible as the gift, itself. And in some instances, when I have all the components to one person's gift, I wrap, pack and label the box, ready to drop at the post office near the occasion.

I often shop, long in advance of an occasion, for specific people. When I find a great item on clearance, for someone in particular, I pick it up, even if I won't be gifting it for close to a year. Last year after Christmas, I picked up several Christmas gifts for this year. Those items are in the gift closet.

I also have several people on my gift list with spring birthdays. I shop for their gifts in the after Christmas clearance sales, too. It's a real convenience to have their gifts already bought and waiting for the actual birthday. The bonus is that I make fewer trips to stores to buy gifts. I buy for several birthdays at a time. And then I don't need to even think about it until I'm wrapping the gift.

Sometimes, this backfires on me. Like the sweater that I bought for my dad, planning on gifting it to him the next Christmas. But he passed away the June before. It still sits in a box in the closet. If I don't give it to someone this next year, I'll donate it to our church's giving tree (you find an unnamed person -- someone in need that year -- on the tree branch, with info like male/female/what they need/want, then buy their gift, and a group from our church delivers all of the gifts). But most of the time, when I find I no longer need a gift that I've pre-bought, I simply choose to gift it to someone else.

Maybe this all sounds too planned, and takes the fun out of gift shopping. But, for me, it helps me to just relax and enjoy special events and occasions.


  1. I keep a dedicated drawer or two in my spare bedroom for this purpose. I keep a baby gift (either gender-neutral, or one each for girl and boy), something appropriate for a wedding shower or female birthday (usually kitchen items bought on sale), and gifts that I collect through the year for my family, and any other things I pick up on sale. I look for Christmas ornaments around or just after Christmas for the next year (for gift exchanges, teacher gifts, etc.), and shop seasonal sales. I also keep general ideas in my head as I see sales--- I like doing first aid kits for graduation or wedding gifts so I will collect those items throughout the year. I bought several multi-packs of gift boxes at a local discount store 90% off a few years ago and reuse those and bags throughout the year. Several stores will also provide boxes with purchase if I remember to ask (empty box for free as opposed to paying for gift wrap).

    1. Hi Doc,
      The baby gift is a good one. I used to keep some baby things on hand, but that has gotten away from me. And now as my kids and sibs' kids are growing up, maybe I should do a baby gift or two, too. I also like the first aid kit for wedding gifts. It's definitely something they'd not receive from anyone else, and soooo useful. Great tips, Doc!

      Have a wonderful day!

  2. What a smart idea! I have done this in years past when the kids were little and I had a bigger house. I would buy after Christmas sale items for the following year or even for the parties that happened to take place after Christmas. But as the kids grew up their needs took priority and we stopped giving Christmas gifts because we give all year long by supporting them while in school. They understand. We don't do family exchange gifting at Christmas for extended family either. I would like to start a little bit again so at least someone has something. I'll have to think about this a bit.

    My youngest child had her 20th birthday on the 5th of August and this will be her last birthday for gifts for a while. We wrapped a mango and gave that to her first. She just laughed. Then she opened silicone cutting boards which she knew she was getting. Then she opened a mango corer which we had never seen before but thought it was perfect for her. Now it all made sense why she got a mango! Lastly, we got a small smoothie blender that we wrapped in paper and a lei. It kind of wound up being a Hawaiian theme which she told me later SHE LOVED. She claimed it to be the perfect birthday!

    Oldest daughter is on her flight to live in Honduras after a nightmare of a day yesterday with cancelled flights (Delta). She actually got on a flight last night because her early morning flight for this morning was cancelled. She had to rush a bit but was able to get to Atlanta last night and I see she is boarding her flight to Honduras right now. We told her there was a reason for all this and that maybe she was needed for something as she sat in the airport 10 hours last night. Yes, she indeed was needed to help a Brazilian mom and daughter who were also stuck overnight and couldn't figure out how to get a taxi to get to the hotel. My daughter wasn't to have received a voucher for a hotel but Delta gave her one anyway so she helped this couple with a taxi and helped them get to their hotel. She's fluent in Spanish but not Portuguese but somehow it was enough to help them get where they needed. There's always a reason for an inconvenience.


    1. Hi Alice,
      I was thinking of you this week, and your daughter leaving. What a busy and emotional time for your family. I'm glad she got off okay, even with the last-minute changes. You know, I'm trying to think about that more often, too, that when a change to my plans comes up, it's likely because God has other plans to use me or for me. We don't always get to understand what His plans are, but we can accept that He is in control, and we are just where we are supposed to be.

      I love the gifts you gave to your 20 year old daughter. How very fun and unique! I may steal some of those for a couple of young adults I know.

      Have a great day, Alice!

  3. Being empty nesters, we have too much space and therefore...stuff. One bedroom is a dedicated storage room, since we don't have basement or attic space. I store a mix of old keepsakes, seasonal things, and new purchases. Whenever I buy something that was a good price that I think someone could use, it goes there. I box or bag things that go together, either by recipient or use. Right now there is no room to walk, when I have to find something I have to move plastic crates three rows deep. One day I will find a system to organize everything I have in that room, plus there are more crates that store clothing and craft materials in other rooms. I like having more stuff than I need, because I'm a packrat, that too, but I like to save money and buy as much as I can ahead of need. Plus, I craft everyday, so that requires having an assortment of materials at hand. I wish I could be more purposeful and focused in my gifting, I buy, stock and give in rather random fashion.

    Have a good day!!


    1. Hi YHF,
      Oh, I understand the wanting to keep lots of supplies for crafting on hand. I have a similar issue with sewing. I have a closet full of sewing stuff, saved fabrics, used clothing that I'm saving for the fabric, etc. At some point, I'm really going to have to make at least one of the quilts that I've planned, or at least the quilt front, to finish later. So long as you know where everything is, that's what counts, right?

      have a great day, YHF!

  4. Yes, I do this, but I am not as organized as you are. I have found it helpful to pick up "minor" gifts for family members (for Christmas, birthdays ... )throughout the year when they are on sale, and save the larger gifts for closer to the celebration date. I also keep a stock of cards on hand because I don't always have time to search for a card when one is needed (especially a bereavement card).

    1. Hi Kris,
      With my kids, I often don't buy that "big" gift until closer to the event, because, as you know, the thing they really want or need can changes between April and December. Keeping cards on hand is a real boon, too. It means I'm much more likely to send a card when it's called for, than to keep putting it off because I can't get out to the store to chose one. I do need to organize those cards better, though. But that's another project.

      Have a wonderful day, Kris!

  5. I keep a box or two in my closet of gifts that I have found ahead of time, sometimes for a specific person, sometimes not. I do this with cards too, as I do not really enjoy shopping under pressure. I do much better with keeping the time and spending down this way. It brings me joy to be able to go to "the gift box" and choose a gift for someone.

    1. Hi Mary,
      I have really found that if I shop for Christmas gifts between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I get caught up in the frenzy of spending money, and the pressure of having to find the "perfect" gift. I wind up spending way, way too much. So a gift closet really works for me. I get that same sense of joy "shopping" my gift closet! And it's nice to know that if all falls apart, financially, for us, I can still put together some nice gifts for the people I love.

      Have a wonderful day, Mary!

  6. I keep a plastic storage bin for gifts.

    I also try to keep cards on hand. I buy them several at a time at places like Dollar Tree to help keep the costs down. I am more apt to promptly send one if I have them on hand.

    I think my biggest pitfall is making my list and not sticking to it. I always find such wonderful things out on the shelves near Christmas

    1. Hi Busy Bee,
      yes! Having the cards on hand makes it more likely I will get a card in the mail in good time! I don't always have enough cards on hand, but I'm working at that. I found a great clearance on birthday cards at Jo Ann's fabrics this spring, and picked up cards for several birthdays and weddings. Just nice to have those already.

      Have a great day, Busy Bee!

  7. I used to keep a supply of gifts around, but don't any more. Space was limited and I don't give out enough gifts that I needed a supply. Also, I volunteered in a thrift shop at one point and we would get boxes of teachers gifts and other boxes of well intended but not used gifts. That led me to more use- up type of gifts or experience type gifts. Also, we draw names on both sides of the family and that doesn't happen until October. So I really don't know who I'm buying for. And as you noted with your kids, I wait closer to the time to see what they need.

    However, with all that being said, I would like to be more organized with my gift giving. Maybe after we get moved, I'll follow your lead.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      You do what works for you, and that's what counts! What you point out, about all of the unused gifts given, is important to consider. As our kids have grown, they don't always need stuff, so I've wanted to do things like buy art museum exhibit tickets, or take kids on a trip, in lieu of spending lots of money of gadgety things. Also, with gift cards, now, sometimes a gift card s the right gift. I also stock up on gift cards, when I can earn more fuel rewards points. I may not save any money buying the gift card, but I'll earn more fuel rewards, and that will save down the road.

      Have a great day, live and learn!

  8. yes I do! This helps keep costs down for myself and my
    daughter. It is really wonderful for a last minute gift
    and also for those planned Christmas gift our budget
    is not very big so buying ahead and making really helps.
    I keep the gifts in plastic tubs. One for baby one for one Christmas. recently we had a baby shower and I could not get to the baby tub so I made a gift.
    Since then I have rearranged and can find things. It just seemed daunting to have to restack all those
    tubs.We are trying to come up with a better storage solution. So far too pricey. I have a small dresser that I keep my gift wrap and cards in this works well. We also use under the bed for storage. My daughter has a lot of room under her bed for storage.
    She needs stairs to climb in so takes advantage of that. I would like something similar for my room. I have files and things you need to save but very rarely need access to in my room. No garage and no outside storage makes it tricky. So yes I do this and
    am excited to say as I go thru 1 plastic box a day
    I am almost ready for Christmas.I have 2 big tubs of yarn so I am making good use of that. I also just found 2 new purses and a couple of dress scarves. I love giving gifts. So it is a blessing to buy and make ahead.

    1. Hi Patti,
      I love giving gifts too! I was thinking about this yesterday. It brings me joy to give a gift to someone.
      You really can fit a fair amount of stuff under a bed. Even my bed, which is somewhat close to the floor, I can fit all kinds of stuff under there. I would like to put small wheels or casters onto some containers, to be able to slide in and out more easily, and use that space better.

      It sounds like you are so far ahead on your Christmas work! Good job, Patti! I hope you have a wonderful day, today!


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