A few years ago, weary from running to the store every Saturday morning to find a gift for one of the 750 birthday parties we attend each weekend, I decided it was time for a change. I decided to create a Gift Closet…one that would be well stocked with just enough hostess, birthday, anniversary, housewarming and teacher gifts to keep me prepared for the next event.
It took a while to get the closet to where I feel ready at a moment’s notice, and it does require a bit of updating, but once it was set up, I didn’t stress over last minute party invitations. Here are some tips for you to get started on your own:
First, consider your greatest gift-giving needs. Because I have 3 daughters, children’s birthday parties are a huge part of our lives right now. At some point the oldest one stopped getting invited to boy parties (ewwww), but the two younger ones still do, so I consider the age and gender of the gifts I anticipate we will need to have on hand. We currently have some cool Spiderman and Superman items for boys, but we also have art supplies, a couple fun stuffed animals, books, and DVDs, which are all perfect for a boy or a girl. In the event of a very girly-girl, there are some fun Hello Kitty things, pretty jewelry sets and makeup kits. For the bigger girls, I have a couple of items that are perfect to have personalized like denim bags and beach towels. I just call one of the ladies in town who monograms a few days in advance and we are good to go!
Also, I often need” just a little something” for my girlfriends who host dinner or some other gathering, so a smattering of hostess gifts are included. Bottles of wine and wine stoppers, cute ruffly aprons, sets of coffees and flavored syrups, Mom’s Organizers, scented candles, favorite books and CDs are perfect.
Of course over the years I have also included a few gifts that can be used for a variety of friends like mystery novels, moleskin journals, sports items, grill accessories and frames.
Keep your eye out for sale items, as well as the ever-so-popular Dollar Spot in Target and Michael’s. And if you live near an IKEA, well….lucky you! I find I can put several inexpensive items together so that it makes a rather impressive basket of themed goodies. In the event that I purchase something that needs to be returned but I don’t get around to it (ugh) or have misplaced the receipt (ugh), items have been known to make their way into the Gift Closet that way, too. Sometimes when I’m traveling I’ll come across something for the Closet (like the time the Four Seasons gave me an extra pair of very cozy slippers to keep). Sales are the BEST place to look. Keep your eyes peeled and once you get into the habit of looking, you’ll know a good Gift Closet item as soon as you see it.
Here are a few other inexpensive ideas to get you started:
reusable water bottles
baking/cooking supplies (this is great for children too! Throw in a cake or brownie mix and it’s a big hit!)
seasonal items on clearance (holiday, warm/cold weather related things)
gardening kits (seed packs, gloves pretty pots)
notecards, gel pens & stamps
crayons, coloring books & markers
small tool kits
“spa” items (facial masques, pretty polish, foot soaks, bath items)
perpetual calendars (especially the inspirational/thought/word/joke-a-day kind)
Keep some wrapping paper, tape, ribbon and scissors on a shelf in or near the closet, along with small blank gift cards and you’ll be ready go. My girls LOVE to “go shopping” in the gift closet and I always feel prepared when we are blessed enough to be invited to celebrate any occasion with our friends.
Do you have a Gift Closet? I’d love to know what items you keep on hand and any tips you can share too!