Gift Closet How-To!

giftcloset11.jpg 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!)

board games

baby items

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! 

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5 Responses to “Gift Closet How-To!”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    I started my gift closet because my church does Secret Sisters. Then – after having 2 boys – I added things for their party giving needs. I keep things like lotions, picture frames, baking mixes and kid gifts. Like you mentioned – watching clearance sales and dollar bins is a must! I also firmly believe that presentation is everything, so I keep lots of great ribbons, cellophane bags, interesting gift boxes and tissue paper. My gift closet has bailed me out numerous times…including this weekend when my 16 year old stepson realized, at 11pm, that he should give his girlfriend something for Easter! Cellophane and cool ribbon dress things up amazingly well!

  2. Dee Says:

    What a great entry – this has given me loads of ideas.

    I have only just started a gift closet this year… I raided a discount mall brought bulk items of lotions, cheap luxury scarves and gloves and even some leather goods (keyrings and small coin purses). We don’t have kids yet – so I am only stocking “grown up” gifts.

    I like the idea of keeping the wrapping station nearby too – I am also sorting out one of these!

  3. Latoya Says:

    This is a GREAT idea! I spend so much time running around last minute for gifts, when I really could load up on items throughout the year, and probably spend a lot less money that way.

  4. Genevieve Le Bel Says:

    LOVED this post! I wouldn’t say I have a “closet” but I do stock up on gifts when I find them at a steal! Always have! My go-to gift for hostesses/teachers/BFFs is jewelry! I buy simple sterling silver earrings, fun bracelets… I also love to give fun bags that I know ppl might not splurge on but would love to own. U might not be able to justify a yellow tote, but would totally sport it if you had one!!! Kids are easy… anytime I have a few extra bucks I stock up on book! =)

  5. Rhonda Langford Says:

    I shared your Easter Centerpiece on FB, it’s too cute!
    As far as a gift closet…I have one, and I get them at my eOutlet store.
    Can’t wait to share more of your great posts.
    Have a Blessed Easter!

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