It never fails. Some event rolls around that you weren’t expecting and now you’re in a hurry to Choose a gift. Or perhaps a birthday snuck up on you and you didn’t have a gift purchased and now you feel like a dud. Wouldn’t life be easier if you had a few gifts already on hand that you could pull out at a moment’s notice? By creating your own gift closet you don’t ever need to get caught unprepared again.
What is a gift closet?
A gift closet is simply a place where you store gifts that you’ve picked up ahead of time for gift giving occasions that you know will come up through the year.
It’s also where you keep a few “just in case” gifts for events that you might not be expecting but that are pretty common. After all, we can all be pretty sure that at some point we’re going to need to give a baby gift, or be invited to a housewarming. When these events pop up, instead of having to make a mad dash to the store, you simply choose something you’ve already purchased. Basically, a gift closet is simply insurance that you’re never caught without something that you can give at the last minute should you get caught unprepared.
Why do you need a gift closet?
Gift closets are great! They allow us to pick up gifts we find for family and friends all during the year and store them until it’s time to give them. This means we can save money by taking advantage of sales and discounts. And if you’re anything like me, you always find the best stuff when you’re not actively looking for it. That gift closet frees you from last minute shopping at the most crowded – and expensive – times.
Basically, the benefits of a gift closet are:
- saves you save time
- saves you save money
- saves you save energy
- saves you save frustration
And it may just help you save face in a potentially embarrassing situation!
Where to create your gift closet
We use the term gift closet but I’ve stored gifts in a variety of places depending on my home at the time. One house we lived in had a built in dresser in the master bedroom with six very large, deep drawers. This was the perfect place to stash gifts as well as wrapping supplies like tissue paper, gift sacks, folding boxes, and ribbons and bows. I can’t tell you how much I hated leaving that house behind.
But your gift closet can be any place where you’ve got some extra space: in boxes under the bed, in airtight plastic bins stores in the garage, or in boxes on the top shelf of a closet. The only limit is your imagination.
You do, however, want to make sure that the gifts you’re storing will remain in good shape. You don’t want items to get crushed or messed up. So it is important to find a place that won’t be subject to extreme temperatures, pests, or anything else that might cause them to end up ruined.
How to fill your gift closet
The best way to fill your gift closet is the easiest: simply be on the lookout all year for gifts that the people on your shopping list would enjoy. This way you’re not expending any (or much) extra effort, you’re not making extra trips, and you’re not running around at the last minute desperate for something to give.
I like to make sure I hit sales tables and I find great gifts this way. If you find the perfect gift for someone, do they really care that you bought it on sale ahead of time?
How to keep track of what’s in your gift closet
The key to making a gift closet work for you is to always be sure of what you’ve already purchased. You’ll also want to keep a good list of who you’ve already bought gifts for so that you don’t forget. There’s nothing worse than to find a gift you bought for someone right after the occasion has passed.
Think about the kinds of gifts we typically are invited to give
Now you might be wondering what kinds of things you should keep in your gift closet. Fortunately, this is really easy. Simply sit down and list out the gift giving occasions that you’ll have throughout the year. List the major holidays when you give gifts and make a list of everyone that you give birthday gifts to (be sure to note their ages as this will help when you’re shopping).
Then make a list of other special occasions that might arise throughout the year. Most of us are probably invited to the same type of events over and over. Typical events include baby showers, wedding showers, housewarmings, secret Santa exchanges, teacher appreciation, and graduations.
For any of these type events you can stock up on generic gifts that anyone would enjoy. I’ve got some suggestions below:
- welcome mat
- bottle of wine
- scented candles
- picture frames
- gourmet jams or snacks
- onesies or pajamas
- baby toys
- kitchen or bath towels
- picture frames
- bottle of wine and corkscrew
- scented candles, soaps, or lotions
- throw blankets
Secret Santa exchanges or teacher appreciation:
- candy and snacks
- coffee mugs
- gourmet teas or coffees
- Christmas ornaments
And there are always times when you get caught by surprise and someone you weren’t expecting gives you a gift. Having an assortment of generic items you can discretely go choose from can be a lifesaver. After all, the recipient doesn’t have to know that you didn’t choose the item specifically for her.