By Erin Huffstetler | 01/09/2017 | 3 Comments
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I reorganized my gift closet over Christmas break, and it’s the most organized it’s ever been. If you promise not to show my kids, I’ll let you see what I keep in there.
Normally, this 70 square foot space is completely off limits to everyone but me. My kids have never been inside my gift closet, and my husband has only been allowed to enter on rare occasion. It’s where I keep anything that I want to keep secret or out of the kids’ reach.
My gift closet occupies a small attic area that’s tucked behind our master bedroom. We plan to turn this space into a master bathroom someday, but for the past 13 years (and counting), it’s served as my gift closet.
This hard-working space is constantly evolving. As the kids get older, my needs for this space grow and change right along with them, and sometimes keeping up with all of that change can be a challenge. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I couldn’t even walk in my gift closet, so I knew it was time for a complete overhaul.
If you keep up with my curb finds, you may remember that I found several dressers over the past year. I’m now using them in my gift closet. I got tired of having to move a bunch of boxes around every time I needed something. Getting everything into drawers has solved that problem for me.
I’m currently utilizing four dressers inside my gift closet. Two of them were curb finds; the other two came from yard sales/estate sales. You can catch a glimpse of all four of them in that first picture, if you scroll back up to the top of the post.
As you’re about to see, my gift closet contains a lot more than gifts and gift wrap. Let’s get this tour started!
That big, maple dresser on the back wall is full of gifts. We’re big on buying ahead when we can. It allows us to find deals, and saves us from having to run out at the last minute for things. The top three drawers contain kid gifts. My girls are 12 and 14, so it’s mostly stuff that a teen girl would like. Whenever they need a birthday present or a Christmas present for a friend, I pull a bunch of stuff out, and let them pick. This allows them to still have the fun of “shopping.”
Everything you’ve seen, or are about to see, was purchased at deep discount. It’s stuff that I bought on clearance, found at a yard sale or thrift store or paid for with store rewards.
For example, all of this sidewalk chalk came from a yard sale. I got an unopened case at an incredible price, and it makes great niece and nephew gifts.
This dresser also contains a drawer full of “grown-up” gifts. It’s a mix of things that I’ve bought and made – nice candles, kitchen towels, etc. This is my go-to spot when I need teachers gifts or hostess gifts.
I also have a drawer where I keep the presents that I’ve bought for specific people. Whenever I need a gift, I always check to see if I have something for that person tucked in this drawer before I “shop” anywhere else in the closet. I should probably also mention that the gifts in this drawer are only for people outside of our immediate family. I store gifts for my husband and kids in a different spot (more on that in a bit).
The bushel basket that sits next to this dresser is full of little toys for Trick or Treaters. When the kids clean out their rooms, I toss all the little kids’ meal toys and trinkets into this basket. By the time Halloween rolls around, it’s always full. It saves me from having to buy candy, and keeps a lot of stuff out of the landfill. The kids in our neighborhood love this. It’s always fun to hear them get excited about whatever treasure they’ve unearthed. When the kids were little, I also used to let them pick out toys from this basket for their class treasure chests.
This is the other dresser that sits on that wall. It’s full of gift wrap supplies and party supplies.
I used my trusty label maker to list the contents of each drawer right on the front of the drawer. This cuts down on the time that I spend looking for stuff, and makes it easy for me to put new purchases away. This is the label maker that I have. I like to use clear label tape, so all you really see is the words.
The top two drawers contain gift wrap supplies – tape, gift bows, gift tags, etc.
The rest of the dresser is dedicated to party supplies.
I usually host no-waste parties, but I still keep some disposable plates, cups and napkins on hand.
The top of that dresser contains gift bags, tissue paper and other wrapping supplies. We’re big on reusing stuff, so after we open gifts, we fold gift bags and tissue paper back up (assuming they’re still in good condition), and store them to use again. I keep all of my gift bags in an empty copy paper box, arranged by occasion and size, so it’s easy to grab what I need.
The top of the maple dresser holds oversized gift bags, empty grocery sacks (handy for delivering gifts) and my box of greeting cards. Like my gift bags, they’re arranged by occasion. You can read more about how I organize my greeting cards here.
I keep all of my wrapping paper in a trash can. A surprising amount of my wrapping paper comes from curb piles. In fact, that’s where I got all of the unopened rolls that you see. The rest of my wrapping paper comes from yard sales.
This plastic bin is full of gift baskets, tins and boxes that I also use to wrap gifts. Whenever I find something at a yard sale, a curb pile or my recycling bin that looks like it would be useful for wrapping a gift, it goes here.
I rescued this little white dresser from a curb pile. It holds the rest of my gift stash.
I use metal tags to label these drawers. The contents of each drawer is written in wet erase marker, so they’re easy to change as needed.
There’s a drawer for Easter basket fillers, one for the kids’ stocking stuffers and one for each of the kids.
There’s also one for face paint and masks.
A basket on the top of this dresser holds Valentine cards. These were all bought on clearance.
The fourth, and final, dresser holds the kids’ grow-into clothes. Each drawer holds a different size, and is labeled with the same metal tags.
Whenever I come across good quality clothes at a great price, I tuck them in the appropriate drawer. By the time my oldest daughter hits that size, I have a complete wardrobe ready to go. We shop yard sales, thrift stores and consignment sales regularly, so this is a simple way to ensure that we never get stuck paying retail for clothing.
I even shop ahead for underwear and bathing suits. We don’t buy these items used, so you might think that means we’re stuck paying retail, but I sometimes find new, unopened packages of underwear at thrift stores, and I love to use those $10 off $10 department store coupons to score free underwear.
Now, that may be the last dresser, but it isn’t the last part of my gift closet. There’s also a section for school supplies.
The kids usually need four binders each at the beginning of the school year, and their teachers always specify certain colors and sizes, so I keep several crates of binders on hand. Most of these came from yard sales. Paying a quarter for a binder is so much less painful than paying $7 for one.
The rest of the school supplies are stashed away in rolling carts. We live in a college town, so we snatch these up for free when the college kids move out. As you can see, the front of these drawers are also labeled.
I try to stay well stocked on the supplies that we use regularly. At the beginning of the school year, I take inventory, and restock anything that we’re getting low on. This ensures that we’re only buying when the prices are at their lowest.
As the kids have gotten older, I’ve tweaked what I keep on hand. For example, I now keep ear buds, sketchpads and other high-quality art supplies in my stash.
Having all of these school supplies at the ready saves us money, but it also saves us time. It’s nice to not have to run any further than my gift closet when one of my daughters announces that she’s out of notebook paper or needs poster board for a project. So, while my gift closet may only be 70 square feet, I think it’s probably among the most important square footage in my house.
And since the kids have created their own gift closets in their rooms, I’d say they think so, too.