How to Create a Gift Closet
You know the routine -- you’re about to walk out of the house for a party or celebration and you realize that you don’t have a gift. Everyone is dressed nicely, and you leave the kids in the car with your spouse to circle the parking lot while you run into Target to pick out something the giftee will love, which is also in your price range.
Yeah, like that ever works.
We’ve all done it (right? Tell me it’s not just me.). Make a last minute scramble due to forgetfulness or procrastination and end up spending way more that you planned. But there is a better way to give gifts: a way to give better quality gifts AND save money doing it. That’s the beauty of the gift closet.
My “gift closet” is a big misnomer because it’s not even a closet, just a box I keep in our finished attic where I store items I pick up throughout the year that I think would make great gifts. The beauty of a gift closet is that you are totally saved from the mad dash trip described above.
If you’re like me, you have a variety of gift-giving occasions throughout the year for a huge variety of recipients, from babies to kids to your 86 year old grandmother. The cost of these gifts add up, and not everyone has the time or ability to painstakingly craft beautiful homemade goodies (I still have materials for 4 “no-sew” fleece throws in my attic from 2 Christmas’s ago).
If you’ve been stockpiling gifts as you find them on sale throughout the year, you will always have something to reach for when an unexpected (or forgotten) gift-giving opportunity comes up. I have three favorite ways to stock up on gifts for a wide variety of recipients and occasions.
1. Daily deal sites like Groupon, DealPulp, or Mamasource are all great ways to save over 50% on gifts; in fact, with a few exceptions, that is how I get most of the gifts I buy. For example, in February there was a Barnes & Noble Groupon -- $20 worth for $10, and I had a discount code that brought that price down to $7. I was able to get my mother’s birthday present -- a Kate Spade cover for her new Nook -- for just $7, since it was marked down at the store to from $79 to $19.99. In fact, my mom was angry with me because she thought I spent full price on the Nook Cover, so I let her in on my secret.
2. Don’t forget to scour the clearance shelf any time you are out shopping. Two weeks ago I got a 52-pc. set of Crayola Sidewalk Chalk for $2.69 from the markdown bin at Aldi’s. I have a few 3-year old birthdays coming up in my circle of friends and family, and this would be a perfect summer gift. I also have a number of fancy bath products -- bought on clearance -- in my stockpile that I can put together in a recycled gift bag to make a pretty and useful gift.
3. I like to keep on hand a variety of small gifts for kids from Amazon. If you don’t have AmazonPrime, it’s always a challenge to get your order to $25 to get free shipping. I keep a number of small $5-$10 items for kids in my shopping cart so they’re right there when I am ready to check out. It’s easy to do especially if I pick out items that are good for kids my children’s ages -- we are always going to a birthday party for someone.
4. I am really outing myself here, but I have found great gifts at yard sales! How? You might be surprised how many "New with Tags" or "New in Package" items can be found among piles of other people's stuff. And, as always, I make sure the item is something that someone I know will use and love.