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Imagine never needing to run out and buy a last minute gift again—that’s the joy of having a gift closet. It also relieves any anxiety about whether or not you can afford to give a gift for an occasion, because you get the added bonus of knowing you got amazing deals on all the presents you give.
This is something I’ve been doing for many years, and I made a YouTube video several years ago sharing how we do it as well as key dates to know to catch the best clearance deals over the course of the year.
How to Create a Gift Closet and Save Money All Year
Consider your Season
In our season of life, I have kids’ birthday parties, baby showers, and weddings to attend. These occasions, in addition to Christmas, are my main gift giving occasions. You might be in a different season full of graduations and retirement parties. It’s helpful to start off making a list of what kinds of occasions you consistently need to purchase gifts for so that when you’re out and about and you spot a good deal, you’ll know if it’s worth buying!
What to Put in Your Gift Closet
Here are some ideas of what I’ve stockpiled over the years.
- Toys for your kids: Think about what they might enjoy when their next birthday comes around.
- Toys for birthday parties: Board games make great gifts (and they are on sale once a year at least in a big way!). I try to think through what age and stage my kids are in, and when there are good sales, I buy gifts for their friends. If you have older kids, it never hurts to talk to your kids about what kind of gifts they want to give, and then keep that on your radar when looking through the sales.
- Thank you gifts for teachers: If there’s a deal on gift cards, coffee, or other small items, think about putting them aside for end-of-the-year or Christmas gifts for teachers.
- Housewarming gifts: Household items are sometimes on sale at grocery stores or pharmacies, and you can set them aside for when friends move into a new home.
- Baby shower gifts: I almost always give a package of diapers and wipes. What mom doesn’t love free diapers!? At times, I’ll add something homemade like a favorite board book or even a regifted item from one of my own babies.
- Christmas gifts: You probably want to buy personal and carefully thought out gifts for those close to you, but you might also buy gifts for people for which something like a candle or a set of dish towels would be fine.
- Graduation gifts: You could create a lovely snack box of prepackaged goodies for their dorm room from your grocery stockpile. If they are moving into an apartment, a caddie of cleaning supplies would be a great idea. Any graduate would love some of those movie tickets you purchased off of a daily deal site or a restaurant gift card that was purchased when they had a special promotion.
A note about wedding gifts: I must admit that I do not stockpile for wedding gifts. I know how much thought I put into registering for what I needed; therefore, when I purchase wedding gifts, I try to get something off of the person’s registry (but I’ll go to Bed, Bath and Beyond and use a 20% off coupon if I can!).
Some of you might be vehemently opposed to regifting, and this can be a touchy subject. In all honesty, though, I wouldn’t be surprised if 90% of folks haven’t been on the receiving or giving end at least once. A time comes that you get a baby outfit from Great Aunt Beth that just isn’t your style, and while you can be incredibly grateful for the kindness of Great Aunt Beth to remember you, it is a bit wasteful to use something once out of duty and then let it just sit there. So here are some tips to regift:
- If you think you might forget who gave you the gift, put a sticky note on the bottom of it with the name of who gave it to you.
- Don’t re-gift it in the same circle of friends. You are less likely to hurt someone’s feelings that way.
- If you are going to be embarrassed if your regifting is discovered, just don’t do it. Save yourself the stress.
Gift Bags and Tissue Paper
One other massive money saving tip is to save your gift bags and tissue paper! I got married over a decade ago, and we are still using up wedding gift bags. I cannot imagine how much money this has saved me over the years. You can also get creative with your wrapping paper and tags. My artistic husband and I make snowflake gift tags each year for our Christmas presents, and my children have been known to decorate a brown paper bag with markers to wrap a friend’s gift.
One last thing: Thoughtfulness is key. You want to make sure that your gift communicates love and care. If you are just shoving an old gift into a bag, it will look that way. We really try to sort through our things with the person we are “shopping” for in mind. The purpose of giving gifts is to show love, and your heart will come through regardless of how much you spent.