Growing up, my mother’s closet was a magical place I was rarely allowed to venture. Sure, it contained her clothes and shoes and other accessories: all the things you expect to find. But beyond that, there was a shelf filled with a seemingly countless selection of toys, books, jewelry, knick-knacks, gift bags, and tissue paper.
Anytime we were invited to an event that required a gift, my mother would carefully peruse her closet and make the perfect selection for the guest of honor. As I entered my pre-teen and teenage years, I began to resent the “gift closet”. Why couldn’t we just buy a gift? Why was I limited to gifts she’d already picked? I didn’t truly appreciate the beauty of the gift closet back then.
Now, as an adult and a mother myself, I see just how valuable it was. Not only was it incredibly convenient not to have to make a separate trip to the store, but it saved both time and money. By purchasing items throughout the year, and taking advantage of clearance and end-of-season sales, my mom achieved two genius things: she rarely had to pay full price for nice gifts, and she spread out her spending to avoid big bills around holidays.
If a gift closet sounds like something you’d like to implement in your home, here’s a few tips to get you started:
Clean Out a Designated Space in Advance
Learn from my mistakes! When I first started cultivating my own, it started out as pile in the bottom of my closet. Even when I had a reason to grab something out of it, the thought of digging through the mess was enough to stop me. Having a cleaned and organized space will keep the gift closet functional and prevent it from becoming overwhelming.
Be Considerate and Thoughtful
Unless something is super-mega cheap, try not to buy just to buy. It’s always nice to have a few candles or bath sets on hand, but paying attention to your friends and family throughout the year will allow you to get them great gifts for the least amount of money and stress. Make mental (or actual!) notes of their favorite animals, tv shows, flowers, etc. and be on the lookout for items they’ll like as you do your shopping.
Wait for Sales
My mother taught me to discount shop like a boss, and honestly, it’s one of the most valuable things she’s ever taught me. After-season sales are my absolute favorite, then overstock stores like Hudson’s Treasure Hunt and Ollie’s. With the exception of groceries and gas, I basically never pay full price for anything.
If you already have your own gift closet, I’d love to hear about it! And if not, I hope these tips have inspired you to give one a try!