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GIFT CLOSETS - In the dark about gift closets? Thrifty gift ideas and solutions.

find-affordable-gifts-onlineA gift closet is handy for those last-minute emergency events that spring up throughout the year, may otherwise catch you by surprise, and send you on a mad dash to the store. Developing a system that will work for you is simple and will prove to be not only a budget saver, but a timesaver as well.

Location, Location, Location:

For starters, you will need to find an area to store your gifts. If you do not have a spare closet or enough space in your closet, all is not lost. You can simply reserve an area in another part of the house such as the basement, attic, spare shelf, or underneath your bed. You can store gifts in a tote, boxes, baskets, or even in bags. It is ideal to have a closet, but the key is just finding a safe and handy spot that works for you. The concept is to provide enough space to hide your stash and not so hidden that you forget it’s there.

Creating a Master List:

Take some time to consider all the people you normally buy presents for throughout the year. You can then list any possible potential gifts you may need to give. You can start a list in a notebook. Write down names, ages, birthdays, anniversaries, various holidays, and sizes. Some examples of atypical gifts to plan for are kids birthday parties, thank you gifts, hostess gifts, congratulatory, cheer up gifts, and teacher gifts. Be sure to include any personal information about the gift recipients, such as their likes and dislikes, hobbies, or decor styles.

When adding to your notes, it is a good idea to begin paying attention and keeping your ears open to the people you will be buying gifts for. They sometimes mention things they have seen that they like or drop subtle hints. Whenever you recognize a hint, simply jot it down. You can also do a little investigating and notice items they already own or even casually ask questions that will assist you in your planning.

This master list is an important part of planning your gift closet. The key is to purchase thoughtful gifts for the people on your list. You are striving for something they will like, but are unlikely to purchase. If all else fails, you can check handy websites for ideas.

Scoping Out the Goods:

You can start shopping for your gift closet anytime. I like to start shopping right after Christmas for the upcoming year. Holiday clearance sales have a wonderful selection of inexpensive gift items. It is the best time to stock up on giftwrap, tape, cards, bows, and gift tags and bags too.

Christmas is not the only time you can get bargains. You can check after each major holiday, change of season, and random sales throughout the year. Discount department stores, grocery stores, and dollar stores are a good place to hunt out gift treasures too. There are also a plethora of bargains to be found at garage sales, estate sales, and thrift stores. Yes. Secondhand gifts are acceptable in many cases.

Regift and Recycle:

We all have received gifts that we do not really care for, want, or need. You know those less than perfect gifts you have received and are unsure what to do with. These items do not need to take up space in your home and remain disliked or unused. You are not stuck with these items cluttering up your home. It was given to you as a gift. That permits you to do with it as you wish. You can add them to your gift closet. You can pass them onto others that will appreciate them. It takes a little creativity, consideration, caution, and planning to regift or recycle with finesse.

Planning Ahead:

You have selected your gift closet area. Be sure to maintain notes on who gave you which gift to avoid an embarrassing situation later. You can keep notes on upcoming gift-giving occasions and potential recipients that might appreciate your unwanted gifts. Lookover each gift and make sure there are not any pricetags, rips in packaging, personalized notes or writing, or anything that reflects that the gift is outdated or obviously used.

Thoughtful Consideration:

The idea of regifting is not merely to unload your unwanted items. Take time and consider who might appreciate your unwanted item. The main thing to consider is the recipient. The whole concept of a gift is the thought you put into selecting it and the thought behind it. You are attempting to convey your feelings with your gift. Refer to your master list and do not add useless junk to your gift closet.


Many of your unwanted gifts can be grouped together with other gifts. Maybe on it is own a regift is too small of an item, but when coupled with another gift, it is a wonderful add-on. You can create a gift basket and add a regift to it. You can also embellish your regift to make it more pretty. Items like empty jars, tins, and baskets can store homebaked goods. You can add a personalized photograph to a regifted frame. Think of other ways the items can be used, re-used, and enjoyed by the recipient.

Exercise Caution:

Do not regift in the same family or social circles. That is just asking for trouble. The last thing you want is Aunt Mary seeing that puffy sweater she gave to you on your cousin at the next family gathering.

You should not try to pass these items off as being new, if they are not new. You know the recipients well enough to know which people you can inform that the item is secondhand and which members you cannot. Keep in mind that if you thought it was a horrible and tacky gift, you should not regift it unless you know it is an item someone would like. When in doubt, you can either resell it or donate the completely useless and tacky gifts.

You also do not want to regift any items that the gifter will notice you no longer have in your posession. If your friend comes over often, she may ask you where you are hiding that fabulous gift she gave you.

Suggested new or secondhand items for your gift closet:


-crafts, pens, markers, and crayons

-seasonal merchandise like mugs, plates for cookies, mittens, scarves, hats, ear muffs, seeds, ornaments, placemats, towels, potpourri, and wreaths

-stationery, journal, and books

-office and school supplies

-clearance baby items

-cds, dvds, and sheet music

-games and toys

-bath and beauty items



-kitchen gadgets, appliances, and baking supplies


-wallet, keychains

-water bottle

Purchasing these items, when they are on sale or secondhand for your gift closet, saves a considerable amount of money. It does not leave you with those hefty bills come holiday and gift giving time. It helps your holidays be less stressful, so you can focus on the joy of special occasions. You will also become known as a thoughtful gift giver that chooses the perfect gifts that creatively express your thoughts and feelings. Plus, you are a savvy shopper too.

Get started on planning your gift closet. It sure beats rushing to the store, grabbing any old thing, and wrapping gifts in the car on the way to the occasion. Think of your gift closet as convenience shopping. For any readers still not convinced a gift closet is a concept for them to utilize, please read the following website: At the very least, you will avoid being a bad gift-giver.

Sara Noel is a freelance writer and the Editor/Publisher of Frugal Village for information on getting back to basics through frugality, gardening, lost arts, simplicity, homesteading, and natural family living.

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