I’m about to let you all in on a little secret. I learned it from my mama. This secret has the potential to change your life. Or at least your gift giving routines. If your child has received a gift from my family in the past 10 years, it has come from my a stash of toys in my hall closet, aka the gift closet. The box in the gift closet is filled with puzzles, play-doh products, art sets, baby outfits, and popular candles. I even have gifts for specific people – my nieces and nephews and my own children – stored in this closet. All of it was bought on sale.
“But wait”, you say, “The biggest gift giving season of the year just ended, why are you sharing this secret now?” I’ll tell you why.
NOW and everyday is the best time to start shopping for Christmas and other gifts you’ll need for the year.
When I’m out shopping and notice a great sale on a popular product or classic toy, I’ll buy it. If the price is rock bottom, fantastic, you’ll-never-see-it-this-low-again, I’ll buy several. When I need a gift for a birthday party, new baby, “thank you” gift for a teacher, last minute Christmas gifts, or a white elephant gift exchange, I’ll look in the closet first.
About 90% of the gifts I’ve given to children close to my family were bought months ahead of time – specifically for them – and stored in the closet. I expect to buy them a gift, so why not shop all the great sales with my loved ones in mind. One year I purchased 2 sets pajamas and matching fuzzy slippers from Children’s Place during their winter clearance sale, and gave them to my two nieces for Christmas 11 months later. Another year I bought a Melissa and Doug doll house for 50% off at the School Aids sidewalk sale, which is every year in May, and put it away for my girls for Christmas. At the same sidewalk sale, I found canvas purses that screamed “8 year old girl” that had been marked down by 75%. My neices were thrilled to recieve them at their birthday parties months later. And I ALWAYS hit up Victoria’s Toy Station’s July sale when the entire store is 20-50% off. I stock up on gifts for Christmas for my younger nieces and nephews, stocking stuffers, baby gifts for pregnant friends, and birthdays that I know are coming up in the second half of the year. Zulily and Dirt Cheap finds have also made their way into my gift cloest!
And what about wrapping? I re-use birthday gift bags that were gifted to my kids. I keep those in the closet, too. It really is a one stop shop in my closet!
Clearly this strategy for shopping and gift giving has saved not only money, but the stress of finding the perfect last minute gift. I’ve stopped at the Dollar General on the way to a party when my gift closet was lacking. It’s no fun when, with better planning, I could have spent the same amount for a higher quality gift from a local store.
What if a gift stays in the closet for years and never finds the perfect recipient? No worries. There are plenty of organizations that will take new and unopened toy and gift donations. When there is a legitimate need in the community, it’s a blessing to be able to pull out a box of quality gifts from the closet to offer.
So now my secret is out! That mama of mine is a pretty smart lady!