The holidays are officially here, bringing with them the accompanying merriment and good tidings as well as the decorating, baking, visiting friends and family, card sending, gift buying, and etc. Most of us are extra busy during the holidays. Even typing this list of activities stresses me out, much less doing them! I am always looking for ways to simplify my life and to be more organized, especially when it comes to the Christmas season. With that in mind, here are a few ideas to simplify your gift wrapping and to organize all of the supplies.
If you’ve read my columns in the past, you know that I am constantly preaching the fact that decreasing the amount of things you own helps tremendously with organization. This principle is also true with gift wrapping supplies. I have always kept a small variety of wrapping paper rolls, gift bags, ribbons, and bows, just as most people do. I just use a tall trash can to store the rolls of paper, a large clear bin for gift bags and another for the ribbons, bows, and other embellishments. I have always felt that the amount I have is pretty reasonable and doesn’t take up too much space, and it’s organized, so I was ok with it.
About a year ago, I was organizing with a client and came across her gift wrapping supplies. She had quite a bit of beautiful, good quality paper, gift bags, ribbons, and bows. She informed me that she didn’t plan to keep any of it because she was planning to start using the same gift wrap and bow for every single gift from here on out. I’m pretty sure I did a double take and said something like, “Did you really just say you are going to use the same thing for every gift including Christmas, birthdays, weddings, Mother’s Day, etc.?” She explained that she was going to pick something neutral that she could use for everything, perhaps champagne color gift wrap and black bows.
Ever since that day, I can’t stop thinking about that conversation. But I never took action on it until now. It only took a few minutes on Pinterest a few days ago (seriously, what did we do before Pinterest?) for me to realize that this was not only possible, but it was exactly what I wanted to do. Remember the line from the song “My Favorite Things” in the movie The Sound of Music about “brown paper packages tied up with string”? That’s my plan from here on out. I will use brown paper gift wrap and gift bags. I can change the color of the string, use ribbon instead of string, write on the paper, or add all manner of embellishments to make it fit the occasion. I will probably end up with with one small bin of embellishments and one roll of paper. And I am so excited to get started with this year’s Christmas presents!
I know what many of you are thinking: “I can’t possibly do that!” or “I love decorative wrapping paper, and I would never want to use the same kind for all occasions”. It’s all entirely your decision. We each have our own style, and this may not be for you. Understanding that most readers will prefer more variety, here are some practical suggestions for organizing your gift wrapping supplies.
- Gather all of the supplies, including wrapping paper, gift bags, tissue paper, bows, ribbons, gift tags, and other embellishments.
- Get rid of anything you don’t need. It’s very likely there are rolls of gift wrap that you really don’t like, and gift bags that have been used one too many times. No one needs mountains of gift bags. Besides, you’ll soon be replenishing them as you receive gifts. A good goal would be to keep one container of bags in a variety of sizes and patterns and a few rolls of gift wrap. Donate or recycle the rest, depending on what condition they are in.
- Choose the best location for your gift wrapping supplies. Very few of us have a big space available for a Pinterest-worthy wrapping station. We may be lucky to find one empty corner of a closet or some space under a bed. You don’t even have to keep the supplies near where you will wrap the gifts.
- Choose the best storage solution based on your chosen location. Specialty products for organizing gift wrapping supplies abound, and they just might be perfect for your needs. But if you want to get by with something you already have or use something less expensive, here are a few clever ideas. For pictures and more details, check out these 2 websites: https://bit.ly/2DI3KSl and https://bit.ly/2DHbWCp.
- Ideas for storing wrapping paper rolls:
- Repurpose a garment bag and hang in the closet.
- Repurpose a hanging shoe organizer by cutting out the bottom of the middle pockets.
- Use an extra piece of closet shelving turned sideways or a simple tension curtain rod to keep the rolls standing up at the end of a closet floor. With the curtain rod, gift bags could also be hung on the same rod.
- Repurpose a pretty frame, teacup hooks, and cafe curtain rods (or wooden dowels) to hang up paper rolls. This can also be used for rolls of ribbon.
- Store the rolls in a folding chair bag, which can then be hung up on a hook or rod.
- Install rods inside a shelving unit to hold rolls horizontally. This can also be used for rolls of ribbon.
- Repurpose a tall laundry basket or trash can.
- Using dowel rods for support, store between ceiling joists in an unfinished basement.
- Ideas for storing rolls of ribbon:
- Use a plastic bin with holes on the sides. Hang the rolls from dowel rods hung in the middle of the bin, and thread the ends of the ribbon through individual holes. No more tangled ribbon!
- Use a pants hanger designed to hold several pairs of pants.
- Ideas for storing gift bags:
- Use magazine holders labeled with “Birthday”, “Holidays”, “New Baby”, etc.
- Hang bags from hooks on the wall that stick out several inches.
- Hook gift bags onto hangers.
- Idea for a quick gift wrapping station during the holidays: Keep all of your wrapping supplies, including scissors and tape, in a decorative basket that can be kept out during the holidays. I like to keep mine near the TV so that I can wrap presents while watching movies or binging on Netflix.
Happy holidays, and happy organizing!