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6 Steps to Creating a Gift Closet

Gift giving season is right around the corner!

And once Halloween is over, we’re jumping into our Gift Guide Series every Friday until Christmas.

So I’m putting a bug in your ear: the holidays are easier to manage and more joyful if you put a little effort into getting organized now. 

Back in March, I set up this gift closet and it has been SO useful. 

I love gift-giving, evidenced by our very popular Gift Guides.

Giving thoughtful, beautifully wrapped gifts and sending personalized notes is like a love language for me.

So today, I’m sharing how I put our gift closet together, with items I already had around the house, the staples I keep on hand so I can always wrap a gift, without having to run to Target every time and how it helps minimize my anxiety.

How Organizing Helps an Anxious Brain.

I talk pretty openly about my anxiety.

I do many things in my daily life to keep it in check, but the number one factor, for me, is my environment.

If a space is messy and disorganized, I cannot function. I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but clutter and chaos are a genuine receipt for disaster for my brain.

I’m really fun to live with.

But I learned something interesting in this process that I wanted to share.

While I feel so much better when things are neat, the process of organizing is also very therapeutic.

For many of us, work is all-consuming.

I work seven days a week, and my mind is always thinking about the business.

And that’s okay, it’s where I am in life, and I love what I do. 

My challenge is that the nature of what I do is never-ending.

When you create content every week, it resets. So in many ways, whatever I wrote and produced the week before doesn’t matter.

The constant need to develop something creative and relevant is draining.

I discovered that the feeling of starting and finishing a project, like creating a gift closet, gives me an energizing sense of accomplishment, like a little shot of dopamine.

And the finality that comes with it, the fact that the project is over, is very calming. 

Plus, the process of putting things in place helps me put my thoughts in place/

So creating a spot for everything is wildly beneficial for how my home and brain function. 

Anyhoo, I digress.

Why a Gift Closet is Helpful

My gift closet came out of a larger project we took on last spring.

A few years ago, we converted our garage to a gym and office, leaving us with just a storage room in our basement to store everything. 

And it quickly turned into a disaster. 

When we got in there and started to purge and sort items, I realized there was gift wrap everywhere

Christmas gift wrap was in the storage room, shoved on a dark and dusty shelf; gift bags were under my bed; stationary was on my desk, and tissue paper was in a random drawer. 

We had a lot of nice, usable things, but I was still running to Target every time I needed to wrap a gift. 

So I devised a solution by creating a stand-alone gift closet to house everything in one neat and pretty space.

I needed to add a piece of (inexpensive) furniture, but you can take these ideas and put them to use in a closet or drawer, even in a box, as long as you keep everything together and it functions for you.

We’ve had this for over six months now, and I can say with certainty it’s saved me so much time and money.

6 Steps to Creating a Gift Closet

how to Create a Gift Closet

 Isn’t she pretty?

Designate a Space

I spent a couple of days looking around the house and using Pinterest as inspiration to decide the best space to utilize. 

People have a lot of room to spare online!

But I didn’t have many options. Every closet and corner of our home is being used for something else. 

It turns out that I had about 3 feet of wall space next to my desk down in our bonus room.

We use this room for many things, but you saw it featured in our recent post, How to Create a Guest Room When You Don’t Have One.

So I pushed my desk over a bit and purchased this small white pantry closet on Amazon.

The closet is the only thing I had to buy.

Gather 

Then I ran around and gathered everything we had: gift wrap, tissue paper, stationery, bags, ribbon, from all over the house.

Like editing your wardrobe, you want to have everything in one spot before editing down.

I found things I forgot I had, like the ELF Gift Wrap Cutter I ordered at Christmas last year, but it arrived after I finished wrapping.

When it was all in a pile, I couldn’t believe how much I had. 

Edit

Editing down was easy. You can trash and recycle all the ripped slivers of paper and ribbon.

I was holding on to a good amount of junk I was never going to use.

Getting rid of it feels so great. 

Organize With Purpose 

how to Create a Gift Closet

Now for the fun part. 

I thought about the space and how I wanted it to function. 

What’s nice is there is a large table in the middle of the room, so I have a surface to work on. 

With that in mind, I put everything into categories. And I saved money by using baskets and containers I had lying around.

ALWAYS use what you have first!

The basket on top of the cabinet (from Pottery Barn years ago) holds tissue paper and gift boxes.

I have these acrylic drawers all over my house. I use them for many things, like school supplies,I put them in bathrooms, and my girls’ bedrooms for all their makeup and hair accessories. 

Here I put gift wrap tape and gift tags in them. 

The green things on top are the ELF gift wrap cutters; they’re pretty cool.

Thank you notes, custom stationery, pens, and stamps are in a desk organizer I bought but never used. 

Tip: You can order affordable personalized note cards from ETSY. I had some made for myself and my girls so we can get thank you notes out quickly. They also make lovely gifts! 

For ribbons and bows, I had ordered these bins at Target for my pantry, and they were too big, but they work fabulously here! 

Probably my favorite part of the space. They are from their Brightroom line and only $12 each.

We dressed them up with labels made on a Cricut

Then a shelf for gift bags because I’m the crazy lady who saves all the ones that come into the house. 

I repurposed this acrylic file holder for small-sized bags and this $3 trash can from Target for wine gift bags I bought in bulk at Michaels. 

Tip: Look at Target before you step foot in The Container Store. The prices are so much better, and the quality is fantastic.

Another discovery was that I have an abundance of greeting cards. Like, so many cards.

For example, I have not one, not two, but three anniversary cards for my husband that I never gave him. Sorry! 

You’ll see a grey box at the bottom of the cabinet where I keep all those cards and other stationery. 

And my final wrapping tip, keep a few neutral rolls of wrap on hand.

I like to use craft paper and dress it up with navy ribbon during the year. 

For the holidays, I always get wrap for Santa’s gifts for under the tree, so I ordered this one and this one to mix and match from Target’s Paper Source Colab. 

To store rolls of gift wrap, I removed one of the shelves so everything could stay inside and sit straight up. 

Stock It! 

After all the categories had a place, I added anything I thought I would need: scissors, packing tape, pens, markers, stamps, etc. 

And then, I added all the little gifts I had stored around the house, mainly in my closet.

The Capri Blue Volcano Candle is one of my favorite scents that everyone loves. They make a fabulous thank you or small hostess gift.

And we always bring a bottle of wine. I have some styled here in the photo above, but have since moved them to our beverage fridge. 

Speaking of wine,  I just ordered these wine bottle boxes, that hang over the neck of the bottle and you can fill them with little treats.

I’m going to do chocolates with a bottle of champagne, or some flavored salts or special seasonings with olive oil. So many ideas!

Here’s everything I keep on hand so I can wrap just about anything:

Kraft Gift Wrap Paper

Cellophane Roll

Navy Silk Ribbon

Wine Bottle Treat Boxes

Small Wooden Gift Baskets – these are great to corral a lot of tiny gifts and gift cards. 

Shirt Box

Assorted Boxes – this is an awesome set that has all different shapes and sizes at a great price. 

Crinkle Filler 

Wine Bags – I recently discovered Lucy Grymes paper supply and her wine bags are so fun and pretty. 

Baked Good Packaging – if you like giving homemade treats, I have several of the Kraft Boxes from JHS Home. They are wonderful for breads, muffins and cupcakes, scones, etc.

Leave Room to Grow

Having everything in one place makes putting any kind of gift together easy, and there is plenty of room to add and grow.

Starting next Friday, we’ll start to share all kinds of gift ideas, starting with some of my favorite Hostess Gifts you can give any time of year. 

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6 Steps to Creating a Gift Closet
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MEET THE AUTHOR

Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

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Dawn

Friday 28th of October 2022

Love the idea of the gift closet. When we are done with our current remodeling project, I'll be finding a spot for all my wrapping needs. Thanks gor the ideas.

Julia

Friday 28th of October 2022

This is really Fantastic- thank you for the inspiration and useful links!

NATALIE K

Friday 28th of October 2022

This is such a inspiring article!! I only have a shelf in my coat closet or perhaps I can clean out a drawer in my in my piece of furniture in the foyer. I simply don't have much room!! I used to keep a gift closet when my son was young because of all the birthday parties!! This would really come in handy now!!! Thank you for your wonderful ideas!!!

Tammy Starr

Friday 28th of October 2022

I love this idea AND I have an antique Hoosier cabinet that is just holding old office supplies I haven’t touched in 6 years. I won’t be able to house my wrapping paper in it but I can place it in an umbrella stand next to it! Thanks for sharing!

Elizabeth

Saturday 26th of March 2022

Meg, Love this post and want to extend a compliment that your content is fantastic! It is so organized, intentional, and useful. Thank you for filling a much needed niche that makes life so much easier. All the best and take care of yourself.

Kaethe Pittman

Friday 25th of March 2022

Such a great idea! I have a gift drawer, two drawers of wrapping supplies, and several rolls of wrapping paper as well as bags and boxes in a nearby closet. It all needs sorting, and I'm wondering if it can all go together in one location.

Joanne Wiebe

Friday 25th of March 2022

Thank you Meg! I got one have the same problem with gift wrapping items and cards tucked here there and everywhere! I so LOVE your idea of a home for all of these items that is ORGANIZED so you know what you have and what you may need! I have stopped so many times on my way to an event to grab a gift bag or box because I forgot about or couldn’t find something suitable I already had. Thank you!!!!

Margie

Friday 25th of March 2022

Meg, would you consider putting a wine rack on the shelf with the wine? Better to store wine on its side vs standing up. Bottles with corks - it keeps the cork from drying out.

Megan Kristel

Friday 25th of March 2022

Yes! I was thinking that, great note, although these won't last very long :)

Julie

Friday 25th of March 2022

This was such a great post. I will soon be in my 9th decade so I have a lot of the things you put in your gift closet and it is spread around. I need to do this. We all know a place for everything and everything in its place. This is a great solution. Thank you for the inspiration,

Megan Kristel

Friday 25th of March 2022

Julie! This is so sweet - thank you!!!

Cynthia Taylor Huff

Friday 25th of March 2022

great job! You are such an inspiration! Thank you!!

Megan Kristel

Friday 25th of March 2022

Thanks Cynthia!

Deanna

Friday 25th of March 2022

You inspire me, Megan! I have so many pockets of clutter in my house, and there is an underutilized section of cubbies that would be perfect for a gift wrap center. I have ADHD and trying to function well is a daily struggle...but spending time upfront on projects like this is something future me is always so thankful I did :) Thank you for these posts!

Megan Kristel

Friday 25th of March 2022

Aww, thanks. And so well said. There's a lot of ADHD in my house so this level of organization doesn't just help me but everyone else too.

Mara

Friday 25th of March 2022

I love this! I traditionally stored our wrapping paper and gift bags in our (very tall) crawlspace, but it got flooded last summer and I've been at a loss of how to manage it going forward. I have a craft closet with children's storage bins in a wooden rack that just isn't cutting it anymore. There is so much wasted space, and somehow not enough space. I'm inspired by your ideas to repurpose that closet with a piece of furniture (in a closet!! who knew!!) that will make the entire space more functional. I can re-use the bins for storage, but the whole space will be much improved. I might also redesign my daughter's closet this way! (She also has the children's bins for toys and they are getting in the way.) THANK YOU!!

Megan Kristel

Friday 25th of March 2022

Hey Mara! Thanks! I'm so happy this was inspiring. You're so right, so much wasted space and still not enough space. That's exactly how I feel.