Passionate About Columbia SC
and the Moms Who Live Here

Tips for Saving Money :: Maintain a Gift Closet

Each week, Columbia SC Moms Blog features ways for you to save money in our Sunday Saver series.

I’m nesting, y’all. I’m smack dab in the middle of my third trimester and I have this uncontrollable urge to organize the heck out of everything in my house. I’m not an organizer, in the slightest, so this is a pretty daunting task. But, I’m doing my best, and I’ve got a plan!

So far I’ve straightened out all of my boys’ clothes by size and season, cleaned out our master bathroom (it’s like a spa now!) and have reorganized several of my kitchen cabinets. It’s slow going; this pregnancy has knocked me down. But I’m happy with all I’ve accomplished.

Our Gift Closet

gift closet

Having designated sections for gifts and wrapping items helps.

While I’ve been reorganizing and decluttering, I discovered my original purpose for our closet that’s located under the stairs.

The closet is divided into two sections. One section is for extra storage, and in that part we’ve put all of our Christmas paraphernalia. I like to purchase my gift wrap at the end of the season, and all of it’s back there along with lights, stockings, and other things.

The other section is in the front part of the closet, which I designated the “gift closet.” In this part, we have a nice shelving unit, and as I’ve been cleaning out, I’ve discovered so many things that we’ve set aside for gift giving occasions.

Organization

Organization is easy for us in our gift closet, and it can be for you too!

  • Use shelving for gifts. Devote one shelf to adult gifts, and another to children’s gifts.
I have accumulated so many gift bags I could open a Hallmark.

I have accumulated so many gift bags I could open a Hallmark..

  • Consider an over-the-door organizer for wrapping supplies. I am on the hunt for a nice over-the-door gift wrap organizer because I’ve shredded one to many rolls of gift wrap and pack of tissue paper because of sheer messy disorganization. The amount of gift wrap we’ve accumulated pales in comparison to the number of gift bags that we have. And it’s awesome, because most of the time I simply throw some tissue paper in a bag to reuse.
  • Don’t feel restricted if you don’t have a closet to dedicate. Consider some storage containers you can store under the bed, in the closet or in your attic. Label one for gift wrap and supplies, another for adult gifts and a third for children’s gifts. I also know someone who had a cedar chest in a spare room which was used to organize and store gifts.

How and Where to Save Money on Gifts

The best way to save money on gifts (if you’re not crafty and I’m NOT) is to purchase things throughout the year when they go on clearance. Below are some of my favorite places to shop for great deals on future presents for my gift closet.

Target

Target is great at toy clearance; several times a year you can get some great buys. In fact, there are lots of ways you can save money and make the most out of your Target shopping trip. If my sons can’t use it, the items go into the gift closet. We’re headed to a birthday party in a couple of days, and I was able to pull together a really nice gift for the birthday boy! His mom’s a bargain hunter too, so I’m confident that this gift will be appreciated.

Goodwill

Goodwill doesn’t always mean second-hand. I love shopping thrift stores and always keep an eye out for new items. Not to mention, if you didn’t catch items when they were on clearance at Target, they will make their way to Goodwill. Score! Find out more on my tips for shopping Goodwill and other thrift stores in the area.

Local Farmers Markets

Other places I like to stock up include local farmers markets, such as Soda City or the Irmo Farmers Markets. These markets are more than just produce; you can get some nice handcrafted items that are awesome to set aside for special occasions. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of Farmers Markets in the Midlands, so be sure to check them out to discover all that the Columbia and surrounding areas have to offer.

Discount Chain Stores

Big Lots is a great place to find giftable items, as well as TJ Maxx, Marshall’s and Ross. These stores already have great discount prices, and if you can find items in their clearance sections, you’re guaranteed even more great savings. They also have unique seasonal items, and you can often stock up after the holiday when items are 50 percent off or greater.

Kids' gifts bought when Barnes and Noble went out of business.

Kids’ gifts bought when Barnes and Noble went out of business.

Stores Going Out of Business

When I decluttered, I also found items that we’d purchased when AC Moore, Kmart, and Barnes and Noble went out of business. Let’s face it, these stores are looking to get stock off their hands and have a deadline to do so before they have to vacate the premises. The closer the official closing date is, the more savings you’ll receive. The only downside is less items are available the longer you wait. Because the store has been advertising its closing for quite some time, lots of folks have been coming in snatching up last minute items. So you have to weigh which is greater – better selection or better savings.

Regifting

Okay, so technically regifting doesn’t fall under “places to shop,” but it’s definitely worth a mention. We’ve all dealt with the throw that doesn’t match your living room (but would be perfect for your husband’s co-worker), or the soaps that make you sneeze, or even the photo albums that you know you’ll never get around to filling up. It’s the thought that counts, really, and if the item doesn’t suit our family, I make note of who gave it to us initially and make sure that it doesn’t get regifted. (Family and friends, if you’re reading this, there’s really not much in this category in our closet. Promise!)

How do you save money when it comes to shopping for gifts? Are you a throughout-the-year shopper or do you prefer to do it on the spur of the moment? Leave us suggestions in the comments!

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