Organizing gift wrap | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Organizing gift wrap

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Organizing gift wrap

Today I want to share with you how I organize my gift wrap, gift bags, tissue paper, bows and ribbon.  I know there are lots of great organizational systems out there and mine may not be as "pretty" as some of them but I like it and it works really well for me.  Sorry I don't have "before" pictures but I completed this organizational project before I started blogging. 

I can be a bit of a hoarder when it comes to gift wrap.  It's probably the Dutch in me, but I do not like to throw things out if they still have life in them, especially if I know I'll need to spend money on the very same things in the future.   Keeping lots of gift wrap, bags, bows, ribbon, etc. can get overwhelming though, and if it takes me a long time to find what I need, then it's not helpful.  I needed an organized system for all of it. 

As I mentioned, we reuse gift bags, tissue paper, bows and even gift wrap, as long as they are still in good condition.  After our wedding I saved all the wrapping materials.  I did not need to buy gift wrap, bows, gift bags or even wedding-ish tissue paper for wrapping wedding gifts for about 10 years, and we went to a lot of weddings in those 10 years!  Same thing after my baby showers, the birth of our son, and the birth of our daughter (although those items didn't last as long as the wedding wrap - we had a lot of friends & family having babies around then too!). 

When we have to wrap something, it's very handy to just have what we need on hand, rather than having to run out to the store to buy it.  Plus, reusing these items saves a lot of money.  Sometimes wrapping a gift can cost a lot! 

I recently went through all my bags & wrap and threw out some of the items that were looking too worn, used, or torn.  I also gave some away in categories where we had too many.  And I gave away nearly all our bows since we rarely use them now that we use gift bags so much.  I also took the remaining wrap off a few rolls and just folded it flat (takes up less space to store that way).  I'm trying to simplify and downsize things in our basement so it is less overwhelming, and, as part of that effort, the gift wrap section needed a purge.

We still buy wrapping items once in awhile, mainly at the dollar store, but also other places when we see a good deal.  There's a warehouse sale a few times a year at a place called Mr. B's and sometimes they have a "fill a bag" sale.  One time I stocked up on dozens of packages of tissue paper and several rolls of gift wrap for a few dollars.  That purchase lasted me several years!  Or when we were on vacation in Florida I bought this tissue paper pad at Big Lots (love that store...wish they had them in Canada!). 

See the price?  $5.00 for 275 sheets.  That's less than 2 cents a sheet!  I haven't even cracked it open yet but it will last me a long time when I do!  And there are plain sheets as well as pretty patterned sheets so it will be great for all our wrapping needs.

Now, on to how I organize all of this.  My systems have evolved over the years.  Each of them worked to some degree but not to the extent I wanted.  I think I've got the best system now but I'm sure I'll find a reason to change it again at some point (organizing is a very "fluid" thing!). 

My first system was to sacrifice a few gift bags and use them to store other gift bags, tissue, wrap, ribbon and bows.  I tried to group bags by theme (all the birthday bags were together, baby bags together, etc.).  This worked fine for bags but the gift wrap, tissue paper, and bows didn't hold up well in the bags when they were standing up (they kept getting squished). 

Next I stored everything in a large Rubbermaid bin, but that wasn't practical since it was so deep and I was constantly digging around trying to find what I was looking for.  Plus the large gift bags were a bit too big so they either got squished or had to be kept beside or on top of the bin, which looked messy. 

So, I thought about what kind of shallow bins I had and used 2 under-the-bed storage bins for awhile.  They worked better because I could find things quicker and the rolls of wrap fit in nicely, but everything slid around in these bins because they were so long, so it was hard to keep things organized within the bins. 

What I really wanted were shallow bins that were not as long as under-the-bed ones.  The problem is that those size bins are usually rather expensive, running anywhere from $10-15.  I did not want to spend a lot of money just to organize and store my thrifty wrapping supplies!  I kept on the lookout for sales on bins but had no luck.  Then, one day I happened to pass the clearance section at Staples and found the perfect sized bins.  There was no price on them so I took them to the cashier and they were only $2.49!  I bought 4 of them and went home happpy.

Here they are on the shelves, all organized:

There's that pad of tissue paper underneath, just waiting to be used :)   The bins overlap slightly, which ordinarily I wouldn't really like.  Despite the fact that the measurements on the label said they were small enough to fit side-by-side on these shelves, they still overlap a bit.  But, I can live with that since I got such a great deal on these bins!

Also, you probably noticed that only 3 of them contain gift wrap items (you are very observant - and if you didn't notice you can pretend you did - I won't tell!).  I'll post soon on how I organized my greeting cards in the 4th bin. 

Here are some pictures to show how I organized the inside of these bins.  This is the gift wrap and tissue paper bin:

On the bottom is this great wrap set I was given as a gift but haven't used yet.  Looks very pretty and I think it will last me awhile too!

This is the inside of the gift bag bin.  In the bag with the golf clubs on it I keep all the small gift bags and in the orange bag I keep all the very small gift bags, so when I have a small sized gift I can easily find a small bag without having to rummage through all the other bags.  Underneath those 2 bags of bags are all the rest of the medium and large size bags, sorted according to size so it's easy to see what we have.  On the one side (top of this picture but it's a bit hard to see) are a couple of bottle bags. 

This bin has ribbon and special gift bags or wrap.  This includes various seasons and special occasions (winter, Valentines, Easter, graduation, teacher, etc.).  There's also a beat up (sacrificed a long time ago!) bag with a few remaining wedding wrap items and a similarly old bag for baby gift wrap items.  Since these are only used once in awhile it's easier to have them separated from the generic wrap/bags or birthday wrap/bags that we access all the time. 

So those are my gift wrap bins.  Without an organized system all of this would overwhelm me (and my previous systems did).  I love how it's set up now and it's really working for us. 

How do you organize your gift wrap?  Do you reuse like me or buy new each time so you don't have to store it at all? 

Happy organizing!

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