Most of us have a kitchen cupboard stuffed with miscellaneous plastic cups, bent paper plates and an assortment of holiday-themed paper napkins. And when a special occasion rolls around, most of us take one look at the items in that cupboard — and then run out and buy all new paper plates and cups.
It’s the same story with gift wrap and bags. A birthday rolls around, we look at our selection of crumpled paper and crushed bows — and run out and buy new wrapping materials. It might even be the same with holiday decorations in your house.
So what’s the best way to store these things? Here’s my super cheap DIY version:
First of all Do a major sort and purge of these items. Throw out the hopelessly wrinkled wrapping paper, the bent paper napkins and the crumpled up gift bags. Only save the best, because your space is at a premium and you don’t want to waste time sifting through the bad stuff to find the good stuff when you are trying to wrap presents for your son’s birthday.
Set aside space Dedicate a closet if you have one (do you have an empty closet in the guest bedroom? Maybe an under-utilized one in the home office?) for holiday/special occasion supplies. Make sure this closet has some shelves. If you don’t have a closet, see if you can set aside several shelves in your garage or basement.
Paper plates, napkins, cups, silverware Get a box and stack all your paper plates on their side end-to-end. Keep the various designs and colors grouped together. If there is room in the box, nest all of your paper napkins together and all of the plastic cups together on their side, keeping like colors grouped together. Plastic utensils can be separated out by type and placed in their own plastic zip-top bags. Put the bags inside the box of plates, napkins and cups.
Old party favors/decorations Box these up together and see if you can reuse them for future parties. Label the outside of the box with the contents within (eg. Pirate party favors, Strawberry Shortcake decorations, etc.) If you haven’t used them in a few years, throw them out!
Gift wrap supplies Keep your gift wrap supplies in the same closet, because these are used for holidays and special occasions. Check out this blog post I wrote a while ago with ideas for storing your gift wrap supplies.
Bows Bows can all be placed in a plastic garbage or shopping bag with a handle and hung from a hook inside the closet. No hook in the closet? Hang the bag around a clothes hanger and hang the clothes hanger from the closet rod.
Wrapping paper Rolls of gift wrap can also be stored in a large garbage bag and hung from a hook in the closet. If you have many rolls of gift wrap, you might want to double-bag the garbage bag before you hang it from the hook.
Gift bags These can all be stacked upright in a box and placed on a shelf or on the floor. Do yourself a favor and group all of the birthday bags together, all of the baby shower bags together, etc. so it’s easy to find the bag you want in the future.
Tissue paper Use an extra gift bag to store all of your tissue paper, neatly folded, grouped together by color and stored upright, folded side out.
Holiday decorations These should each be in their own labeled box. Separate them out by holiday and then by function if you can. For example, have a separate, labeled box for outdoor Halloween decorations and a box for indoor Halloween decorations. Have a separate box for the Christmas mantel decorations and a box for the Christmas tabletop decorations. This will make it easy-peasy to find what you are looking for when the holidays roll around — as well as helping you remember which item goes in which box when the holidays are over.
Greeting cards You can buy a greeting card organizer. Or you can make your own using a shoe box and labeled dividers for each of the holidays (this is what I have done and it works great!)
Getting organized shouldn’t have to be expensive. These tips can be done on a zero budget and it will look great! And the next time a birthday or holiday comes up, you will thank yourself profusely for investing the effort to get this area organized.