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Get Yourself a Gift Closet!

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Want to be a prepared and fabulously frugal mom this summer?

Recession Mama: I have a gift closet. Not a closet full of gifts for me (though that would be nice), but a closet full of gifts for other people. Mostly children's presents, books, and games, but also stuff that is appropriate for a housewarming, or secretaries' day. If they are organized, and you can pull them out when you need them, storing up gifts can be an amazing way to save time and money.

woman with gifts

We've all seen fantastic deals on the Internet or at a local store that we really debated. Such a great deal, but do I need it? What will I do with it? Don't hesitate any longer -- buy it, and put it in a bin labeled something like Child (Preschool Age) Gifts or Adult Gifts.

Then, when faced with three birthday parties on an already overly scheduled weekend, you can whip out a gorgeous castle pop-up book ($24.98 retail, which I found for $6.98 at Barnes & Noble last fall, with a buy-3-get-1-free promotion), a Nerf battle blaster ($19.98 retail, $5.19 at after Christmas), and a Star Wars Monopoly Game ($22.98 retail, came free with the purchase of two other games). Or go to your stash of books and pull out a few. Weekly Reader does a promotion every few months for 10 hardback books for $20. The last promotion was a few dollars more and included audio CDs of the books.

If you're feeling cheap because you know how much all that stuff cost, put it in a fun gift bag (2 for 99 cents at, where else, the 99 Cent Only Store) and decorate the bag with candy. It will be a hit, guaranteed!

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5 comments so far | Post a comment now
prncssjzmyn01 July 2, 2009, 1:12 PM

I love this idea! I am constantly buying things when they are on 90% off clearance and sticking them in the gift closet! It even helps when you forgot someone at Christmas time! Great Idea!

Mom2two July 2, 2009, 1:31 PM

I love having a stash of children’s gifts tucked away in a closet for birthdays that come up throughout the year. I buy the stuff when it’s deeply discounted and save it, knowing it’ll be needed one day. The last party my daughter attended had me giving 3 items from my stockpile because it was my husband’s opinion “that it wasn’t like it was costing us anything because the gifts were just sitting there in the closet”. Duh! Apparently this whole concept was lost on him?! I went ahead with the giving of the 3 items anyway because it was the birthday of one of my daughter’s best friends and they are always very generous to her. Now I gotta show this article to my husband. Thanks!

Anonymous July 2, 2009, 3:29 PM

Just say no. You don’t have to buy gifts for everyone just because society says so.

Karen July 2, 2009, 6:56 PM

When I was young I babysat for a woman who had a “gift closet”. Actually, it was a large cedar chest. It seemed like a very classy and clever idea to me. As a married mother of 4 I haven’t gone so far as to be quite as organized & prepared as she was, but I do have a large sack filled with a variety of kids items. Nothing fancy at all, just some coloring books, crayons, story books, plastic animals, hotwheels cars, stuffed animals, hair accessories. Just cheap little odds & ends that I’ve collected from dollar stores and/or clearance shelves. Sometimes I use them as rewards for my own kids, but it’s nice to have them in a pinch when it comes to invites or unexpected little visitors.

spoon July 12, 2009, 3:13 AM

Looking to make contact with you .Tks.

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