I love my gift stash!
A good gift stash is the key to staying on top of all of the gifts
that a busy mom needs throughout the year!
I've labeled the various components of my gift stash. (Click on the pic to see it bigger if you have trouble reading the labels).
Throughout the year I will pick up things that are great deals that I think my family, friends,
extended family, etc. will like and keep them in one of these boxes. If the gift doesn't fit in one of the boxes, it will probably go in the lower part of the closet or under my bed.
The Christmas box also tends to hold adult gifts.
Since I only get to a Bath n' Body works once a year, I may stock up and keep things like little lotions or pretty stationary from the Dollar Tree in the Christmas box, but these things can be used for friend's birthdays or bridal shower prizes, etc. My favorite places to stock up on gift stash stuff: the Target dollar section, Health Food Store clearances, Dollar Tree, Yard Sales.
My hubby's side of the closet, which contains the remainder of the gift stash.
The kid gift box contains little gifts that I pick up with my kids or their friends in mind (usually on clearance or new from yard sales). There are usually crayons, markers (from super-cheap back-to-school sales), notebooks, sunglasses, craft kits, books, etc. If we get invited to a last-minute party, we have a gift ready! We usually let our kids help us buy or make a gift for their closest friends but then we add something from this stash that we know they would like also. This stash is really handy for special surprises to bless one of my kids that has been especially good or for grabbing some little things to wrap up for long trips in the car to MN, etc.
When guys we know from MN come out snowmobiling in the winter, I often grab little gifts out of here to send back with them for my nephews just to spoil them!
I save the many large paintings that Ali does and keep them handy for wrapping paper.
My gift bag stash! I save all of the gift bags others give us and because I was running low recently, I bought some from the dollar store (2 for $1) and also from Walmart (10 for $5) to beef up my stash.
I have about 6-8 showers/parties coming up in the next couple of months. I've never seen such a baby boom as this year! So, I put all of the gifts together the other day and got them all wrapped and ready. Here they sit, on the top of my dresser, awaiting their delivery. A few that I'll be giving this week sit next to my night stand by my bed.
An extra-large empty formula can I had in my container stash becomes an interesting way to wrap a baby boy's gift!
My container stash sits in the pantry next to a stack of shoeboxes, which I also use for gift-giving
I save all kinds of little containers. Blueberry boxes, frappiccino bottles, jelly jars, tins, etc.
Some of the larger containers that go on top of the box pictured above
A wedding gift for a friend's upcoming bridal shower, containing a marriage devotional book, some shower gel and body wash, massage oil, etc.
If I have a lot of weddings coming up I will stock up on a favorite marriage book (like Love and Respect) or some Taste of Home cookbooks (which can be found for excellent deals online) and throughout the year I look for lingerie clearances and bodywash that can be obtained for free with coupons! One of my favorite things to tuck into a Lingerie Shower gift is a pregnancy test from the Dollar Tree. Funny thing is, my roommate from college just sent the test I gave her for her shower back to me in a ziploc bag, with a positive test result! She's due one day after me! She included a note that said, "Here's the test you gave me for my wedding shower. It worked!"
From my baby gift stash:
I stock up on winter hats when they are on 75% sales at the end of the season. Little boys can be hard to buy for, but these make really cute, personalized gifts! I made my own boys some a couple of years ago and we love them! When I'm unsure of what to get a baby boy, I go with one of these hats and some wet wipes, diapers, or a little outfit.
Little girl hats were also on a good sale!
Throughout the year I pick up really cute clothing at rock-bottom sale prices or new-with-tags at yard sales or the thrift store. I have a nice collection of baby outfits (although the fact that I know 42 gals having babies in 2010, 21 of whom I will be giving gifts, is depleting it rapidly!) and baby things to choose from. Some people think that shopping from a gift stash isn't very personal and is tacky. But if you stop to consider how few options we have anyway in our rural area, my "baby store" in my closet is probably better stocked than the local Pamida and Alco, with higher-quality products, a better deal for the recipient, at excellent prices for me, a better deal for me! When I'm putting together a gift, I honestly consider what outfit would look best on the baby, what fits the family's style, and I don't give something that I wouldn't be thrilled to receive myself. Certain products I have loved as a mom, like Huggies Sensitive Wet Wipes, or mesh baby feeders, or Sandra Boynton books, or Aveeno lotion are things I look for deals on so that I can stock up my baby stash with things that I can highly recommend to any new mom. And I can't resist buying darling little Easter and Christmas dresses on $1-$3 clearance at the end of the season to await the next friend that has a little girl!
How to Start Building a Gift Stash
Yard Sale season is almost here! Take $5 a week and hit up a few yard sales, particularly ones that advertise baby clothing. If you don't find anything, go by the Dollar Tree or Target, if you have one in your area, and pick up a few packages of notecards, coloring books for kids, etc. Each time you are shopping, check the store's clearance racks and buy a few things that are great deals. If you continually add to your "store at home" by only spending $3-$5 a week, you will find it a snap to put together gifts for others throughout the year. If you don't have the time to add little by little, my advice would be to take about $200 and place a large order on http://www.amazon.com/ or http://www.christianbook.com/ stocking up on favorite marriage books, cookbooks, favorite children's stories, devotionals or journals, and favorite board books for babies. If you have the money to spend, this is a hassle-free way to make sure you always have gifts ready for a variety of occasions!
Another way to beef up a gift stash, if you like crafting, is to take a day or two to craft and sew and make all kinds of gifts to put in your stash. Some ideas include:
Hair bows and hair puffs
Fleece scarves, hats, socks, and mittens
Leather baby shoes
Fleece tie quilts
To see the rest of the series on Blessing Others Through Celebration, go here.