Gift Giving: Give Great Gifts While Giving Yourself the Gift of Time

gift closet

An Ounce of Preparation

It is that time of year again – the kids have gone back to school and daily life takes on a faster tempo.  The holidays will be here sooner than we think and there will be even more to do. Children’s birthday party invitations will start to trickle into our snail and email boxes as we are finding our new rhythm. To do lists will fill up fast in the next few months and overwhelm us if we aren’t thinking ahead.

I am constantly striving to be efficient and prepared in all things domestic so that I don’t spend more time and energy than needed to get things done (which means more time to play and enjoy the fruits of my labors).  To that end, I have created a gift closet (really just a cabinet in my laundry room).  There are two purposes to having a well stocked gift closet – curating a selection of thoughtful and meaningful gifts and not having to run to the store at the last minute before an event while desperately searching the aisles for the perfect gift.

5 Ways to Fill Your Gift Closet

Regifting (The Good Stuff)

This concept gets a bad wrap (pun intended!).  I am not talking about regifting that hideous scarf that your blind Aunt Hilda knitted for you last Christmas (you should have already cleared that out of your house and donated it).  I am talking about nice gifts you have received, never used, and probably aren’t going to use but that someone you know would enjoy and find useful.  One example that comes to mind is an adorable knitted hat and booties that were gifted to one of my children when they were born.  For reasons I don’t remember (probably lack of both sleep and a functioning brain on my part) the set never made it out of the box.  Where is it now?  In my gift closet waiting to be gifted to a new mama when the time is right.

The only caveat to regifting is this – make sure you know who gave you what and when (write it down) so that you don’t make the faux pas of regifting it to the person who originally gave it to you (or anyone else in the same social circle).

The Perfect Find

There is nothing better than finding the perfect gift for someone.  It happens when we least expect it- all of a sudden you spot something that someone you know would love. Seize this serendipitous moment and purchase the item. Then, tuck it away in your gift closet until the occasion to give it to them presents itself (their birthday, Christmas, or when they need a pick me up).

Sales, Sales, Sales

Anytime you are at a store that has a children’s toy section (if you have kids or kids in your life that you give gifts to) or carries great gifts for adults, make a beeline for their sale and clearance sections before you do any other shopping (otherwise you will either forget or put it off until next time).  Poke around and see if there is something that will work for someone you know or someone your kids may know.  Then stock up!  Is your favorite website having a flash sale?  Log on before you miss an opportunity to get ahead of the game.

Double Your (DIY) Efforts

If DIY is your thing and you find yourself making a lot of craft projects that would make great gifts, double your efforts now.  For example, I was decoupaging a recipe box for myself and realized it would make a great engagement gift for someone if I customized the look of it to their taste and filled it with my tried and true recipes.  It was so much easier to make two at the time I had everything already out than if I were to start again from scratch.  Another example – I was making a tick-tac-toe board for my kids and realized it would also make a great birthday gift for one of their friends.

Buy Multiples

If you find something that you love and that people you know would love buy a few (or a lot).  I know a woman that purchased a pair of earrings for herself and received so many complements on them from so many women she bought several more pairs and gives them as gifts to her girlfriends.  Brilliant!

Take Note

A final piece of advice for being a great gift giver – take notes!  If a friend mentions she just became interested in container gardening or a parent mentions their child is really into Legos, write it down!  I use the notes section on my contact list in my phone to do this.  The next time you are wandering the aisles of your favorite book store and see a book on herb gardens – snatch it up.  Ditto for that Lego set that is on clearnace.

Be sure to read about my dos and don’ts of hostess gifts as well!


In the spirit of gifting, I have created something for you, my dear readers. Download the “5 Ways to Fill Your Gift Closet” Reference Guide


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Through Mrs. Barnstable’s School for the Domestic Arts -  its blog, guides, and other resources - I will help you create a home you love to be in, show you how to host a party with panache and ease, and guide you through how to manage it all without feeling overwhelmed.

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