Simplified Gift Wrap

I am convinced that buying special containers will not make you more organized. While the internet is full of gift-wrapping stations and make-your-own bows, it is perfectly fine to keep your real-life gift wrap in a cardboard box in the closet. You don’t have to cover the box with fabric or paint it.

This is a modest way to organize, but that’s partly why I want to share it. If you have a small home or you want to simplify, I want to be realistic and say that it’s easier to have one or two rolls of wrapping paper instead of a whole bunch that you organize into a wall display.

Mine is stored in the most humble of all containers: the liquor store cardboard box. It has been for years, and it’s just the right size for the bags, tissue, boxes, and bows.

Inside the box, a shopping bag acts as a divider so I can file gift boxes, tissue paper and gift bags on their sides. That helps me to see it all and find what I need. When it gets too full, I give some of them away to family members who will use them again.

The bows are in one of those plastic zippered bags you get when you buy new sheets.

I want to reuse gift wrap as many times as I can, so I always save gift bags, smooth out the tissue paper, and save the bows. Some of our gift bags have been around for years, used dozens of times; it’s almost funny.

I usually keep just one roll of gift wrap, and silver is a color that works for everyone at every event. I also like to use brown kraft paper, especially for Christmas, but most of the gifts I wrap are for classmate birthday parties, and I was informed that brown is not fancy enough for kindergarteners. (We usually give art supplies for classmate gifts—art paper and markers or paints.)

Having gift wrap ready at home saves a lot of money instead of having to buy something for a last-minute gift. If you have too much, keep only a few gift bags in different sizes, and get rid of wrapping paper that is too thin or hard to work with.

How do you keep gift wrap?

clear the clutter

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. I really like your system and don’t think it’s humble at all. It works! I’ve had one of those Rubbermaid gift wrap things for years in the garage and I hate it! It has a lid on it and in the lid (it flips up) where you’re supposed to hold tape and such, it’s not big enough. Any gift bags I save and put in there just get smooshed and I end up tossing them. I think it’s way past time to put it in the donation pile. I have plenty of room in my craft/guest room closet and I now have a plan to adapt your method of storing my supplies so thank you!!!!! Gift bags can get very pricey and it’s such a waste not to re-use them. My absolute favorite wrapping paper is the kraft, I like to decorate it with my huge abundance of scrapbook supplies. Oh, a hobby I so want to divorce! Anyway, great inspiration as always!

    • I had one of these. Seemed like a good idea until I put it in the closet and realized just how big it was. You could hide a body in it! Gave it away and now I put the bags in a handled bag and a few rolls in a small bucket. Much better!

    • I have one of those Rubbermaid organizers, and I love it. I use it to hold Christmas paper only, and it lives in the garage. The plastic keeps it in perfect shape, and when I wrap gifts I turn the top upside down and use it as a trash can. We’d have a pretty boring tree if we only kept to a few rolls of paper, plus every year I wrap Santa’s gifts in a new paper that is used exclusively for that purpose. (Everyday wrapping paper and bags are currently in a cabinet in the basement, but usually I store rolls of wrapping paper upright in a bedroom-sized plastic trash can. We flooded once, and I lost my entire wrapping paper stash, so no more cardboard boxes for me.)

  2. I purge alot of things, but not my gift wrap in awhile. Looks like I’ll be paring down in that department this week. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Since you’re already saving and reusing old wrapping paper, I assume you don’t mind a small amount of creasing on your wrapping paper. If that’s the case, I find that unrolling the wrapping paper and folding it up to store it flat eliminates the wasted space caused by all the hollow tubes the wrap comes on. Not to mention you don’t have three foot tubes sticking out of your otherwise neat looking box, and it keeps the paper from getting as beaten up or mangled when moving the box or other items in the closed around.

    • elisakers says:

      Love this! I was wondering whether that would work until I can work through all of the Christmas paper I bought at the end of the season last year and until I can institute the use of one-colored and Kraft paper. And I could have my daughter decorate the brown paper for grandparent gifts. They would love it! My husband is going to love you for encouraging me to get rid of the wrapping paper box! :)

  4. we have similar storage systems. for her bday, my 7yo received plain white gift bags and plain white cards from several classmates that had been hand-decorated with magic marker, stickers, pipe-cleaners, etc.

  5. When we made our last move just about a year ago,I got rid of gift bags that were looking too shabby (small rips, frayed top edges, etc) The remaining gift bags were folded flat as possible,gift wrap and tissue paper were rolled w/o a tube. Then everything was placed in a large IKEA brown paper sack with a handle. Works great in the back of the closet.

  6. I use pretty tissue paper (I buy when I see nice designs) tied with satin ribbin (that fabric-type craft ribbon that comes on the flat cardboard reels. Comes in gorgeous colors.) I keep the paper flat in a drawer and the ribbon in a decorative box nearby along with some scissors and tape and tags. If brown paper isn’t fancy enough, why not have the child who is the giver decorate the paper, either before the package is wrapped or (as brown paper is sturday) even after. It adds a creative dimension. Keep some nice crayon-colored ribbon on hand and Bob’s your uncle. If the present is for a girl, tied with a hair ribbon is nice. Shoestrings are fun as well.

    • Oh, I love the idea of tying a gift with a hair ribbon or shoestring! Thanks for that.

  7. I just want to say, I love you for this: “You don’t have to cover the box with fabric or paint it.” I will never in my life need a gift-wrapping station. Like you, I don’t have paper for every occasion. More and more, I don’t even use it at all. Just tie a ribbon around the box. (A fabric ribbon, as the recipient is more likely to keep it and re-use it.)

  8. I’ve never understood the “gift wrapping station” thing. Who has room in their house for an entire closet devoted to JUST gift wrap? And why on earth would you have so much?

    I have two medium sized gift bags – one has tissue paper in it (some used and refolded, some new that I bought for an art project), and the other has gift bags ready to be reused for the 10th time. They’re on my bedroom closet shelf because they take very little space. I only buy wrapping paper at Christmas – the short 18-inch rolls that you can get in the dollar section at Target – and I buy them in generic colors/prints so they can be used for birthdays if necessary. I only have 2 or 3 kicking around at a time, so they’re just stashed in my closet as well.

    I don’t do bows. I did at one point but they were completely crushed before they were even used so no more. If we must decorate the wrapped gifts, we use curling ribbon or other ribbon that we have in our art supplies.

  9. vermontmommy says:

    I don’t have a fancy storage system for mine either. I have two bags that hold bags. One with holiday bags. The other bag contains birthday and baby shower bags. I have two rolls of paper. One that is red and white striped on one side and has hearts on the other. The other is the craft paper.

    Truth be told I rarely use the bags or paper. I often just tie a ribbon on the gift if it allow me to (a book, art supplies, an outfit). The only time I really wrap is for the holidays.

  10. I use an old plastic bottle crate to keep my wrapping paper under control. It’s been great!

    All the other bits and bobs are stashed in a bag in a cupboard. Knowing where everything is definitely makes it easier!
    Juliette´s last post…Yo-Yos and Covered Button Love

  11. I have used gift bags fairly regularly, and usually ones I got as a gift. Now, with Peanut, I’m thinking that I will put together a few fabric “gift bags” for giving between family members. Otherwise I try to wrap with some part of the gift — e.g. baby gifts get wrapped in a baby blanket.

    I’ve started saving the tissue paper to use for sewing patterns!
    Rachael´s last post…He takes after his parents

  12. I just upgraded to a vinegar bottle box for all of my gift wrap. Previously I used a breast-pump box, but I felt weird when friends opened the coat closet and saw my breast pump box sitting there.
    I’m a brown kraft paper kind of wrapper, with various elmo and/or shiny gift bags for my 3 year old’s parties.
    Katherine@YeOldCollegeTry´s last post…Lists

  13. marianne says:

    I have 2 tall square matching grey (adorable white print) square boxes complete with tops. I have the same silver, white and kraft brown. I only use white Tule for ribbon. It comes in a huge roll at joanne fabrics in the wedding aisle for 9.99 and lasvery little effort. I buy plain 5×7 Index cards at Staples, we always make our ouwn cards. I have 6 kids and let them decorate the brown kraft paper with ink stamps for their gifts / with matching inky gift cards. I have only a few perfect ink stamps, a star, a swirl and a perfect large polka dot which came from one of those ridiculously large pencils one of my kids was given as a party favor years ago. At any age with only one color of ink to stamp with the wrappiing paper looks adorable – a perfect project. I have an antique buffet in my Kitchen. It has a deep drawer in the center with a cabimet on each side. I store mywrapping boxes with tissue and ribbon tulle behind the left cabinet door. Keep rolls of wrapping paper in the drawers, and gifts waiting to be wrapped in the right cabinet comparment.

  14. Morning Sunshine says:

    for birthdays within our family (hubby and kids) we have a tradition that started years ago with the plain old fact that I had no wrapping paper for a year or so. It just didn’t get bought.
    So I took a baby blanket and wrapped a present in it. and another baby blanket for another one.

    5 years later, my kids don’t *want* wrapping paper for their birthday gifts to each other. They run around looking for blankets and towels in which to wrap their gifts. I do not complain – saves me money, and it makes a fun family tradition.

    we do wrap Christmas presents, and the occasional non-immediate family birthdays.

  15. I use a rolling hamper basket behind the door. I use red polka dot paper as my go to since it can be used for kids, Christmas, etc. I have a few gift bags, mostly brown and white craft paper. I found an unused canvas carpenter apron and tied it on the back for tape and ribbon. I have a few gift tags, tissue, and some white gift boxes. I just roll it over to my desk and start wrapping.

    I used to have a section of an armoire with a 3 drawer rubbermaid chest, tons of cards, ribbons, 10 rolls of wrapping paper, etc. I got rid of 80% of what I had–I needed the armoire for my daughters room(no closet). Its freeing to me–no worries about finding the right thing in all the clutter, no worries about mice or my kids getting into it. Most of it had been sitting there for years anyway.

  16. I’d still use brown kraft paper for children. If you have an outline rubber stamp, you could stamp it all over and instruct them to color the pictures. If the wrapping piece is large enough, it could also be reused as a book cover.

    • I used to spray gold car paint over star stencils onto gold paper. Or draw stars with a gold pen. Its just enough to make it look a bit more festive.

      I have been known to wrap presents in newspaper, but only the Financial Times. Its pink!

  17. I keep brown paper at home, too, and a lot of times I stop by the dollar store for a gift bag. I should say I HAD brown paper. I’m moving across the country in two months, and every possession is going to have to earn its passage! I’m hoping my mama will keep my beautiful desk- I’d be sad to get rid of it.

  18. a good roll of butchers paper – plain soft white paper – is also great. Measure out what you need for wrapping, ask the kids to decorate with pens and crayons (and of course some glitter glue – always the glitter glue when you have girls!!!), mark out a square and write in thick black permanent marker (sharpies) To: and From…more artistic flair from the yougsters….and then wrap… paper and card in one!

  19. Bridget Ciaramitaro says:

    I agree so much with this! I use an old box from likely 20 years ago to put the rolls in. I have everything else in a flat plastic box that goes under the wardrobe in the bedroom. I put scissors, tags tape the whole works in the plastic box as well as a writing pen, bags, ribbon – everything. I can wrap a gift in five minutes and have the mess cleaned up as well. I am thinking of going to fabric for wrapping. I will make fabric bags of different sizes and then ask the person receiving the gift to use it forward. Has anyone done this? If so, how did it work out?

    • Great idea. I’ve re-used fabric bags that my gifts were wrapped in. In fact when we celebrate Christmas at my house the recipients return the fabric bags to me right away. You can also wrap gifts in dish towels. Two gifts in one.

    • I started doing this last year. I am a quilter so have lots of fabric (not anything like as much as some though!). I have made bags and also hemmed squares for furoshiki wrapping. They all look great and if the recipient doesn’t want to reuse it, it comes back to me. It’s also much quicker than wrapping with paper, cellotape, etc.

  20. I keep all of my stuff in the largest gift bag I have. I think it takes up maybe 1×1′ of space in my guest room closet. The Christmas ribbon (I go all out there) I tend to keep with the Christmas stuff so its tucked away in the attic every year until I need it. Everything else though, pshaw…that one bag will do me just fine.

  21. i LOVE this. so many organization blogs out there call for “pretty organization” — i would go broke buying specialty boxes to organize my life!
    i also use a box to organize my gift wrap, though mine isn’t as pared down as yours; i have a hard time getting rid of things. :)
    gift wrap is one of those things i really love. i just love a pretty box and bow. BUT through the years i’ve realized the prettiest boxes are in plain paper with a fabric bow.
    when i receive presents in bags i reuse them, but i’m with you on the kraft paper.
    Amanda K.´s last post…Hokie Nation

  22. One of my fave methods of gift giving is a $1 handkerchief and a thrifted basket sizable for the gift… the basket is reusable and versatile… and the handkerchief is great for boys and girls (playsilks, capes, etc)… we use them to wet and tie loosely around their neck in the hot summertime!!

  23. To be honest, I don’t keep any gift wrap around during the year. Every Christmas I go to the local school supply store, get a few yards of brown paper, and wrap it with twine. Anything fancier than that is beyond me, and my kindergartners will just have to live with it.
    Jennie´s last post…To Know We Are Not Alone

  24. Brown isn’t fancy enough?!

    I have 1 tub that holds bows/bags/paper/etc, but I think that your system looks easier – because you have things separated vertically. I always have to dig down through the tub to find things lurking on the bottom.
    Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm´s last post…Book Review: Elegy for Eddie

  25. Elizabeth says:

    Love it!!! Just had to say that I’m going to try this! :o)

  26. LOL! Mine is exactly the same (but not so neat!), except the box is the omnipresent disposable diaper box.

  27. I have an Ethan Allen Blockfront Chest that my grandparents purchased new in the sixties. It was passed from them to my parents and then, when my parents downsized their home, on to my husband and me. It has four deep drawers and they’re the perfect sizes for all of our gift wrapping supplies–the bottom and deepest drawer for gift bags (we reuse them, too), the next largest for rolls of paper (we buy generic as often as possible), the next for gift boxes of all sizes and rolls of ribbon and the top for tissue paper, scissors, tape and little toppers of varying sorts. I even keep a stock of “one-size fits all” cards to include with gifts. Over the years, the chest has taken a real beating. I plan to refinish it this summer, but it has a place in my home forever.

  28. I’m nodding as I read. It’s so easy to be seduced by those gorgeous “works of art”-style organizing systems, but they rarely work so well in everyday life. Boxes, bags, a trashcan — that kind of thing offers a lot of versatility and flexibility. Bravo for saying it aloud.
    Lori @ In My Kitchen, In My Life´s last post…Because My Hair is on Your Undershirt – That’s Why You Have to Do What I Say

  29. My husband was raised in a home where they saved all their wrapping paper (ALL of it) and kept it neatly stored in the breakdown gift boxes (like for shirts). I now have inhereted boxes and boxes of paper. I also have two bags FULL of bags and one tupperware container overflowing with tissue, and two (yes two) shoe boxes full of bows and various other ribbons. One of these days I’m just going to chuck it all into the wood stove. :)

  30. Mine are stashed under the master bed! I agree wholeheartedly that not everything has to be glowingly beautiful or clever. It’s gift wrap; it’s pretty by nature! :)

    After having two boys, I have a zillion boy-themed gift bags. I only find myself in a bind when I’m headed out the door to a baby girl’s shower!
    Erica {let why lead}´s last post…How I See My Kids Anew

  31. Tims Mum says:

    love it. Gift wrapping is somewhat of a hobby for me, I really get a lot of pleasure from it, and my system looks a lot like yours with the addition of 2 books on wrapping (Gifted Wrapping is one of my favourites) and little plastic box of tools: scissors, tape, ribbon cutter/shredder, and bone creasing tool. Must confess I use a plasic tub, but only because we move so much that cardboard boxes give me an “oh, I’ve still got work to do” feeling! Thx for a great blog, Rachel.

  32. I have an old, wooden orange crate that I’ve used forever. I love your take on humble storage and having just a roll or two instead of paper for every occasion.

  33. Nancy P. says:

    I have reduced mine down to a single box of white freezer paper (from the grocery store). It is a perfect size, has a built in cutting edge on the box, can be used with the glossy side out or the flat finish side out, can be decorated (or not), and matches either of the two colors of paper raffia “ribbon” that I keep on hand. I don’t do bows; just a wrap or two with the ribbon, knot it, then splay the ends a little bit. I keep a little bit of tissue paper and just a few generic gift tags. I love it! Doesn’t even take up half a drawer.

  34. I store all my gift wrap under the bed! I have a KS bed with a gap underneath it that would be about 10cm high, so perfect for storing rolled wrap. I buy a generic roll that’s about 500m long every couple of years, and replace it when I run low.

    We don’t really recycle wrapping paper due to the frenzied nature of unwrapping that goes down at my house. I like the idea of storing giftbags as well – I never used to as I had nowhere to put them (I used to store wrap behind a chair in our room – under the bed was taken up with stainless steel car trim) but I can reuse one of those fancy bags I get clothes in and store them in *that* under the bed!
    Harriet Archer´s last post…Vegetarian Lasagne

  35. I keep the gift wrap under the bed but I only have two rolls which works well. I do have quite a few gift bags that I just keep in the biggest gift bag. Since I’m a horrendous wrapper I probably won’t be getting rid of those anytime soon. Thankfully, my husband is a quite skilled wrapper. Our bows are in a box.
    Steph´s last post…A Theology of Faithfulness

  36. I keep my bows in a zippered-sheet-bag too! And the rolls of wrapping paper laying flat at the back of a closet shelf with bookends to keep them at the back. I pick up rolls when I see them cheap. I have a few gift bags, but I prefer wrapping things. I also save the brown wrapping paper that comes as packaging material in amazon boxes. I save Sunday colored comics too – kids love that as wrapping paper!

    I love how you cut to the heart of the matter. I’m sure magazines are just putting these cute little wrapping centers together with NO RELATIONSHIP to real life or our sanity! And we can so easily feel bad that our wrapping paper isn’t organized in some cutesy way when really, I want to be clear-headed enough to use my energy for something else.
    Margo, Thrift at Home´s last post…The Week in Suppers: mid-April

  37. For really eye catching presents, aluminum foil, shiny or matte side, bright ribbon, and for Christmas presents a gift tag made from old Christmas cards–use only the front of the card, perhaps cutting around the design.

    • Oh, forgot to add in previous comment–Finally–a use for those zippered sheet bags just begging to be useful! Brilliant.

  38. It is refreshing to hear you say that your neither purchased your storage box from the store, not covered it with pretty paper and labeled it. As nice as it would be to have a colorful closet, I just can’t justify the time and money involved in such a process!

    Besides, my gift-wrapping storage is so far from a light source that I must use my camping head lamp to see what I’m doing. Who needs color in the dark?

    The tissue paper and ribbons are in a box, and gift bags are sorted according to theme and stuffed in the largest bag of that theme. Most of the wedding bags are gone, but my set of friends seems to be transitioning to baby, and fortunately I received a good stockpile of those bags at my own shower. When the need arises, I grab the box and the appropriate themed gift bag, and I’m set!

    For Christmas, it’s totally brown paper and a colorful ribbon.

  39. Thank you for making me feel that my system – which is just like yours – is OK. I have read many an article where people buy containers & the like to organise these items. Ever since I can remember I have used a couple of cartons from the liquor store & they are perfect.

  40. I absolutely adore your “simple” cleaning / organizing tips. So common sense…after you give us permission to do things pragmatically! Ha-ha.

    For someone who has no closet floor space for a gift wrap storage box, there was one idea off Pinterest that worked great for me. I attached an IKEA bag dispenser to the slanted ceiling of our short storage closet, and our couple rolls of gift wrap fit perfectly in an otherwise unusable storage space!

    Also, the comments are closed (?) on The Pile of Clothes post (, but I would like to add something if it would be helpful to anyone.

    I recently heard of a European (I think) thing called a dress-boy. Basically, it’s a hook in the bedroom for the once-worn clothes that aren’t dirty yet and are only going to be worn again the next day. Why put them away? Hang them on a pretty hook!

    My husband seriously loves this! Especially when we’re going to bed tired, we don’t have to think about folding and putting away our clothes…but they still have a home!

    • I am definitely stealing the Ikea bag dispenser idea – i have a large gift bag full of gift bags and tissue paper, and a couple of rolls of paper, and those rolls are the bane of my life, forever getting shunted around from one corner of a cupboard to under a piece of furniture and back again. A bag dispenser on the slanty bit of the understairs cupboard is GENIUS!

  41. While I totally agree that gift wrap/bag/bow/box storage need not be fancy, my mom recently got a really cool gift wrap caddy thing (kinda resembles a smallish golf bag) and it really tickles my fancy. I seriously want one! Stores all the rolls of paper neatly in the bottom and the bows and ribbons have a home at the top.

    Of course, at the moment I only have one lonely roll of gift wrap leftover from last Christmas. Definitely not enough to justify the purchase of a super cool caddy. Oh well, a girl can dream. Funny what gets me excited!

    Love the idea of the kraft paper!

    • These caddies are good if you can keep your collection to under 10 rolls LOL! Once I’ve used all my remaining rolls up, I will have a spare caddy….

  42. We have two hooks in the lower section of our hall closet. On one hangs a large giftbag full of bags and a couple rolls of curling ribbon. On the other a home-sewn long thin drawstring bag with about 10 rolls of paper – red and gold for Christmas, blue stars for men, a couple of rolls of kids paper etc. There’s a little pocket on front for tissue and smaller pieces of folded paper.
    I made bags for a few friends and family last Christmas. I made 4 from a pillowcase and curtain from the charity shop, they cost about £4 total. Mine was the prototype, it’s a bit wonky but it works fine.

  43. Same system here ;-)

  44. ‘…it is perfectly fine to keep your real-life gift wrap in a cardboard box in the closet. You don’t have to cover the box with fabric or paint it.’

    Read this sentence and am subscribing to your RSS. Now.

    I love organized and pretty perhaps as much as anyone. But what I really love is TIME. Thank you for your common sense approach to organizing!

  45. I find the brown paper comment rather interesting!

    I have cellophane for the gifts that are basket like, and my daughter’s art work eventually becomes gift wrapping. That way they are getting an original art work as well as a present :)

    I have many bags, most of them being wine bottle gift bags which I store in a bigger bag (very similar to yourself).

    I don’t have a box for everything, it sits on my corner computer cupboard (it is rather high), with a big basket with other possible presents stored inside.

    I’ve stopped doing ribbons, people got grumpy that they couldn’t get to their gifts fast enough (I used to like doing curling ribbons).

    I love how you show that we don’t need to be fancy to be organised or practical! Thank you!

  46. Great idea, especially using gift bags to “file” your other gift bags. I will re-purpose a plastic container I have as I keep my gift wrap in the basement and we had a flood once.
    Love your blog by the way.

  47. Okay, so I love the idea of having just brown craft paper or white for wrapping but I always get suckered in by the lovely rolls of christmas paper at costco! We don’t even need that much for our family and yet it seems I still pick them up. :-) So I do need to find some way of corralling those rolls I do have. The sundry items are in a box.
    I have made some fabric gift bags which I love for hard to wrap items. My husband got me one of those metal candle holders that stand on the floor for Christmas last year – hard to wrap for sure. Well he had my daughter make a bag for him out of orange felt. It was the brightest gift under the tree but it worked!

  48. We have gift bags that have been in circulation so long that we now have a family joke of calling them the “heirloom” gift bags! I also invested in a couple large felt drawstring sacks, easy to make too, which we primarily use for our boys who are still young, for bulky or large gifts. We tell the boys “of course Santa recycles!”

  49. I also keep just 2 gift wrap rolls: brown craft paper and turquoise. They cover everything, even Christmas, because I think turquoise paper and silver ribbon with a snowflake tag is lovely.

    As for storage, one clear plastic drawer in the garage–bags, tags and bows inside, tissue and my 2 paper rolls on top.
    Meredith´s last post…Senior Prom 2012

  50. I’ve got two large shopping bags – one for gift bags (mostly reused), one for the misc stuff of wrapping, like ribbons, a few recycled bows, small boxes, tags, tissue paper, and bandanas. I’ll save what I can from one year to the next, but paper is just not worth it to me.

    Where we can we use the Japanese furoshiki (wrapping cloth) tradition. I’ve a sellection of bandanas that we’ll wrap the smaller gifts into. Family and friends all know that if they want the bandana, they are welcome to keep them, but if they don’t, we will happily take them back and reuse them. One of the nice things about that is knoting the present in the cloth often makes its own bow. Bad thing is that unless only one person is geting a gift, you have to put a tag on it.

  51. I have always adored wrapping gifts and being imaginative about it and over the years amassed quite a collection, with a whole separate collection of Christmas gift wrap. Unlike Britain, where a lot of paper is bought folded, gift wrap here is usually sold in long rolls with between 3 and 10 m of gift wrap rolled onto it – the 10 m ones last forever and a day (thanks, IKEA!)!! :O

    When we became overwhelmed by too much gifting (9 people giving even only one present to each other = AT LEAST 81 gifts under the tree??!!!!), and reduced to only minimal presents for the kids or between ourselves, it was time to use up all the gift wrap. It has taken me 5 years to finish all the Christmas paper I had and/or throw out what was no longer attractive. A few gift bags have remained and I sometimes make up a simple gift bag as the gift, filled with consumables, and the gift bag is left over – again. As long as they are attractive, I can use them over, and any that get a little shabby become project bags for my knitting or for the grandchildren’s toys and games, until they need to be scrapped.

    Although I still have some leftover birthday wrap to use up, now I am just keeping brown paper and white tissue paper – the cheapest and simplest options. My ribbon supply is still ok, though I am happy every time I get to throw out an empty spool! I don’t mind buying some plain ribbon, using string of various kinds or whatever comes to hand (daughter’s washi tape…). Then the simple parcel is decorated with fresh or dried twigs, flowers, ivy or other bits of “nature” or a few beads from a broken necklace threaded on the ribbon (stacks of beads from when the kids used to craft!) or odd buttons from the jar… I can still theme my gifts for an occasion like Christmas if I want to – not that there’s much under the tree these days LOL!! Now we all have electronic devices, old maps can also be used as cool wrappers or gift bags.

    Plus it’s all very space-saving… just think how traditional it is for women to use ribbon – one of the most classic “feminine trinkets” in history!!

  52. I use one of those long under bed storage boxes.

  53. I store mine in a humble box too. I like to reuse gift wrap, bags, and ribbons. It just seems so wasteful to throw them away after one use.

    My mother-in-law sewed several cloth bags with a ribbon drawstring that we use at Christmas. Everyone in the family “wraps” gifts in those and we reuse them every year.
    Meghan´s last post…Hang On To Me Baby And Let’s Hope That the Roof Stays On

  54. OK – So my rubbermaid bin with recycled wrapping paper and my big basket of ribbon and my additional container full of recycled boxes and bags is overkill?? Yes, I agree it is! Must weed out!!!

  55. Adrienne says:

    Loving these ideas! When I had gift wrap, I just kept it in one of those bags from the store specifically meant for rolls of wrapping paper. Then I got rid of a bunch of stuff, including my assortment of wrapping paper, and now merely buy gift bags when I need them. Since I’m already at the dollar store buying the card, it’s not a wasted trip. Typically, I try to avoid physical gifts unless I know it is something they really want. I find that a trip to the movies for the kids or lunch with my friends is just the ticket.

  56. All of my (many) gift bags are folded into one larger gift bag. It keeps it simple.
    Lynn´s last post…Bittersweet Purging

  57. I use a medium size rubbermaid container with slide out drawer (that I had used in college for clothes storage 10 yrs ago!). It fits perfectly under my bed with just enough space above it for one role of red wrapping paper and one roll of brown butcher paper. In the drawer I have gift bags of all styles/sizes, small stack of tissue paper, scissors, tape, bows (held in bed sheet holder too!), one roll of thick white ribbon, and some twine. I love that it is underbed so out of the way and also that I can hide out in my room to wrap with everything in one condensed location for quick clean up!

  58. Love this. I also use one of those plastic zip pouches from sheets for my bows, and I actually use one that was from a comforter for my gift bags and tissues and I love it. My paper just leans against a corner in the same closet.

    Now Christmas wrapping paper is another story. I have one of those awful gift wrap stand up plastic organizers that we keep in the attic and it is totally overstuffed and ridiculous. I could go for years without buying Christmas wrapping paper. Maybe I should just give some away this year!
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  59. Of course, all of this assumes that we give gifts… and some of that is culture-based.
    Apart from gift giving at Christmas/birthdays, which we try to keep down as much as possible, we have little occasion – I may knit something for a new baby (don’t know many people getting married or having babies and we don’t have baby showers here) but otherwise, we don’t seem to do this as much as the US.
    Cards, too – only for the rare relative we never see, abroad; the Swiss think it’s strange to give cards to people they see anyway or are giving a gift to!

  60. We buy the roll of white drawing paper from Ikea and often my kids decorate a length of it and we use that to wrap gifts. It has been a hit with their friends and grandparents. Here is a link to a post I wrote about it a few years ago-

  61. I use a drawer for tissue, bags etc and I have one upright bucket that has wrapping rolls in it and we don’t do bows. I am hoping to use up the rolls this year and get rid of the bucket! We have been doing more and more of our wrapping with recycled materials and that is definitely the way I want to continue. I have had more compliments on our wrapping since we started being more creative about it. Once the rolls are done, I will work my way through an old box of fabric!

  62. I store wrapping paper & gifts bags in an old diaper box. It works really well for me. I have a few more specialized wrapping papers, but mostly I try to buy general wrapping paper so that I’m not running out to the store for my next event.
    Audrey @ Mom Drop Box´s last post…Why I love my zero-based budget

  63. This may have already been said, but I’m with you and the plain box storage system because I would rather spend my time making someone a beautiful gift than decorating a cardboard box that is going to be hidden in my closet.

  64. I love this post – I totally agree with you! I have gift wrap under our bed – we have a large, wide drawer which fits the rolls perfectly. Bows, ribbons and gift tags are in a shoebox in the same drawer, with some tape. I buy relatively generic paper (someone once told me plain silver and plain red papers are the most useful, obviously this is a matter of opinion!) so I can use it for anybody. I keep gift bags (all recycled, I don’t buy them, just reuse) in a large gift bag. Works for me, I don’t want a whole ‘gift wrap station’!

  65. jenny fretz says:

    My kids paint on freezer paper. When it is dry it gets rolled up onto an old cardboard tube and saved to be wrapping paper. Sometimes it gets put up on the wall for awhile if they want and then added to the wrapping paper stack. They love to see there paintings used as wrapping paper. We also flatten out the brown packing paper and decorate or paint that and save it to be used for wrapping paper. Between that and reusing gift bags we have not spent money on wrapping paper in a long time.

  66. Love this! I am doing this today. Do you have any advise on storing craft supplies PLEASE!

  67. I have started using gift bags, which are fully recyclable and easy to “wrap” any shape gift :) Ahh, the simple things…

  68. I actually use a hanging shoe thingie (the ones that you are supposed to hang on a door with all kinds of pockets) and a transparent dress/garment bag. I hang them back to back on the same hanger, and it takes up very minimal space in my hall closet.

    The rolls of wrapping paper go in the garment bag, along with tissue paper and gift bags, and all accessories (cards, bows, tape, etc.) go into the shoe organiser pockets.

    I try to minimize the amount of supplies by buying solid colour wrapping paper (ex red or green at xmas) that can also be used for other occasions during the year.

    This is the only way I have found so far to have all supplies I need to fulfill my love of a pretty well wrapped gift, while avoiding taking up a lot of storage space.
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  69. One small box for all the recycled wrapping paper – I loathe paying for wrapping paper, I’ll let others buy it and I’ll reuse it later!

    One small box for all my reusable fabric wraps – one side Christmassy, one side not, so they can be used for birthdays and Christmas.

    One large gift bag containing all the recycled gift bags.

    For non-immediate family members, I usually get a roll of brown paper, or recycle newspaper, with a bright ribbon around it for Christmas.

  70. I decided yesterday to tackle my hoard of ribbon, bows, paper and bags and drew heavily upon your post as inspiration. I now have one box with all of my items neatly organized and arranged. I still think I have twice as much as you do, but it is so much better to have things collected in one spot!

  71. My favourite wrapping paper for all but Christmas is old road maps. My wrapping supplies live in an old picnic basket that belonged to my Grandma and Grandpa. It fits underneath a chest of drawers or the top shelf of the closet. I keep large business sized envelopes (A4 / letter size) to cut up and use inside out for wrapping parcels for the post (along with parcel tape). The Christmas wrapping paper (going on 8 years now, I think) lives in the attic in a large box. For immediate family, I use fabric that used to be horrible curtains – but it makes good Christmas wrap ( Ribbon, yarn, seam binding, coloured plastic bags cut into strips are all options for decoration.

  72. I reuse gift bags all the time. A friend and I once passed one back and forth for years! It made us laugh every time.

  73. This is great – I’ve been meaning to pare down on the wrapping supplies. Another tip I’ve found really handy is to keep a stash of blank cards and birthday cards on hand. I buy them in bulk. It is great for the spur of the moment thank you cards, or the birthday that you almost forgot.