It is a good plan to have a reserve of birthday cards, wrapping paper and cardboard boxes just in case. However, there is no need to have an entire shop full of the stuff.
Are you keeping it for the memories?
I kept a huge gift bag with a polar bear on it that a whole bunch of Christmas presents came in for years. It broke back then and although it would have been easy to fix, I never did. I kept it because it made me think of the Great Aunty who gave us the presents but I have better things around the house to remind me of her, I don’t really need a huge broken gift bag.
Cardboard Boxes and Gift Bags
From tiny jewellery boxes to whopping great big moving house sized ones. It’s easy to gain a vast selection of cardboard boxes without even trying. If you think you might need the larger ones you can squash them down to store flat under a bed. The little ones may need you to be stricter with yourself. I find it is a very rare day that I actually have a box that fits the present when I need it. Gift bags are something I generally don’t think of using, so can they stay in storage for years. I much prefer to wrap things up with paper, or cloth if I can. Paper and card can be recycled or you could make smaller gift bags from the broken larger ones.
Bows and Ribbons
Do you use them? If not then can you give them to someone who will? If you do use ribbons and bows do you like the ones you are keeping? Do they need extra glue to make them work? Will you ever get round to using them?
It may be a useful thing to keep but is it actually useful for you? Do your friends get engaged so often you need to keep engagement paper in stock? Have you got paper designed for small children when your children are all teenagers and you don’t know anyone with toddlers any more? It is a really good idea to keep some wrapping paper but try to keep the stuff you might need.
Are you keeping enough to wrap up the Statue of Liberty. Bubble wrap is the soft of thing that comes back to us so it is possible that you only need to keep enough to wrap a couple of presents. If you are thinking of moving then it is worth storing.
Decluttering packaging quickly
Because you need to think ahead to what you might need, this is not an easy declutter. However, you can get rid of things that don’t work for you pretty quickly. Try just dipping in and removing anything that:
- Looks too tatty to use
- Is a lot of fuss and bother to use
- Will need extra tape/glue which will need to be found or bought
- Won’t ever, realistically fit any gift you may give
- Are duplicates of something you seldom need
When you do buy packaging, if you aim to get neutral patterns that don’t represent a seasonal festival or a rite of passage you will get more of an opportunity to use it. Plain colours can look really stylish. Last year I had a small birthday present wrapped in a plain bit paper that my friend had drawn little pictures all over. It meant a lot to me that she made the effort to personalise it just for me.
Think of reusable alternatives
This Christmas I tried to wrap more things in cloth that can be reused and as a family we are all going to do it next year. Tea towels make great wrapping and there are lots of instructions for wrapping weirdly shaped things with cloth in a Japanese craft called Furoshiki.
A new hand towel can be about the same price as a posh roll of wrapping paper, I’d prefer my nice smelly bath bombs to be wrapped in something useful if I had a choice.
Remember, it’s only a solution if you can find things. I’ve compiled a few ideas for storage that might work for you and that look cheap and easy to do – they are on this Pinterest board.