28 Jul
Posted in: Budget
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Gift Closet Strategy: A Cry for Help

Disgusted womanAs more and more of my friends start to have big life events (marriages, children, grad school graduations, successful parole hearings, etc.), I keep thinking I need to be better about keeping gifts at the ready instead of just reactively buying stuff at the last minute. I actually do this with some success occasionally. New children’s books, gender neutral baby clothing, etc. I will sometimes pick up as I see if I think it’s a good deal and a classic (or soon to be classic) item.

So, score one for my tiny bit of organization. Here’s where I lose major points, though. Often I’ll buy a good gift that’s so generically nice that I have no particular person to give it to. And since it’s not tailored to any one specific person, it sits there. And sits. And sits. (HELLO, adorable vintage kitchen apron.) And I STILL end up buying each person a gift of some sort (vs. grabbing a nice one from my stash) at the end of the day.

Part of the problem is that I genuinely like buying gifts for people. I’m not all that good at it, necessarily, but it’s fun to reflect on a person you care about and try to think of something that would be unusual, but also welcome. Occasionally, I’ll actually get my act together to see something I think a certain person would enjoy, will purchase it months ahead if necessary, and can later give it to them. This can be tricky, though. For example, there is no sense doing this with anything they might conceivably buy themselves between the time you purchase it and the time you will give it to them. So, that rules out most mass merchandised items or items they have specifically said they were interested in (unless you know they are masochists who never buy themselves anything they want) and certainly any electronics since this week’s must have may be on sale because it’s about to look like a dinosaur by a newcomer.

Then…there are handcrafted gifts. I don’t know about you all, but I love, love, love this idea but almost always fail this in practice. I have made gifts for people many times but almost always, I end up devaluing what I’ve created by the time it’s done so that I feel like I need to buy them another “real” gift to go with it. I know this is an insecurity thing, but it’s still hard to shake. The funny thing is, some of these gifts I’ve been given are my absolute favorites. So I know it can be done…at least by very confident crafters.

I do have some meager strategies that I use to good effect. For example, if someone has a registry, I can often find an online promo or coupon code (great places to check are retailmenot.com and just typing promo coupon code whateverproductname into google) that helps me buy the item they actually want for cheaper than normal. It’s easy to forget to scout around for deals when you are buying off a registry, but it’s almost always worth spending a minute or two looking.

Other than that, I admit, I’m stumped. I don’t like falling into ruts, but sometimes do. For example, my sister-in-law loves dangly earrings from Anthropologie, so I make sure to check the jewelry racks for cute, sale priced earrings every time I visit the store. It doesn’t happen often, but I’ve found things I would definitely buy her (admittedly, not so excitedly if they were full price) for as much as 75% off. That makes us both happy, but it can only last so long. Eventually, I’m going to feel like it’s getting to formulaic to give her earrings (even fabulously dangly ones) for every occassion.

Givingly yours,



How do you manage gift giving?


  • Dude, my birthday is Oct. 3. I hope all your peeps read your blog and appreciate your thoughtfulness!

    • Holly, Ha ha, don’t tempt me! I might just have to send you something from the closet. 🙂

So, what do you think?