Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Storage, Lists, and Gifts - Oh My!

I remember the first gift basket I put together (besides an Easter basket.) It was for a baby shower... and I was nervous! Can you imagine? How silly is that?  But it's true.

One of my gift tubs.

My mother and I had decided to go in on a gift together, so I suggested a basket of gifts to get more bang for our buck. We decided on $15 apiece. No bad for a big ole' basket full of stuff. It had all sorts of baby bath soaps, lotions, bottles, pacifiers, wash cloths, an outfit or two, and of course a rubber duckie for bath time. I placed them all in a shallow basket and wrapped it with clear cellophane topped off with a curly ribbon bow. It was really quite cute.

But the whole time I was shopping and then the whole way to the shower I was worried that the mother-to-be wouldn't like it. That she would rather us combine our money for a bigger item such as a bouncy-thingy or a spinning-twirlie-majig. Seriousely. How self absorbed was I at that moment? By being so worried over the Mommy-to-be's reaction, I forgot to enjoy the whole process!

Tub with no lid for bigger items.

Well there is a happy ending: The gal loved her gift, had a blast going through each item ooohing and ahhing over it and I learned an important lesson. It's not about the cost, and it is certainly not about how I feel making the gift - It's all about expressing love, kindness, compassion, understanding, and appreciation in a new and unexpected way.

Keep those notecards all in one place so they are always handy.

The more baskets I put together,the more I realize that I had missed a golden opportunity that first day to enjoy expressing my creativity and to spend time thinking of and praying for that person.

That was several years ago, and I have since learned to love the process, found ways to economically give the exact same items, and I no longer see gift basket giving as a stressful thing.

So how can we make gift giving more streamlined so that we enjoy the process more than ever, and (dare I say it) give gifts more often? Here's a few stratagies that have worked well for me.

My three gift tubs.

Have gift tubs - Inexpensive, medium sized rubbermaid containers (or plain boxes) to hold all the filler items. I purshased one of these at Walmart years ago for $3.99 and the other two at the Goodwill Outlet for 50 Cents. Score! They are either stored on my own little rack in the garage (thanks, hubby!) or around gift giving holiday's, such as Christmas or Easter, I'll keep them in the guest room for easy access.

Don't forget some kind of a label. Mine is ultra fancy, as you can see!

These bins can hold so much and take up so little room. Before you dismiss the idea for lack of space, consider this: all the money you could save by buying and stocking up throughout the year is worth 4 square feet of space in a closet or garage.

Saved $1.50 on a pack of 10 notecards. Every penny counts :)

Limit yourself - When you think "stock up" on gifts, don't think Costco size. There is no reason to dedicate a HUGE amount of space just to have items sit around. (unless you have a big ole' empty closet with no use or function :) In my case, I only allow myself to have three medium sized bins of filler items. I'd like to stock up on more, but there is just no room in our home. So once these three bins are stuffed, I know I need to stop buying until some items have been used in a gift basket. Simple as that. Trust me, it's taken some self control.

Keep a Notebook - If you have purchased a filler item in advance with someone in particular in mind, there is a good chance that when the special day comes around you might completely forget and rush to the store for an expensive last minute gift. I've done that more times than I care to admit. So here's a solution that works for me - keep a list. Revolutionary, I know.

But not a single sheet floating around in the abyss of the junk drawer. A simple notebook that you can keep next to your bed, at your family command center, or even in the gift tub itself.

Get in the habit of checking it often to get an idea of what items you need to stock up on. Five minutes today could save you $15 tomorrow. (doesn't that last line sound like a PSA announcement or a fancy slogan? I think I'll start a club and have T-shirts made up, that way everyone can see that we know how to save a buck! haha!)

Today is the day ladies! Time to get those gifts that are stranded around the house into one area, take a quick inventory in your fancy new notebook, and start dreaming of all the possibilities for this years gift giving.

Remember this picture from yesterday's post here? Come on back tomorrow to see these items (plus a few more that didn't fit on the table) turn into 4 beautiful baskets.

Do you have some storage tips that you could share? If so, please comment below - I would love to hear your ideas!

First Giveaway at "too Blessed to Stress"

Giveaway update: I want to thank all you loavely ladies out there who participated yesterday in the first day of my giveaway. It was so much fun reading all of your comments. As of this Tuesday morning, there are 15 followers{{yippie!}}and as soon as we reach 20 - everyone's name goes in the drawing again! Remember, for every ten followers, everyone gets an extra entry. For the full list of super easy participation guidelines and to see the prize, Click HERE.

Thanks again ladies for all your comments and fantastic tips! Come on back this week as we tackle more gift giving dilemas, solutions and ideas. Have a Blessed day!

All photos taken by yours truly.
Time to link up! Head on over to ASPTL - DIY, and Today's Creative Blog. I've linked up today, have you?


  1. Thanks for sharing. I am following and your giveaway looks great!

  2. Great idea! I used to keep gifts on hand ... I need to get back to that.

  3. Great gift basket tips!!

    I need to do a giveaway for my "Followers", too!

    :) Sarah

  4. What a super fun idea!!! I think I am your 20th follower:-)

  5. How fun!

    Thanks for your comment.

    Love your blog.

  6. Great tips! Thanks for sharing. I love the name of your blog.

  7. Cute! :) I LOVE receiving gifts like this...it takes a lot more thought than just buying one large gift. Great job! Thanks for the visit! :)