Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Preparing for every day: Gift wrap station

Even though we don't wrap gifts literally every day, the same way we use our purses, freezers, desks and glove compartments nearly every day, many of us still have occasion to wrap something in pretty paper and put a ribbon on it a few times a year, if not more often. To make those times more pleasant, it pays to keep a gift wrapping kit assembled and stocked at all times, so you aren't scrambling around to find tape and scissors half an hour before you are supposed to be at a baby shower or your child's friend's birthday party armed with a gift.

I hardly ever actually buy ribbon or wrapping paper, instead I save the good stuff that I receive from birthdays and holidays. I find the recycled stuff looks just as good as new, and I've saved myself the expense. Ribbons, in particular, if well-made, can be reused over and over again. My recommendation is to keep one box worth of wrapping paper and one box of ribbons, bows and tags. To make large wrapping projects easier, look into getting a box long enough to hold tubes of wrapping paper. Vertical tube holders don't work well in my experience. I recommend long, flat, clear plastic boxes to hold the following items.

The 9 things that should be in every gift wrapping kit:
  • Transparent tape, the kind that comes in an open, weighted dispenser rather than a disposable dispenser as it is easier to use with one hand.
  • Good quality, large scissors.
  • Tissue paper in various colors.
  • Wrapping paper in various colors.
  • Ribbon in various colors.
  • Gift tags or card stock for creating tags.
  • Single hole punch for threading ribbons through tags.
  • Sharpies, of course! I recommend at least black, but silver Sharpies add a festive touch at holiday time.
  • Post-its. I like to use Post-its to remind me what is inside a wrapped package and who the recipient is if I am wrapping several items at once and might mix them up, or if they are awaiting tags or cards.
It's also a good idea to keep your gift wrapping boxes near your greeting card stash, as you often need one with the other. I find wrapping a bunch of gifts at once is made more enjoyable by putting on a good movie to play while I do it. Also, the most important thing to remember is to label everything! You don't want to end up at the end of the day with a bunch of beautifully wrapped packages and no idea what's inside them or who they are for!

Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email


  1. Lelah,
    Great tips for making (what I call) "Gift Wrap Central"!

  2. I love wrapping gifts and have a fairly organized system, but I never thought of using a single hole punch for gift tags - much nicer than just taping them to the ribbon!