My Gift Wrap Closet

We moved from a 973-square-foot house to a larger one this year, and I did feel a pang of guilt about it.  (Joy wrote about the joys of small-house living here, and we published another ode to tiny spaces here.)  I have found that there are a few environmental advantages to a larger home, and one of them is the luxury of a gift wrap closet. 

As you know from our first ever Green Baby Guide post, I don’t like to use regular wrapping paper.  That’s why I love having an entire cupboard devoted to decorative boxes, ribbons, gift bags, and tins.  In a little cardboard dresser (which was my only dresser back in my starving grad student days!), I keep manila envelopes, ribbons, tins, and boxes.  I also have a whole box dedicated to gift bags, none of which I paid for myself.

Here’s that reusable gift wrap photo again.  I use tins, decorative boxes, ribbons, and bags year after year!

Whenever I need to wrap a gift, I go up to the ol’ closet.  My husband is used to seeing the same big red box every birthday and Christmas.  Some boxes and bags I use just within the household if I am not willing to part with them.

So now I’ve made you long for a gift wrap closet of your own, but you don’t have a closet or cupboard to spare?  Fabric gift bags may be the solution.  (We raved about them in the first post mentioned above.)

Does anyone else have some creative ideas for wrapping presents without creating piles of waste?  Let us know!  For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, head on over to Rocks in My Dryer.


  1. I decided to do paper-free gift wrapping this year. I have had a lot of fun sewing bags for family and friends with fabric I’ve had sitting in my sewing bins. It has been great to customize each bag according to what I think the recipient would actually use. I probably won’t do the same thing next year (it’s a lot of work), but I hope it is as meaningful and enjoyable for the people I’m giving them to as it has been for me.

  2. Use the maps that come with National Geographic magazine as wrapping paper!

  3. Fabric gift bags are incredible! (and they don’t require a closet!) My family has been using the same bags for the last 30 years and they’re still beautiful. My mom sewed coordinating ribbon into the seam of simple cloth bags all in holiday fabrics. She ironed our names onto a few of them but most are generic. We haven’t wrapped presents in my family for years! We just toss the gifts into the bags (we have a WIDE variety of shapes and sizes) and tie the ribbon. They’re so much fun to pull out year after year. Last year my mom made a full set for our family so that we have now skipped wrapping paper altogether. I have to admit that I don’t make the bags for friends, but we have so many bags within our family that we never have to make more when we get together for the holidays! My mom also has a set for birthdays and other holidays like Valentines Day and Easter. I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do this! It’s so easy, compact, cheap, and eco-friendly! (Sorry, I get a little overly zealous every year on this topic…)

  4. We just started using fabric gift bags this year for our family and I love them. We made them large enough so that any size gift or a several gifts can be put into them. We plan to use the same bags all of our b-days and xmas, etc for many years. My kids don’t seem to care that the themes/colors don’t quite match. I found some red and green plaid flannel sheets that I was going to donate, but instead decided to cut them up for our xmas bags.

    Also, I’ve gotten an assortment of used baskets and glass vases from our local freecycle. I use these to hold get well, thank you &/or bday gifts for our friends (ie. flowers, fresh fruits & nuts from the farmers market &/or homemade baked goods from my kitchen). We also reuse any gift bags or tin cans we receive from friends too.

  5. This year I am wrapping many gifts in reusable shopping bags (themselves part of the gift) or flannel pillowcases (new ones, for folks out of town, or just spare ones for the family at home). I’ve also wrapped small things for the family in cloth napkins tied with a ribbon saved from past gifts.

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